Career Tips / Blog

Book Review: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

In a nutshell: Real effectiveness comes from clarity about your principles, values, and vision. Change is only real if it has become habitual.

Introduction

Stephen Covey’s book is one of the phenomena of modern personal development writing. It has sold a million copies a year since its release in 1989, has been translated into 32 languages, and forms the intellectual basis of a large corporation.

Covey drew a distinction between what he termed the ‘personality ethic’ (the quick-fix solutions and human relations techniques that had pervaded much of 20th century self-help writing) and the ‘character ethic’, which revolved around unchanging personal principles.

Covey believed outward success was not success at all if it was not the manifestation of inner mastery. In his terminology, ‘private victory’ must precede ‘public victory.’ It is a business plan for personal life.

The book is a compelling read, both as a self-help book and as a leadership/management manual. This cross-over status effectively doubled its market. The book has become regarded as a classic of business thinking.

Habits: the building blocks of change

Covey regarded real greatness as the result of the slow development of character; our daily habits of thinking and acting. The 7 Habits promises a life revolution as the result of thousands of small changes.

By the late 1980s, Western culture had had decades of management theory about efficiency. Covey took a different perspective: think about what is most important to you and see if it is the centre around which your life revolves. There is no use being ‘efficient’ if what you are doing lacks meaning or an essential good.

Covey’s book struck a nerve because it showed many people what genuine responsibility was about. To blame ‘the economy’ or ‘my terrible employer’ or ‘my family’ for our troubles was useless. To have fulfilment and personal power, we have to decide what we will take responsibility for, what is in our ‘circle of concern’. Only by working on ourselves could we hope to expand our ‘circle of influence’.

The seven habits in brief

1. Be proactive.

We have the freedom to choose our reactions to stimuli. We do not have to live by the scripts that family or society have given us. We accept full responsibility for our life the way conscience tells us that it was meant to be lived.

2. Begin with the end in mind.

What do I want people to say about me at my funeral? By writing our own eulogy or creating a personal mission statement, we create the ultimate objective or person first, and work backward from there.

3. Put first things first.

Having the end in our mind, we can plan our days for maximum effectiveness and enjoyment. Our time is spent with the people and things that matter.

4. Think win/win.

One person’s success does not need to be achieved at the expense of the success of others. In seeking win/win outcomes, we never endanger our own principles.

5. Seek to understand, then to be understood.

Without empathy, there is no influence. Without deposits in the emotional bank account of relationships, there is no trust. Genuine listening gives precious psychological air to the other person, and opens a window on to their soul.

6. Synergise.

Synergy results from the exercise of all the other habits. It brings forth ‘third alternatives’ or perfect outcomes that cannot be predicted from adding up the sum of the parts.

7. ‘Sharpen the saw’.

We need to balance the physical, spiritual, mental and social dimensions of life. ‘Sharpening the saw’ to increase productivity involves taking the time to renew ourselves in these areas regularly.

Final comments

It has been said that Covey’s seven habits are merely common sense. On their own they may be, but put together in that sequence and with the philosophy of principle-centredness to support them, they can produce the synergy that Covey celebrates. The 7 Habits gives readers the means for changing the little to transform the big.

Contributed by Tom Butler-Bowdon

Should I Quit My Job if I Don’t Have Another One Lined Up?

Quitting your job. It’s an anxiety-inducing experience regardless of whether you’re moving on to something better or you have absolutely nothing else lined up. But, it’s definitely that latter category that leads to even more stress and chewed fingernails.

As someone who left the comfort and security of a full-time gig without another job waiting for her, I know just how much agonizing (and, uhh, nausea) goes into that decision.

And, the worst part? You’ll hear opinions and well-meaning advice from everyone. Some people will tell you that you’re crazy to even consider leaving a paycheck behind when you have no idea what’s next for you. Others? They’ll admire your bravery and admit they wish they had the courage you had.

But, peanut gallery aside, none of that really answers the age-old question: Should you ever quit your job if you don’t have another one waiting for you at the end of the tunnel?

Well, unfortunately, there isn’t a cut and dried answer to that. There are tons of different criteria that impact that situation—and, of course, it ultimately comes down to your own personal decision.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to totally wing it. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to gain some clarity and determine what exactly your next steps should be.

So, if you’ve been debating whether or not you should hit the road in search of greener pastures (regardless of whether or not you know where those pastures are yet…), these should help you form a roadmap.

1. Can you afford it?

What an ideal world it would be if we could all pursue our dreams without having to worry about those pesky things called bills. But, let’s face it—you still need to be able to afford things, which typically means you need some sort of steady paycheck coming in the door.

So, before packing up your desk, take a good, hard look at your finances to find out what your next best move is. Do you have enough saved that you could manage a few months of unemployment? Or, are you already barely scraping by as it is?

I know, your finances aren’t exactly the most fun (or encouraging) part of the picture to consider. But, they’re important for making a realistic and rational decision. So, don’t skip them!

2. What’s inspiring your decision to quit?

I get it—it’s easy to get so wrapped up in just needing to leave your job, that you really can’t even put your finger on what exactly about it is driving you so crazy. Why are you so desperate to hit the road?

Pressing pause for these few minutes to do some self-reflection is important for determining what your next steps should be. Remember, when leaving a job, you want to feel like you’re running toward something—not away from something (unless your situation is remarkably terrible).

Ask yourself this simple question: Why do I want to leave my job? If the only answer you can come up with is something like, “Because it’s terrible!” or “Because I hate my boss!” that’s a pretty solid indicator that you’re only trying to escape a bad situation.

However, if your mind is immediately filled with better visions for your future—like a shift to a more fulfilling career path or even starting your own business, then you know that you’re doing this in hopes of finding something better.

Plus, making sure that you set aside adequate time to identify what exactly you don’t like about your current job will only help you avoid that same thing in the future. You never want to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

3. Do you have a support system in place?

I’ll be the first one to admit that quitting a job without a backup plan in place is nothing short of terrifying. When I packed up my cubicle in the interest of trying to make it as a freelance writer, there was far more crying and stuffing my face with junk food than I’d even care to admit.

But, Ben and Jerry’s aside, my support system is another one of the key things that got me through that tough time. And, now I’m a firm believer that having a strong network of support in place when you’re going through a scary decision is absolutely essential.

Whether you want to leave your job to start your own business or simply take a little bit of time to figure out what you want, having supportive friends and family members there to listen to you rant and vent will mean much more than you could ever anticipate—trust me.

Deciding whether or not to leave your job can be a predicament regardless of your current situation—but particularly when you don’t already have another job lined up to move on to.

Of course, there’s no black and white answer to this question. It all depends on your individual circumstances. But, take some time to ask yourself these three questions, and you’re sure to gain some clarity about what your next steps should be.

Written by Kat Boogaard

Why Closure Is So Important For Moving On After Losing A Job

We’ve heard it a million times in a million different ways. You can’t embrace the future with one foot stuck in the past. You can’t go forward if you’re looking in the rear view mirror. You can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created the problems in the first place. The common theme is about the need to close out one chapter in order to embrace the next one.

There are three parts to this: 1) Accepting the need to close out a chapter; 2) Closing out the old chapter; 3) Moving on.

Accepting the need to close out a chapter

People go through the stages of grief for some changes. After a shock, they go through denial, anger, bargaining and depression before accepting the inevitable. As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross originally suggested, they do not necessarily progress through these stages in any particular order; they revisit some stages; and they may get stuck in one stage for an extended period.

This happens when people lose jobs.Today In: Leadership

At Procter & Gamble, we’d give poor performers a warning. If they didn’t improve on their own in three months, we’d put them on a formal “Performance Improvement Plan” for another three months, giving them extra resources and support. If that didn’t work, they were put on “Special Assignment” for three months. Their only assignment was to look for another job, but they could still say they were employed by Procter & Gamble as that was true.

One of the people working for me went through all three parts over a nine-month period. At the end of his Special Assignment, he had not found a job. It’s not clear he had ever really looked for a job. I met with him on his last day to say goodbye. He asked “What happens next?” When I told him he was terminated, he got angry, saying we hadn’t given him notice. In nine months, he had never gotten past denial.

A more common situation happens when people can’t get over their loss of a job over time. The nature of our work at PrimeGenesis means that we come in contact with a lot of people moving from one job to another. We see people stuck in each of the intermediate stages:

  • Denial manifests itself in words like “We’re still negotiating next steps,” “I’m not sure I’m leaving,” and the like.
  • Anger looks a lot like blame. “My boss was a jerk.” “The owners didn’t know what they were doing.” These people have a hard time answering almost any question without attacking someone who did something to them in the past.
  • Bargaining comes out when people try to get back into an organization they left. This could be in a consulting capacity with the organization itself or with one of their suppliers or allies.
  • Depression is a real risk for people in transition between jobs. They begin to doubt themselves and have a hard time doing their best at interviews and the like.

Closing out the old chapter

Different people say goodbye in different ways. Goodbye parties, commencement exercises and the like are ceremonies to mark transitions. Some people prefer ceremonies like those. Some people prefer to fade away into the sunset.

However you choose to do it, draw a line and turn the page on the old chapter. Whether it’s moving your things out of your old office, deleting your old files, or burning your old boss in effigy, do something to mark the end.

Moving on

Saying goodbye to the old frees you to embrace the new. Of course, you should internalize the lessons about what you did well and less well. Do this not to relive those experiences again, but, rather, to help you shape your new experiences.

Everything you’ve done in the past sets you up to be the best you you can be going forward. Don’t fight denial, anger, bargaining and depression. Instead, move through them, close them out, accept your reality, and embrace your future.

Written by George Bradt, Senior Contributor – Forbes

Five Things That Could Sink Your Company In The First Year

As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve seen my fair share of ups and downs. With those ups and downs come the lessons, and the best education is experience. Most lessons I’ve learned as a founder or an advisor to startup companies were learned the hard way. I had companies in high school and have birthed many ideas since — some that were brought to life, some that died and some that thrived. I’ve made mistakes and watched others make the same ones. Most importantly, I’ve seen companies crash early on due to some recurring circumstances.

Detecting red flags early on can be your saving grace. Here’s what some of those aforementioned scenarios may look like.

1. Picking The Wrong Partners

Most founders have unique perspectives and sets of skills. However, all partners must have the same vision for the company and the same willingness to work hard in order for it to work. Although disagreements will occur and can be useful, I’ve seen firsthand from coaching almost 500 entrepreneurs that partners must agree on fundamental goals and be willing to put the necessary time and money into achieving those stated goals. The wrong partner is also not ready to make necessary sacrifices, such as eliminating vacations and forgetting the meaning of a “weekend.” And don’t get me started on the “b” word (balance), because there isn’t any at first. If one co-founder is always available and another is taking downtime without communicating it, this creates tension.

Sometimes the partners are external. With joint ventures and licensing agreements, take your time. Don’t ignore yellow flags because you’re excited to get the deal done with the big investor or celebrity partner. These partnerships can be even more catastrophic than internal issues. Make sure all parties are clear on the roadmap, expectations and respective responsibilities.

2. Thinking You Know, But You Have No Idea

Face it: You can’t control everything. No matter what you do, even if everything is executed perfectly, things happen. I’ve learned to stay flexible and ready to pivot the micro or macro at any time. A client could go out of business. A hacker could take all the servers in California the day your big press hits. Natural disasters can lead to declining sales. Your main buyer could resign and you have to start all over. You need to focus on the items you can control and be prepared to deal with obstacles as they arise. Preparation means having contingency plans in place. While you cannot control everything, you need to know how to navigate the turns in the road.

Remaining coachable is a key entrepreneurial trait. Yes, you are the expert in your product and space, but you can’t possibly see every aspect of your business. When others show you a new point of view about marketing or positioning, listen. Don’t get defensive. Anytime we get defensive, we lose. Breathe and take it in. Literally anything can happen in the lifetime of a business. Most companies end up in an exit very differently than how they started. Be malleable when outside forces come along and throw curveballs.

3. Not Having A Core Competency In The Space

Your idea isn’t worth anything. Execution is. If you are truly passionate about your idea and you don’t have firsthand experience in the space, it’s vital that you start off with a co-founder who does. Besides, complementary experience sets you up for success. Launching and then raising money to hire that person rarely works. They need to be heavily incentivized and part of the permanent package in order to start with a great foundation and gain investor interest. I’ve seen many people pitch a great idea, but then they can’t explain a clear roadmap or how to build the product on their own and, therefore, are not the best person to execute and build that particular idea.

4. Preparing For The Future More Than Focusing On The Present

This is a two-sided coin. On the one side, you need to have both a long-term and short-term vision and goal for the company. On the other side, you cannot be so focused on how you want your company to look in five years that you ignore the details of what needs to happen now in order to assure the company will be around in five years. Having a great legal foundation is important, but spending all your time too early on trademarks, patents and marketing plans that are more suited for big companies and advisors you think you might need when you scale later is all moot if you don’t get there. Avoid making fear-based decisions out of paranoia for something that doesn’t even have proof of concept yet. Focus on the product you have today. Execute short-term, small marketing items with quick turnarounds, so you can gather the data and pivot them quickly. Stop expecting to become a big company and change the mindset to making sure you get there.

5. Not Loving What You Do

Creating and building a company is hard and takes stamina. You’ll get tired of it at times, no matter what. It’s important to feel energized by your product. When I’ve built new things that were successful, I truly felt in the beginning like it just came out of me. I was propelled every morning and chose to work on it above all else. I was hungry, determined and driven to see it come to life. It’s not transactional like exchanging time for money. The spark might be there, but can you continue to put gasoline on it? Greatness is created from authentic excitement, effort and love for the possibility of your idea being one of the lucky ones that blooms into reality.

Contributed by Rachael McCrary, Forbes Councils Member, COO of BUTTONWallet, the telegram-based Crypto exchange, Entrepreneur and Business Advisor in Los Angeles

10 Ways to Sabotage Your Job Search

1. Focus on the Negative

Believe it or not, the biggest key to your job search success is your mindset! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or afraid when you’re looking for a new job because there are so many uncertainties, and thinking about all the unknowns and disappointments can quickly become a negative spiral.

The job seeking process almost always takes longer than you think it should, and you have to deal with feelings of rejection every time you are not chosen for a job or don’t get an interview. You need to know that you are not alone! Even the most talented, qualified people struggle during a career transition.

The problem with focusing on all the negative or scary aspects of your job search is that it paralyzes you and hinders the effectiveness of your job search. Negativity can cause you to lose valuable time and miss out on fabulous opportunities. As strange as it may seem, momentum is cumulative. It takes a while to get the first interview, but after you get one interview, others start to follow. The more interviews you get, the more momentum you gain, and soon you have at least one job offer. If you get stuck in a negative spiral in the middle of the process, you lose that momentum and have to work to regain it.

This is why thinking positively impacts your job search so powerfully! Instead of allowing yourself to dwell on all the bad things that have happened and all the jobs you haven’t been hired for, it’s important to remind yourself of every good thing that has happened. Remember all the great conversations you’ve had, the number of applications you’ve completed, the things you’ve learned about yourself, and the value you bring to your next job.

As you focus on the positive, you’ll be motivated to keep going, and your momentum will increase. Before you know it, you’ll be in that next amazing position!

2. Search Only Online Job Boards

Because of the online nature of the hiring process, you can quickly get lost in job description after job description on common job boards. Part of the reason this type of searching is so appealing is that when you are in a vulnerable state as a job seeker, it’s less intimidating to put in applications without any personal contact.

There is nothing wrong with looking at posted jobs; however, you need to understand that this is not the most effective way to get an interview! Your job search will be much more efficient if you focus the majority of your time and effort on strategies that are more likely to get the results you want.

The number one way to get interviews is through networking. This means that more of your time should be spent building and connecting with your network, instead of surfing the Internet for leads.

3. Use the Wrong Resume Format

Not all resume formats are created equal! Using the right format for the right situation is absolutely necessary to get the interviews you want. When you upload your resume into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), you need to be sure that you use a format that will be understood by the system.

The best way to ensure that your resume will be read correctly by the ATS is to upload an unformatted version. Lines, boxes and other formatting can confuse the system and cause only parts of your resume to be uploaded. If the ATS cannot read your information, it may disqualify you for the job you’ve applied for, even if you actually have all the necessary qualifications!

If you are sending your resume as an attachment to an email, you should send a formatted version as a PDF. This ensures that it will retain its formatting, and every reader will be able to read it, regardless of what programs they have on their computer. The only way your resume can land you an interview is if the person who receives it is able to read all of your qualifications.

4. Underestimate Your Value

Looking for a new position brings out your insecurities and exposes your feelings of vulnerability. The more vulnerable you feel, the lower your confidence gets. Our tendency in times of feeling vulnerable is to undervalue ourselves and downplay how much we have to offer. But if you want to successfully market your skills, you have to understand how valuable you are!

Remember that you offer not only your abilities, but your personality, your life experiences and your ambition. Give yourself credit for what you’re really worth!

Even on the days that it seems like no one else can appreciate it, remind yourself that you are a talented and valuable individual with unique value to offer the world.

5. Look for Jobs You Don’t Really Want

Like I said earlier, your job search almost always takes longer than expected. The longer it takes, and the more discouraging it gets, the more you’re tempted to look at other positions just to get something.

Resist the urge to do that!

Applying for jobs that you don’t actually want will only distract you from your goals. You will waste valuable job search time, and the result will either be you turning down the position or wishing you had turned it down.

Stay focused on your goals! Don’t let anything dissuade you. There is a position out there for you that fits who you are and what you want in your career!

6. FORGET TO FOLLOW UP

This is essential!!! Job searching is a busy, stressful time. You can easily become obsessed with getting the right position and lose sight of some of the basic principles that will improve your career transition. As your job search becomes more intense, you have to become even more intentional about doing the little things to stand out and get noticed.

Every time you speak with a recruiter or HR manager, you need to take time to send them a note to follow up. Thank them for their time, and tell them something specific you appreciated about the conversation or interview. Ask them a question about the next step in the interview process to give them an opportunity to respond to you.

You want to be memorable and to show them that you care about personal relationships. This demonstrates you are not only concerned about your own needs, but you think of ways to benefit other people. It may not seem like a big deal to follow up, but it could be the difference you need. Even if you do not get the position you were interviewing for, there’s a possibility to maintain the relationship and be considered for employment in the future.

7. Send the Same Cover Letter for Every Job

If you are sending the same cover letter for every application, you are missing out on an opportunity to connect with the company. Your cover letter highlights the qualifications that make you an excellent candidate for a specific position, so it needs to be customized for each particular job.

It also is the place for you to connect with the mission and purpose of the organization. You want to show them the reasons you are the best fit for their company culture.

If your cover letter doesn’t connect who you are and what you value with the organization you are applying to work for, it does not give them a good reason to interview you. Use each cover letter not only to point out your best qualities, but also to demonstrate your ideal fit as part of the team.

8. Ignore Application Instructions

Read ALL of the instructions for applying before you begin the process.

Then, read them a second time to make sure you understand them clearly.

Many, many applications are eliminated simply because the applicant did not follow the directions precisely. Don’t let this happen to you! Do not copy and paste the same answers into every application, because they are all different. Do exactly what you are instructed to do.

Pay attention to applications that expressively tell you not to contact them by phone or email. You don’t want to be ignored as a candidate just because you failed to follow directions.

9. Interview Without Researching the Company

When you go to an interview, you need to keep in mind that the purpose of the interview is for you and the company to get to know each other. If you do not know anything about the organization when you arrive, you will indicate to the interviewer that you don’t really care about working specifically for them.

No one wants to hire someone who is just looking for a job. They want to hire people who like their organization and want to be part of the team.

Research and be informed about what the company is about, what its mission is, the values it promotes, and the culture it embodies. Most companies are looking for more than just a set of skills. They want people who will fit with the organization and add to its overall vision and culture.

10. Don’t Prepare Your References

Go beyond asking your references if you can list them on your resume, and have a conversation with them about your career goals and your abilities. Send each reference a copy of your resume, so that they have your information and skills easily accessible. Talk with them about your goals and the position you are seeking.

Ask your references how they would describe your best qualities and what they can see you doing in the career field you are pursuing. Answer any questions they have about you. Preparing your references will not only help them think through what they want to say about you before they get a call or an email, but it will also help you grow in understanding your value from someone else’s perspective.

Avoid these 10 common job search mistakes and land your perfect position faster! Not only will you get your next dream job sooner than you expected, but chances are you’ll also have a lot more fun along the way.

Book Review: The 48 Laws of Power Summary By Robert Greene

An outstanding book that will no doubt remain a classic for a long time.  48 Laws of Power details the laws for attaining power in life, business, and more, and gives historical examples of each law in practice, as well as examples of those who do not respect these laws.

A book I will continue to go back and reference.  Those who are cynical may see some of the laws as manipulative, and some are. That said, they are all grounded in the reality of human nature, and it’s more important to understand them, and then choose how, when, and which to apply, than to just remain ignorant of them and refuse to acknowledge they exist.

A long read, but well worth it and entertaining throughout.

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48 Laws of Power:

  1. Never outshine the master.
    • Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please and impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite—inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.
  2. Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies.
    • Be wary of friends—they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.
    • Friends often conceal things in order to avoid conflict; this can be dangerous.
    • Keep friends for friendship, but work with the skilled and competent.
    • Whenever you can, bury the hatchet with an enemy, and make a point of putting him in your service.
    • Use enemies to define your cause more clearly to the public, even framing it as a struggle of good against evil.
    • It is better off to know who and where your opponents are than to not know where your real enemies lie.
  3. Conceal your intentions.
    • Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelop them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.
    • I: Use decoyed objects of desire and red herrings to throw people off the scent:
      • If at any point in the deception you practice people have the slightest suspicions to your intentions, all is lost. Do not give them the chance to sense what you are up to: Throw them off the scent by dragging red herrings across the path. Use false sincerity, send ambiguous signals, set up misleading objects of desire. Unable to distinguish the genuine from the false, they cannot pick out your real goal.
      • Hide your intentions not by closing up, but by talking endlessly about your desires and goals – just false ones.
    • II: Use smoke screens to disguise your actions:
      • Deception is always the best strategy, but the best deceptions require a screen of smoke to distract people attention from your real purpose. The bland exterior—like the unreadable poker face—is often the perfect smoke screen, hiding your intentions behind the comfortable and familiar. If you lead the sucker down a familiar path, he won’t catch on when you lead him into a trap.
      • A helpful or honest gesture can divert from a deception.
      • Patterns will also help mask a deception.
      • Often the key to deception is being bland and acting with humility.
  4. Always say less than necessary.
    • When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.
    • Silence generally makes people uncomfortable – they will jump in and nervously fill the silence.
    • Generally saying less makes you appear more profound and mysterious.
    • Be particularly careful with sarcasm – rarely is it valuable.
    • Be careful with arousing suspicion or insecurity by being silent.  At times it is easier to blend by playing the jester.
  5. So much depends on reputation – guard it with your life.
    • Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once it slips, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.
    • Work to establish a reputation of outstanding quality, whether generosity or honesty or cunning.
    • A good reputation can save you much – a lot of work is done in advance by your reputation.
    • Once established, always take the high road when attacked.
  6. Court attention at all cost.
    • Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.
    • I: Surround your name with the sensational and scandalous
      • Draw attention to yourself by creating an unforgettable, even controversial image. Court scandal. Do anything to make yourself seem larger than life and shine more brightly than those around you. Make no distinction between kinds of attention—notoriety of any sort will bring you power. Better to be slandered and attacked than ignored.
      • At the beginning of your rise, spend all your energy on attracting attention.  The quality of attention is irrelevant.
    • II: Create an air of mystery
      • In a world growing increasingly banal and familiar, what seems enigmatic instantly draws attention. Never make it too clear what you are doing or about to do. Do not show all your cards. An air of mystery heightens your presence; it also creates anticipation—everyone will be watching you to see what happens next. Use mystery to beguile, seduce, even frighten.
      • Remember: Most people are upfront, can be read like an open book, take little care to control their words or image, and are hopelessly predictable. By simply holding back, keeping silent, occasionally uttering ambiguous phrases, deliberately appearing inconsistent, and acting odd in the subtlest of ways, you will emanate an aura of mystery.
      • Do not let mystery turn to an air of deceit; it must always seem a game, playful, unthreatening.
  7. Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit.
    • Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.
    • You must secure the credit for yourself.
    • Learn to take advantage of others work to further your own cause.
    • Use the past, a vast storehouse of knowledge and wisdom.  Learn this and you will look like a genius.
    • Note: be sure to know when letting other people share the credit furthers your cause.
  8. Make other people come to you – use bait if necessary.
    • When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains—then attack. You hold the cards.
    • The essence of power is keeping the initiative and forcing others to react, keeping them on the defensive.
    • Master your anger yet play on people’s natural tendency to react angrily when pushed and baited.
  9. Win through your actions, never through argument.
    • Any momentary triumph you think you have gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.
    • When aiming for power, always look for the indirect route.
    • Verbal argument has one use: deception when covering tracks or caught in a lie.
  10. Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky.
    • You can die from someone else’s misery—emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.
    • The most important person to avoid: the sufferer of chronic dissatisfaction.
    • Examine someone’s history to recognize these people: turbulence, a long line of broken relationships, etc.
    • The other side of infection is equally valid: there are those who attract happiness by their good cheer, natural buoyancy, and intelligence.
    • Use this rule to counteract your own undesirable or weak qualities.
  11. Learn to keep people dependent on you.
    • To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.
    • Do not mistake independence for power; power requires a relationship.
    • To cultivate this: possess a talent and creative skill that simply cannot be replaced.
  12. Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim.
    • One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones. Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people. Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will. A timely gift—a Trojan horse—will serve the same purpose.
    • Learn to give before you take – an actual gift, a generous act, a kind favour, an “honest” admission – whatever it takes.
    • Selective honesty is best employed on your first encounter with someone.
    • A history of deceit will cause any act of generosity to be viewed with suspicion.  Counter by embracing your reputation for dishonesty openly.
  13. When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude.
    • If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.
    • Do not be subtle: you have valuable knowledge to share, you can make him rich, you can make him live longer and happier.
    • Train yourself to see inside other’s needs and interests and desires.
    • Distinguish differences among powerful people and figure out what makes them tick.  When they ooze greed, do not appeal to charity; when they want to look charitable and noble, do not appeal to their greed.
  14. Pose as a friend, work as a spy.
    • Knowing about your rival is critical. Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead. Better still: Play the spy yourself. In polite social encounters, learn to probe. Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions. There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.
    • During social gatherings and innocuous encounters, pay attention.  This is when people’s guards are down, and they will reveal things.
    • Give a false confession, and someone else will give you a real one.
    • Contradict others to stir them to emotion and lose control of their words.
  15. Crush your enemy totally.
    • All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely. (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.) If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out. More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation: The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge. Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.
    • Recognize that you will accumulate enemies who you cannot bring over to your side, and that to leave them any escape will mean you are never secure.  Crush them completely.
  16. Use absence to increase respect and honour.
    • Too much circulation makes the price go down: The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.
    • The truth of this law can most easily be appreciated in matters of love and seduction.
    • Another example of this law exists in economics – scarcity increases value.
    • Note: this law only applies once a certain level of power has been attained.  Leave too early and you do not increase respect, you are simply forgotten. Similarly, absence is only effective in love and seduction once you have surrounded the other with your image.
      • In the beginning, make yourself not scarce but omnipresent.
  17. Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability.
    • Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.
    • Unsettle those around you and keep the initiative by being unpredictable.
    • Predictability and patterns can be used as a tool when deceiving.
  18. Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous.
    • The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere—everyone has to protect themselves. A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it Protects you from—it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target. Better to circulate among people, find allies, mingle. You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.
    • Retreat to a fortress and you lose contact with your sources of power, and your knowledge of what is going on.
    • If you need time to think, then choose isolation as a last resort, and only in small doses.
  19. Know who you’re dealing with – do not offend the wrong person.
    • There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge. They are wolves in lambs’ clothing. Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then—never of fend or deceive the wrong person.
    • Being able to recognize the type of person you’re dealing with is critical.  Here are the five most dangerous:
      • The Arrogant and Proud Man: any perceived slight will invite vengeance.  Flee these people.
      • The Hopelessly Insecure Man: similar to the proud man, but will take revenge in smaller bites over time.  Do not stay around him if you have harmed or deceived him.
      • Mr. Suspicion: sees the worst in others and imagines that everyone is after him.  Easy to deceive – get him to turn on others.
      • The Serpent with a Long Memory: if hurt, he will show no anger, but will calculate and wait. Recognize by his calculation and cunning in other areas of life – he is usually cold and unaffectionate.  Crush him completely or flee.
      • The Plain, Unassuming, and Often Unintelligent Man: this man will not take the bait because he does not recognize it. Do not waste your resources trying to deceive him.  Have a test ready for a mark – a joke, a story. If reaction is literal, this is the type you are dealing with.
    • Never rely on instincts when judging someone; instead gather concrete knowledge.  Also never trust appearances.
  20. Do not commit to anyone.
    • It is the fool who always rushes to take sides. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself. By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others—playing people against one another, making them pursue you.
    • Part 1: Do not commit to anyone, but be courted by all.
      • Stay aloof and gain the power that comes from attention and frustrated desire.
    • Part 2: Do not commit to anyone – stay above the fray.
      • Do not let others drag you into their fights.  Seem interested and supportive, but neutral.
      • Staying neutral allows you to keep initiative, and take advantage of the situation when one side starts to lose.
      • You only have so much time and energy – every moment wasted on affairs of others subtracts from your strength.
      • Make sure to maintain emotional objectivity in the affairs of others.
  21. Play a sucker to catch a sucker – seem dumber than your mark.
    • No one likes feeling stupider than the next person. The trick, then, is to make your victims feel smart—and not just smart, but smarter than you are. Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you may have ulterior motives.
    • Intelligence, taste and sophistication are all things you should downplay, or reassure others that they are more advanced than you.
  22. Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power.
    • When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead. Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane. Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you—surrender first. By turning the other cheek you infuriate and unsettle him. Make surrender a tool of power.
    • The essence of the surrender tactic: inwardly you stay firm, but outwardly you bend.  Your enemy will be bewildered when properly executed, as they will be expecting retaliation.
  23. Concentrate your forces.
    • Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another—intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.
    • Concentrate on a single goal, a single task, and beat it into submission.
    • Note: when fighting a stronger enemy, you must be prepared to dissolve your forces and be elusive.
  24. Play the perfect courtier.
    • The perfect courtier thrives in a world where everything revolves around power and political dexterity. He has mastered the art of indirection; he flatters, yields to superiors, and asserts power over others in the most oblique and graceful manner. Learn and apply the laws of courtiership and there will be no limit to how far you can rise in the court.
    • The Laws of Court Politics
      • Avoid Ostentation: modesty is always preferable.
      • Practice Nonchalance: never appear to be working too hard; your talent must appear to flow naturally, with ease.  Showing your blood and toil is a form of ostentation.
      • Be Frugal with Flattery: flatter indirectly by being modest.
      • Arrange to be Noticed: pay attention to your appearance, and find a way to create a subtly distinctive style and image.
      • Alter Your Style and Language According to the Person You’re Dealing With: acting the same with all will be seen as condescension by those below you, and offend those above you.
      • Never Be the Bearer of Bad News: the messenger is always killed.  Bring only glad news.
      • Never Affect Friendliness and Intimacy with Your Master: he does not want a friend for a subordinate.
      • Never Criticize Those Above You Directly: err on the side of subtlety and gentleness.
      • Be Frugal in Asking Those Above You for Favours: it is always better to earn your favours.  Do not ask for favours on another person’s behalf.
      • Never Joke About Appearances or Taste
      • Do Not Be the Court Cynic: express admiration for the good work of others.
      • Be Self-Observant: you must train yourself to evaluate your own actions.
      • Master Your Emotions
      • Fit the Spirit of the Times: your spirit and way of thinking must keep up with the times, even if the times offend your sensibilities.
      • Be a Source of Pleasure: if you cannot be the life of the party, at least obscure your less desirable qualities.
  25. Re-create yourself.
    • Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions—your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.
    • The first step in the process of self-creation is being aware of yourself and taking control of your appearances and emotions.
    • The second step is the creation of a memorable character that compels attention and stands above the others on the stage.
    • Rhythm, timing and tempo over time also contribute greatly to the creation of a character.
    • Appreciate the importance of stage entrances and exits.
  26. Keep your hands clean.
    • You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds. Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.
    • Part 1: Conceal your mistakes – have a scapegoat to take the blame.
      • It is often wise to choose the most innocent victim possible as a sacrificial goat.  Be careful, however, not to create a martyr.
      • A close associate is often the best choice – the “fall of the favourite”.
    • Part 2: Make use of the cat’s-paw.
      • Use those around you to complete dirty tasks to hide your intentions and accomplish your goals while keeping your hands clean.
      • An essential element in this strategy is concealing your goal.
      • Devices like this are best for approaching those in power, or planting information.
      • You may also offer yourself as the cat’s-paw to gain power.
    • Note: you must be very careful in using this tactic, as being revealed would be disastrous.
  27. Play on people’s need to believe to create a cult like following.
    • People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise ; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.
    • How to create a cult in 5 easy steps:
      • Keep It Vague, Keep it Simple: use words to attract attention, with great enthusiasm.  Fancy titles for simple things are helpful, as are the use of numbers and the creation of new words for vague concepts.  All of these create the impression of specialized knowledge. People want to hear there is a simple solution to their problems.
      • Emphasize the Visual and the Sensual over the Intellectual: Boredom and skepticism are two dangers you must counter.  The best way to do this is through theatre, creating a spectacle.  Appeal to all the senses, and use the exotic.
      • Borrow the Forms of Organized Religion to Structure the Group: create rituals, organize followers into hierarchy, rank them in grades of sanctity, give them names and titles, ask them for sacrifices that fill your coffers and increase your power.  Talk and act like a prophet.
      • Disguise Your Source of Income: make your wealth seem to come from the truth of your methods.
      • Set Up an Us-Versus-Them Dynamic: first make sure your followers believe they are part of an exclusive club, unified by common goals.  Then, manufacture the notion of a devious enemy out to ruin you.
    • People are not interested in the truth about change – that it requires hard work – but rather they are dying to believe something romantic, otherworldly.
    • The most effective cults mix religion with science.
  28. Enter action with boldness.
    • If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.
    • Some of the most pronounced psychological effects of boldness and timidity:
      • The Bolder the Lie the Better: the sheer audacity of a bold lie makes the story more credible, distracting from its inconsistencies.  When entering a negotiation, ask for the moon and you’ll be surprised how often you get it.
      • Lions Circle the Hesitant Prey: everything depends on perception, and if on a first encounter you demonstrate a willingness to compromise, back down, and retreat, you will be pushed around without mercy.
      • Boldness Strikes Fear; Fear Creates Authority: the bold move makes you seem larger and more powerful than you are.  If it comes suddenly, with stealth and swiftness, it inspires much more than fear – you will be intimidating, and people will be on the defensive in future.
      • Going Halfway with Half a Heart Digs the Deeper Grave: if you enter action with less than total confidence, problems will cause you to grow confused rather than pushing through.
      • Hesitation Creates Gaps, Boldness Obliterates Them: when you take time to think, you create a gap that allows others time to think as well.  Boldness leaves others no space to doubt and worry.
      • Audacity Separates You from the Herd: the bold draw attention, and seem larger than life.  We cannot keep our eyes off the audacious.
    • Most of us are timid.  We want to avoid tension and conflict and be liked by all.  We are terrified of consequences, what others might think of us, and the hostility we will stir up if we dare go beyond our usual place.
    • You must practice and develop your boldness. The place to begin is in negotiations.  How often we ask too little.
    • Remember: the problems created by an audacious move can be disguised, even remedied, by more and greater audacity.
  29. Plan all the way to the end.
    • The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.
    • The ending is everything – it is the end of action that determines who gets the glory, the money, the prize.  Your conclusion must be crystal clear, and you must keep it constantly in mind.
  30. Make your accomplishments seem effortless.
    • Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work—it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.
    • Some think exposure to how hard they work and practice demonstrates diligence and honesty, but really it just shows weakness.
    • Sprezzatura: the capacity to make the difficult seem easy.
    • What is understandable is not awe-inspiring.  The more mystery surrounds your actions, the more awesome your power seems.  
    • You appear to be the only one who can do what you do, and because you achieve accomplishments with grace and ease, people believe that you can always do more.
  31. Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal.
    • The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice: Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets. Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose. Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose. Put them on the horns of a dilemma: They are gored wherever they turn.
    • Withdrawal and disappearance are classic ways of controlling the options.  You give people a sense of how things will fall apart without you, and you offer them the choice: I stay away and you suffer, or I return under my conditions.
    • We actually find choices between a small number of alternatives more desirable than complete freedom of options.
    • The following are among the most common forms of controlling the options:
      • Color the Choices: Propose multiple solutions, but present the preferred one in the best light compared to the others.  Excellent device for the insecure master.
      • Force the Resister: This is a good technique to use on children and other willful people who enjoy doing the opposite of what you ask them to: Push them to choose what you want them to do by appearing to advocate the opposite.
      • Alter the Playing Field: In this tactic your opponents know their hand is being forced, but it doesn’t matter. The technique is effective against those who resist at all costs.
      • The Shrinking Options: A variation on this technique is to raise the price every time the buyer hesitates and another day goes by. This is an excellent negotiating ploy to use on the chronically indecisive, who will fall for the idea that they are getting a better deal today than if they wait till tomorrow.
      • The Weak Man on the Precipice: He would describe all sorts of dangers, exaggerating them as much as possible, until the duke saw a yawning abyss in every direction except one: the one Retz was pushing him to take. This tactic is similar to “Color the Choices,” but with the weak you have to be more aggressive. Work on their emotions—use fear and terror to propel them into action. Try reason and they will always find a way to procrastinate.
      • Brothers in Crime: This is a classic con-artist technique: You attract your victims to some criminal scheme, creating a bond of blood and guilt between you. They participate in your deception, commit a crime (or think they do), and are easily manipulated. It is often wise to implicate in your deceptions the very person who can do you the most harm if you fail. Their involvement can be subtle—even a hint of their involvement will narrow their options and buy their silence.
      • The Horns of a Dilemma: This is a classic trial lawyer’s technique: The lawyer leads the witnesses to decide between two possible explanations of an event, both of which poke a hole in their story. They have to answer the lawyer’s questions, but whatever they say they hurt themselves. The key to this move is to strike quickly: Deny the victim the time to think of an escape. As they wriggle between the horns of the dilemma, they dig their own grave.
    • Controlling the options has one main purpose: to disguise yourself as the agent of power and punishment.
  32. Play to people’s fantasies.
    • The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant. Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes from disenchantment. Life is so harsh and distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert: Everyone flocks to them. There is great power in tapping into the fantasies of the masses.
    • Never promise a gradual improvement through hard work; rather, promise the moon, the great and sudden transformation, the pot of gold.
    • The key to fantasy is distance – the distance has allure and promise, seems simple and problem free.  What you are offering, then, should be ungraspable. Never let it become oppressively familiar.
  33. Discover each man’s thumbscrew.
    • Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usually an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.
    • How to find weaknesses:
      • Pay Attention to Gestures and Unconscious Signals: everyday conversation is a great place to look.  Start by always seeming interested. Offer a revelation of your own if needed. Probe for suspected weaknesses indirectly.  Train your eyes for details.
      • Find the Helpless Child: knowing about a childhood can often reveal weaknesses, or when they revert to acting like a child.
      • Look for Contrasts: an overt trait often conceals its opposite. The shy crave attention, the uptight want adventure, etc.
      • Find the Weak Link: find the person who will bend under pressure, or the one who pulls strings behind the scenes.
      • Fill the Void: the two main emotional voids are insecurity and unhappiness.
      • Feed on Uncontrollable Emotions: the uncontrollable emotion can be a paranoid fear or any base motive such as lust, greed, vanity or hatred.
    • Always look for passions and obsessions that cannot be controlled.  The stronger the passion, the more vulnerable the person.
    • People’s need for validation and recognition, their need to feel important, is the best kind of weakness to exploit.  To do so, all you need to do is find ways to make people feel better about their taste, their social standing, their intelligence.
    • Timidity can be exploited by pushing them into bold actions that serve your needs while also making them dependent on you.
  34. Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one.
    • The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated: In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.
    • How you carry yourself reflects what you think of yourself.
    • Use The Strategy of the Crown – if we believe we are destined for great things, our belief will radiate outward, just as a crown creates an aura around a king.
      • The trick is simple: be overcome by your self-belief.
    • This may separate you from people, but that’s the point.  You must always act with dignity, though this should not be confused with arrogance.
      • Dignity is the mask you assume that makes it as if nothing can affect you, and you have all the time in the world to respond.
    • There are other strategies to help:
      • The Columbus Strategy: always make a bold demand.  Set your price high and do not waver.
      • The David and Goliath Strategy: go after the highest person in the building.  This immediately puts you on the same plane as the chief executive you are attacking.
      • The Patron Strategy: give a gift of some sort to those above you.
  35. Master the art of timing.
    • Never seem to be in a hurry-hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time. Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually. Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power. Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.
    • Three types of time and how to deal with them:
      • Long Time: be patient, control your emotions, and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.  You will gain long-term perspective and see further in the future.
      • Forced Time: the trick in forcing time is to upset the timing of others – to make them hurry, make them wait, make them abandon their own pace.  Use the deadline, apply sudden pressure, change pace to use this.
      • End Time: patience is useless unless combined with a willingness to act decisively at the right moment. Use speed to paralyze your opponents, cover any mistakes, and impress people with your aura of authority and finality.
  36. Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge.
    • By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.
    • Desire creates paradoxical effects: the more you want something, the more you chase after it, the more it eludes you.  You need to do the reverse: turn your back on what you want, show your contempt and disdain to create desire.
    • Instead of focusing attention on a problem, it is often better not to acknowledge it’s existence:
      • Sour-grapes approach: act as if something never really interested you in the first place.
      • When attacked, look away, answer sweetly, and show how little the attack concerns you.  
      • Treat it lightly if you have committed a blunder.
    • Note: make sure to show the above publicly, but to monitor the problem privately, making sure it is remedied.
  37. Create compelling spectacles.
    • Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power—everyone responds to them. Stage spectacles for those around you, then, full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.
    • Words often go astray, but symbols and the visual strike with emotional power and immediacy.
    • Find an associate yourself with powerful images and symbols to gain power.
      • Most effective of all is a new combination – a fusion of images and symbols that have not been seen together before, but that clearly demonstrate your new idea, message, religion.
  38. Think as you like but behave like others.
    • If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.
    • Flaunting your pleasure in alien ways of thinking and acting will reveal a different motive – to demonstrate your superiority over your fellows.
    • Wise and clever people learn early on that they can display conventional behavior and mouth conventional ideas without having to believe in them. The power these people gain from blending in is that of being left alone to have the thoughts they want to have, and to express them to the people they want to express them to, without suffering isolation or ostracism.
    • The only time it is worth standing out is when you already stand out—when you have achieved an unshakable position of power, and can display your difference from others as a sign of the distance between you.
  39. Stir up waters to catch fish.
    • Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive. You must always stay calm and objective. But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage. Put your enemies off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.
    • This is the essence of the Law: When the waters are still, your opponents have the time and space to plot actions that they will initiate and control. So stir the waters, force the fish to the surface, get them to act before they are ready, steal the initiative. The best way to do this is to play on uncontrollable emotions—pride, vanity, love, hate.
    • Angry people end up looking ridiculous.  It is comical how much they take personally, and more comical how they belief that outbursts signify power.
    • We should not repress our angry or emotional responses, but rather that realize in the social realm, and the game of power, nothing is personal.
    • Reveal an apparent weakness to lure your opponent into action.
    • In the face of someone angry, nothing is more infuriating than someone who keeps his cool while others are losing theirs.
    • Note: do not provoke those who are too powerful.
    • There are times when a burst of anger can do good, but it must be manufactured and under your control.
  40. Despise the free lunch.
    • What is offered for free is dangerous-it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price—there is no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.
    • What is offered for free often has a psychological price tag – complicated feelings of obligation, compromises with quality, the insecurity those compromises bring, on and on.  By paying the full price, you keep your independence and room to maneuver.
    • Being open and flexible with money also teaches the value of strategic generosity.
    • Avoid these people who fail to use money creatively and strategically, or turn their inflexibility to your advantage:
      • The Greedy Fish. The greedy fish take the human side out of money. Cold and ruthless, they see only the lifeless balance sheet; viewing others solely as either pawns or obstructions in their pursuit of wealth, they trample on people’s sentiments and alienate valuable allies. No one wants to work with the greedy fish, and over the years they end up isolated, which often proves their undoing. Easy to deceive with promise of money.
      • The Bargain Demon. Powerful people judge everything by what it costs, not just in money but in time, dignity, and peace of mind. And this is exactly what Bargain Demons cannot do. Wasting valuable time digging for bargains, they worry endlessly about what they could have gotten elsewhere for a little less. Just avoid these types.
      • The Sadist. Financial sadists play vicious power games with money as a way of asserting their power. They believe the money they give you allows them to abuse your time.  Accept a financial loss instead of getting entangled.
      • The Indiscriminate Giver. These people give to everyone, and as a result no one feels special.  Appealing as a mark, but you will often feel burdened by their emotional need.
    • Never let lust for money lure you from true power.  Make power your goal and money will find it’s way to you.
    • Note: bait your deceptions with the possibility of easy money, and many will fall for it.
  41. Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes.
    • What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them. Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making: Establish your own name and identity by changing course. Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.
    • If you cannot start materially from ground zero – it would be foolish to renounce an inheritance- you can at least begin from ground zero psychologically.
    • Never let yourself be seen as following your predecessor’s path.  You must physically demonstrate your difference, by establishing a style and symbolism that set you apart.
    • Repeating actions will not re-create success, because circumstances never repeat themselves exactly.
    • Success and power make us lazy – you must reset psychologically to counter this laziness.
  42. Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.
    • Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual —the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoner of goodwill. If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence. Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them—they are irredeemable. Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them. Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.
    • In every group, power is concentrated in the hands of one or two people.
    • When troubles arise, find the source, and isolate them – physically, politically or psychologically.  Separate them from their power base.
  43. Work on the hearts and minds of others.
    • Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you. You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction. A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn. And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses. Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear. Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.
    • Remember: The key to persuasion is softening people up and breaking them down, gently. Seduce them with a two-pronged approach: Work on their emotions and play on their intellectual weaknesses. Be alert to both what separates them from everyone else (their individual psychology) and what they share with everyone else (their basic emotional responses). Aim at the primary emotions—love, hate, jealousy. Once you move their emotions you have reduced their control, making them more vulnerable to persuasion.
    • Play on contrasts: push people to despair, then give them relief. If they expect pain and you give them pleasure, you win their hearts.
    • Symbolic gestures of self-sacrifice can win sympathy and goodwill.
    • The quickest way to secure people’s minds is by demonstrating, as simply as possible, how an action will benefit them.
  44. Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect.
    • The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy. The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact. By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson. Few can resist the power of the Mirror Effect.
    • Mirror Effects can disturb or entrance others, giving you power to manipulate or seduce them.
    • There are four main Mirror effects:
      • The Neutralizing Effect: do what your enemies do, following their actions as best you can, and they are blinded.  A reverse version is the Shadow – shadow your opponents every move without them seeing you.
      • The Narcissus Effect: look into the desires, values, tastes, spirit of others, and reflect it back to them.
      • The Moral Effect: teach others by giving them a taste of their own medicine. They must realize you are doing to them the same thing they did to you.
      • The Hallucinatory Effect: create a perfect copy of an object, a place, a person, that people take for the real thing, because it has the physical appearance of the real thing.
    • Understand: Everyone is wrapped up in their own narcissistic shell. When you try to impose your own ego on them, a wall goes up, resistance is increased. By mirroring them, however, you seduce them into a kind of narcissistic rapture: They are gazing at a double of their own soul. This double is actually manufactured in its entirety by you. Once you have used the mirror to seduce them, you have great power over them.
    • One way to create a mirror for someone is to teach them a lesson through an analogy, avoiding the reactionary increase in resistance you’d encounter if brought up directly.
    • Note: avoid mirrored situations you don’t understand, as those involved will quickly see through it, and the mirrored situation will not live up to the original.
  45. Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once.
    • Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.
    • Borrow the weight and legitimacy from the past, however remote, to create a comforting and familiar presence.
    • Humans desire change in the abstract, or superficial change, but a change that upsets core habits and routines is deeply disturbing to them.
    • Understand: The fact that the past is dead and buried gives you the freedom to reinterpret it. To support your cause, tinker with the facts. The past is a text in which you can safely insert your own lines.
    • A simple gesture like using an old title, or keeping the same number for a group, will tie you to the past and support you with the authority of history.
  46. Never appear too perfect.
    • Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.
    • Either dampen your brilliance occasionally, purposefully revealing a defect, weakness, or anxiety, or attributing your success to luck; or simply find yourself new friends. Never underestimate the power of envy.
    • The envy of the masses can be deflected quite easily – appear as one of them in style and values.  Never flaunt your wealth, and carefully conceal the degree to which it has bought influence. Make a display of deferring to others, as if they were more powerful than you.
    • Use envy to motivate you to greater heights.
    • Keep a wary eye for envy in those below you as you grow more successful.
    • Expect that those envious of you will work against you.
    • Emphasize luck, and do not adopt a false modesty that will be seen through.
    • Deflect envy of political power by not seeming ambitious.  
    • Disguise your power as a kind of self-sacrifice rather than a source of happiness for you.  Emphasize your troubles and you turn potential envy into a source of moral support (pity).
    • Beware signs of envy: excessive praise, hypercritical people, public slandering.
    • Note: once envy is present, it is sometimes best to display the utmost disdain for those who envy you.
  47. Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop.
    • The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.
    • Understand: In the realm of power, you must be guided by reason. To let a momentary thrill or an emotional victory influence or guide your moves will prove fatal. When you attain success, step back. Be cautious. When you gain victory, understand the part played by the particular circumstances of a situation, and never simply repeat the same actions again and again. History is littered with the ruins of victorious empires and the corpses of leaders who could not learn to stop and consolidate their gains.
    • The powerful vary their rhythms and patterns, change course, adapt to circumstance, and learn to improvise.  They control their emotions, and step back and come to a mental halt when they have attained success.
    • Good luck is more dangerous than bad luck, because it deludes you into thinking your own brilliance is the reason for your success.
    • Note: There are some who become more cautious than ever after a victory, which they see as just giving them more possessions to worry about and protect. Your caution after victory should never make you hesitate, or lose momentum, but rather act as a safeguard against rash action. On the other hand, momentum as a phenomenon is greatly overrated. You create your own successes, and if they follow one upon the other, it is your own doing. Belief in momentum will only make you emotional, less prone to act strategically, and more apt to repeat the same methods. Leave momentum for those who have nothing better to rely upon.
  48. Assume formlessness.
    • By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes.
    • The powerful are constantly creating form, and their power comes from the rapidity with which they can change.
    • The first psychological requirement of formlessness is to train yourself to take nothing personally.  Never show any defensiveness.
    • When you find yourself in conflict with someone stronger and more rigid, allow them a momentary victory.  Seem to bow to their superiority. Then, by being formless, slowly insinuate yourself.
    • The need for formlessness becomes greater as we age, as we become more likely to become set in our ways and assume too rigid a form.  As you get older, you must rely even less on the past.
    • Remember: Formlessness is a tool. Never confuse it with a go-with-the-flow style, or with a religious resignation to the twists of fortune. You use formlessness, not because it creates inner harmony and peace, but because it will increase your power.
    • Finally, learning to adapt to each new circumstance means seeing events through your own eyes, and often ignoring the advice that people constantly peddle your way. It means that ultimately you must throw out the laws that others preach, and the books they write to tell you what to do, and the sage advice of the elder.
    • Note: when you do finally engage an enemy, hit them with a powerful, concentrated blow.

Contributed by Graham Mann

Unemployability: 9 Traits That Will Make You Unemployable

In my former job as a recruiter, I had many opportunities to come across a number of candidates who are perpetually unemployed. I met them over career fairs, online job application, our job searching training workshop, walk-ins, write-ins, etc. Imagine not holding a job for more than 3 years and it isn’t by choice!

So I took the liberty to connect with a few of them, to better understand why they are still unemployed in hope that I could give them a helping hand. Now there are a small bunch of them that are unemployed because of medical condition such as frequent kidney dialysis treatment, past injury, bad hearing in one ear, etc. I perfectly understand and empathize with the situation they are in.

However that doesn’t form the bulk of them. Here are 5 of the more memorable ones that I came across. I sure hope you are not any of them:

5 Types of Unemployable

  1. The “Full-of-Themselves”: This is one common group and I have quite a few examples. There is a candidate who kept interrupting my speech during a job searching workshop, citing his inventiveness of a few ideas I was sharing. It was interesting that I was approaching a slide on “making an impression”. He sure made an impression, albeit a very bad one.
  2. Mr Perfect: I got to know this other candidate via a referral. He was carrying a bit of “full-of-themselves” in him, citing the legislation he helped create, the minister he queued up next to at their secondary school canteen. When I looked at his resume, he had 10 different roles over the past 8 years. Some are not even listed. He has a unique “It’s not me, it’s them” reason over why he left each one of them. I like to apply the dating analogy – if 10 different girlfriends cannot stand you, the problem probably isn’t on them.
  3. The Depressor: This guy was constantly sighing over the phone. He only wanted contract and temp job so he can move on at any sign of “problem” and was always aiming for entry-level clerical work even though he possesses an Accounting degree. This candidate never failed to add gloom to my day.  Nobody likes to hear sad stories the entire day. If you need an avenue to vent, try a helpline, not a recruiter’s DID.
  4. The IT Un-savvy: We hired a temp to help us with very basic data entry work and back then I had a very helpful colleague who arrives earliest and helped everyone turn on their computer. On one day that he didn’t come in, my new temp was sitting at her workstation in front of an empty screen. It was then that we realized that she does not know how to turn on the computer! In the age of push-mail and social media, no one can afford to be a dinosaur unless you are Warren Buffett.
  5. The Hot-Tempered

I interviewed a lady with quite a spotty track record so I checked with her on her reasons for leaving her past jobs. The first two was because the company had closed down. Given that I never heard of them, I took that answer at face value. But the latest one happens to be a premium club that is in the prime district in Singapore which I happened to pass by a few days before. She told me she left the club because it closed down. Now I’m very certain it is still around so I probed again. Immediately her face turned red and with a raised voice, “Excuse me! I said closed down!”. I jumped and almost wet my pants. My mind drifted to the kind of sharp objects she might pull out from her bag if I persisted in my questioning.

I’M NOT ANY OF THEM. THAT MAKES ME EMPLOYABLE!

What I have shown here are the extreme cases. There are many others which are much more insignificant but will equally not aid in you getting your next job.

  1. The last skill you picked up was 5 years ago

Many displaced employees during recession usually carry this trait. I’d seen this, especially over the Global Financial Crisis in 2008/2009. Many were having the highest qualification of a GCE ‘O’ Levels for more than 15 to 25 years. It never occurred to them to continue to upgrade themselves in getting certified in other skill-sets or simply upgrade to a Diploma or Degree.

Learning can be a lengthy process so you gotta start even when things are comfortable. It is too late if you are forced into it when rainy seasons hit.

  1. None of your friends or acquaintances are helping 

And that’s if you have any. I know a guy who has only a table full of his invitees to his wedding dinner and every single one of them are at most business associates.

In the information-overloaded world that we live in today, it isn’t about what you know but who you know. Just like learning, building relationships take time but it starts with you. If you are obnoxious nobody will want to hang out with you, let alone help you.

  1. You make it to the interview but never to the job

The criteria to getting onto the shortlist is very much a paper exercise. At that stage, all the recruiters get to see is your resume. Something which you could outsource to a top-notched resume writer to do for you. But the next stage is entirely up to you. How you talk to the receptionist who welcomes you to the questions you may (or may not) ask the interviewers.

It takes a lifetime of emotional quotient and many etiquette training to impress and stand out. If you have none of them now, you might want to get started right away.

  1. You are sending out resumes to every single job 

I’ve met with job seekers who had sent out 200 applications and counting and this is just over the past week. If you are dishing out resumes like you are with pieces of advice, you probably do not know what your positioning and unique selling point is. I can understand the shock-and-awe tactics but that isn’t workable if you have 200 battles to fight in simultaneously.

Be true to yourself and discover what you are good at technically. Blend that with what makes you special and what you can bring to the table differently from another fellow who was your classmate and pursued the same function. This is pure personality screening. If you are unsure, you can use a career test such as Sokanu to find out.

  1. You keep emphasizing on what you want, not what you can give

A classic problem that continues to plague many job seekers. It’s not about yourself. Remember who is going to pay your salary here. You need to emphasize on what you can bring to the table that makes you worthy of the salary you wish to get.

Too often people are just so absorbed with their own experience, skills and track record than the issues faced by the person they’re having a dialogue with.

  1. You’re not asking questions 

If I am interviewing a batch of clones, the one whom I would remember is usually the one that will ask questions at the end of the interview and I’m not talking about questions on “when do I start” or “how much will I be getting” kind of questions.

These are useful if you intend to last one month in the job. To ensure you will be there for long, you need to ask questions such as:

  1. How would you describe the corporate culture?
  2. What’s the management style of the person this role would be reporting to?
  3. What do you look for in an ideal team member?
  4. What’s expected of this individual that fills the job position?
  5. What’s the common pitfalls new hires in this role would stumble into?
  6. You’re always blaming

Resume didn’t get picked? The recruiter must be blind. Didn’t clear the interview? Are these people even trained to conduct interview?! It is perfectly normal to go through a phase of blaming other people or things when you lost your job. The danger is becoming stuck in this mode and it became so magnified that your potential new employers are also able to pick that up. No one will want to employ you if you are full of scorn for a former employer or boss.

If you have to do because it forms part of your response, the key is to quickly touch on it and move on. You don’t want to dwell into it forever and turn the job interview into a ranting session.

  1. You’re sending out the same resume for every job 

If you want to truly want to get hired, you need tailor your CV and covering letter to the jobs you’re applying for. You are just going through the motion if you don’t do this, and consequentially turn off the recruiters along the way.

Whenever you apply for a role, you need to tailor your CV so that you’re highlighting the key skills you have which match the requirements for the position.

Unsure of what you have or don’t have? Use a resume analysis tool to match your resume against the content of the job you are keen in.

  1. You’re invisible

When did you last get a call from a headhunter? When did someone last look at your profile on LinkedIn? Have you last spoken at a conference or attended any networking event? If the answer is never, the chances are that you are invisible to would-be employers.

The watch is still ticking while you sulk in your bed about the situation you are in and sulking isn’t productive. Go out there and meet/ speak with people instead.

You never know what you might walk away with.

Contributed by Adrian Tan

.Minimum Wage: Show Understanding – FG Begs Labour

From the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) came yesterday a warning that any state that dithers over the negotiation of the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage risks an unprecedented industrial crisis.

The warning came as the congress raised a standing committee to monitor the negotiation of consequential adjustment of the minimum wage in the 36 states, including Abuja.

The General Secretary of NLC, Emmanuel Ugboaja, told The Guardian in Abuja that the organised labour would not accept tokenism from any state governor.

He faulted the position of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) that the Federal Government cannot dictate to them on how the consequential adjustment should affect their workers. Ugboaja asked the governors to explain where they had been since April 18, 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari signed the minimum wage bill into law, that they did not speak to the issue until now.

“So, it is now that the governors suddenly realised that Nigeria practices federalism? Where have they been since April 18, 2019 when President Buhari signed the minimum wage bill into law? Why have they not begun the process of negotiation of consequential adjustment in their states? Why did they wait for the Federal Government to finish negotiation with the national leadership of the organised labour before initiating theirs? Why didn’t they invite workers for negotiation in their states since?”

Ugboaja threatened that the two trade centres in the country would adopt what he called ‘standard trade union response’ in any state that is reluctant to engage in negotiation.

“We believe that state governors are honourable people that would uphold the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To this end, we are sure that no state governor will break the law of this country, and knowing that the minimum wage is a law, they would respect its tenets. But we also know that some governors may want to test the resolve of the organised labour. For those, we would adopt the standard trade union response. Any governor that is worthy of that sobriquet should know that salary structures worldwide have pillars that are globally defined.”

The NLC scribe stated that the congress at the national level remained committed to ensuring that negotiations of consequential adjustment is done in accordance with best global standard. “We are committed to negotiations at the state level. We are also committed to engaging in meaningful dialogue with all the state governors. We are ready to negotiate at the state level just as we did at the federal level.”

Ugboaja insisted that the figures that would be arrived at must be borne out of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) after due negotiation with various state councils of both the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and NLC.

He said: “The leadership of congress has empanelled a standing committee to monitor the negotiation of consequential adjustment at the state level. This is to ensure that all the parameters are complied with.”

He added that the leadership of the organised labour had directed its state councils to take steps towards getting their states to begin negotiation on the consequential adjustment that must not be awarded unilaterally by the governors.

“We have directed all our state councils to begin the process of negotiation. We have made it clear to them that we are not going to accept awarded consequential adjustment by any state governor that is not a product of collective bargaining agreement. Workers are not slaves and we will not accept being treated as such,” he said.

The Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, said the monthly allowance of corps members was tied to the national minimum wage and any hike would depend on the new wage.

The DG, who disclosed this at a meeting of NYSC top management and representatives of state governments yesterday in Abuja, confirmed that corps members would enjoy the new minimum wage of N30,000.

Corps members receive N19, 800 at the moment as monthly emolument by the Federal Government for serving Nigeria for one year. Ibrahim said the allowance increment would enable corps members to perform better during the one-year compulsory national service.

“We are going to commence the payment as directed by the Federal Government. Once they commence that of the civil servants, of cause the corps members will also benefit; it is tied down to the minimum wage. The most important thing is that they have also benefitted from the minimum wage.”

Source: The Guardian

12 Soft Skills You Require to be Excel at Workplace

Every organization look out for different skill-mix and experiences in its hiring efforts, considering their business domain and knowing fully well the implications of getting a wrong hire. Hiring Managers emphasise on soft skills because of its enormous importance. It is required by every employee to engender a near perfect workplace as they work as a team, relate with each other etc.

Aside the core competencies or hard skills i.e skills required to perform on the job acquired through learning, education, trainings on the job etc, certain soft skills are required of potential candidates as sort for by companies and necessary to succeed in a environment.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills have variously been defined. They are simply cluster of personal qualities, attitudes, habits, social intelligence that make employee good and compatible to work with; or “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people”. Soft skills are people skills, but somehow difficult to evaluate; they define how a person relates with others. They can be difficult to learn in school and more difficult to measure e.g decision making, teamwork, flexibility etc.

Organisations recognize and place high premium on these soft skills as research and experience has shown that these can be as important as employee’s performance on the job.

The workplace of today has evolved tremendously and job candidates, including those who intend to climb the managerial ladder must have these soft skills.

Lori Kocon, a Portland based Human Resource expert captured it when he said “… with businesses being done at an increasingly fast pace, employers also want people who are agile, adaptable and creative at solving problems “.

Here are soft skills you should have to excel in a workplace:

Outstanding Work Ethics

Employers seek to hire job candidates with great work ethic: who are punctual to work, focused and organised and time conscious in the execution of their assigned roles/ jobs while adhering strictly to instructions. They want employees that are self-motivated and dedicated to getting jobs done irrespective of the impending challenges; employees who would brace the odds and get positive results not complainers and excuse-givers – result-oriented.

Good Communication Skills

Hires should be able to communicate effectively to colleagues, customers (internal and external). They should be able to speak fluently with good diction, write uninterruptedly and be good listeners who seek and give feedback and relate well with the publics.

A Team Player

A potential job candidate should be able to work in a group/ team and believe in group synergy; should also accept delegated roles as assigned by the team without unnecessary excuses and complaints.

Exude Self-confidence – Not Arrogance

Hires should exude confidence on the job and inspire same on others and not show arrogance. He/ she should be able to contribute positively to the growth and development of the organization; ask important questions that require clarifications or provide answers/ solutions when necessary.

Listening Skills

Of all the four basic communications skills – listening, speaking. reading and writing – listening is the most basic hence the great Philosopher, Socrates said “nature has given us two ears, but one tongue, to the end that we should hear more and see more than we speak”.

Good listening adds breath and validity to decision making as employee who do not listen misses the track.

Working well under Pressure

You should be able to work competently under pressure, handle stress and its accompanying factors, related deadline and crises – overcome these and come out with commendable results.

Positive Approach to Criticisms

Ability to accept and learn from criticism is a great virtue. Be open-minded and willing to learn and grow as an individual and pro.

Ability to Manage Time Effectively:

Time is invaluable, yet exhaustive and it is an irreplaceable resource – it passes and can never be reclaimed. Good use of time impacts directly on productivity and translates to effective self-management.

Time is of the essence and that was why P.B. Shelley, the great poet captured it clearly when he said, “ I am chained by time , and can not thence depart”.

You should be able to prioritise tasks and work on different projects at a time; determine the objectives or goals you intend to achieve, the functions and activities to perform and set a time-frame (commencement and completion date/ time for every stage).

Exhibit Positive Attitude

You should exhibit that positive and optimistic attitude while getting job done.

Adaptability and Flexibility

It is required of you to be open-minded to suggestions, adapt to new ideas, adjust to changed situations and challenges. Do not be fixated, believing that there is only one formula to resolving all questions; embrace change and be open to new thoughts and ideas.

Dependability

You should be dependable to get jobs done with little or no supervision

Problem Solving Skill

Hires should be resourceful and be able to resolve problems likely to arise on the course of the job – accept challenges and problems arising therefrom and not run away or apportion blames.

These are some of the soft skills that will distinguish you and always know that it is the combination of your core/ hard and soft skills that will make you excel in a workplace.

When looking for job opportunities, you are advised to always focus on these soft skills as they set you apart from the crowd and open doors. They are skills that will attract potential employers and so, you should demonstrate them in your CV, interviews and when you are opportuned to come in contact with employers do not be shy to exhibit them.

Written by Agolo Uzorka – Vice President Eugene + George Consulting

.Minimum Wage: Show Understanding – FG Begs Labour

In its bid to avert imminent strike over the national minimum wage adjustment stalled talks, the federal government met with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday in Abuja. At the meeting attended by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige and NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba the FG pleaded with labour to show understanding on the issue.

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