Four Ways to Speak Up and Contribute in Your Organization

Q & A with Michelle McCullough

Sheryl Sandberg, author of the book Lean In, writes that we should stop telling little girls they’re bossy, and start telling little girls that they have leadership skills. As these women enter the workplace, communicating, speaking up and feeling part of the conversation can be a challenge, without being labeled as “bossy”.

I did a Q&A to answer some of these questions about empowering women

Question: What’s your first recommendation for women to find their voice in an organization?

Michelle: Contribute in meetings.  Speak up when you agree.  Provide additional ideas when you disagree.  Don’t just leave the comments for the vocal few.  Even introverts need to find their voice  and contribute on their teams, and in their organizations.  Stand up for people, champion projects and share your voice.

Question: When there are problems on their organization or team, how can they speak up and contribute without sounding bossy?

Michelle: Find and share solutions more than complaints.  One of the ways you can add the most value to your team and organization is to provide solutions without complaining.  This is great tip for men and women.  Sometimes in an effort to encourage change we share all the things that aren’t working, but it’s hard for management to respond because it can be perceived as having a bad attitude.  Instead, provide and offer solutions and be creative when it comes different ways to address issues.  Managers the trait they wish every employee had was the ability to problem solve without complaining.

Question: What if a “problem” escalates into a disagreement, or if you feel like you’re not quite sure how to respond?

Michelle: One of the best ways to find your voice is to know what to say AND when to say it.  When things get heated, give yourself permission to table the conversation and revisit it when emotions cool down.  Also, practice the phrase “It seems like you’ve had time to think about this, could you give me a day to think through my thoughts and I can come back to you with some ways we can resolve this issue” or “I may need a day or two to think through this situation, could we revisit this conversation on Friday after I’ve given it some careful thought?”  Sometimes you need time to consider the right response so you don’t say things you don’t mean.

Question: What if someone takes your idea after you have already shared it?

Michelle: This is the MOST COMMON complaint we hear at our events.  Women will share an idea in a meeting and then later in the meeting or another day someone will share the SAME idea and claim it as theirs.  That can be discouraging, and if you’re gutsy, be willing to stand up for your idea.  However, “Thank you for validating my suggestion” sounds better than “Hey, that was my idea!”  In the moment, that can be tricky to pull off without attitude.  If this seems to be happening to you frequently, practice a validation statement before you go into your next meeting.  Also, remember that passion is okay.  If your emotion feels competitive or combative you may be criticized for your emotions.  Lead with passion and a commitment for the best interest in the team and organization, and you may find that this positive approach inspires people to lead with passionate positivity.

We love men and aren’t men bashers, but there is something powerful about a group of women getting together to learn and support each other.  For more information about our annual Power Women event for female professionals, check out:
www.powerwomenlead.com

 

How to Use IGTV in Your Business

Q&A with Michelle McCullough

Every day 500 million individuals across the globe log onto Instagram. And while the social media landscape seems to be changing by the minute, businesses and brands are getting more organic engagement on Instagram than any other social media platform. To stay relevant businesses large and small should take advantage of Instagram’s latest feature, IGTV.

Question: Before we dive into your tips, why is IG TV so hot right now?

Michelle: IG TV rolled out in summer of last year. The beauty of IGTV is that you have longer form videos AND the ability to keep them long after the 24 hour period previously offered by Lives or videos in your feed. In February this year they started to put IGTV videos in the news feed which is huge because now those videos show up as content while people are scrolling. IG TV is relatively new and currently NOT encumbered by ads (though that may come soon) so businesses should jump on getting those channels loaded and providing quality content so people will watch them later when ads do come.

Question: It sounds like this is something companies need to jump on quickly. What’s your top tip for quick implementation?

Michelle: YES, now is the time. Don’t call your videographer and don’t stress about creating new things last minute, load videos you already have and create videos over time. Yes, you have to be careful about things getting cut off, but many videos you already have will work in the format and some businesses are even getting away with loading horizontal videos vertically and people can watch by turning their phone.

Question: What types of things do you think people should be posting and how often?

Michelle: Great question and it totally depends on the brand, but I would recommend that you decide as a team (or if you’re an entrepreneur, make it a party of one). The biggest thing to remember is that you create a content plan that you follow consistently. Of course load your best videos but think of your channel like a television channel. What “shows” will you have consistently? You can post the random content videos, but if you think of it like a show or podcast you’ll likely be better able to keep it up. And also, think of your content in three main categories, Informational, Behind the Scenes and Commercials. 80% of your videos should be Informational or behind the scenes and 20% of your shows can be commercials or salesy. Provide good content first and make sales secondary, even if you’re tempted to make it all commercials.

Question: Do you have any tips for how to increase views to your videos on Instagram and IGTV?

Michelle: YES, make sure you have a killer headline that makes people want to click on it and watch it, but also utilize your description for additional details that may be helpful to someone choosing between all of your videos. ALSO, IGTV is Hashtag friendly, but it’s recommended only to use up to 3 hashtags in your description. As always, content is king so provide good content people will talk about and share. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then video has a lot of potential! Don’t miss this opportunity to tell the story of your business!

4 Tips To Be A Better Boss

Q&A with Michelle McCullough

 

 

I had the opportunity to go on KSL Brower 5.0  this week and discuss 4 tips to be a better boss.

A study done by Gallop showed that 75% of people have left a job because of a boss and not because of the job itself or even their paycheck.  Below is a Q&A with Michelle about how to be a better boss.

Question: Can we really narrow it down to only four things? What would you say is number one?

Michelle: It will be tough, I conducted a little survey of my own on social media yesterday, but there were three main categories of boss pet peeves. First, train people well, then trust them to get the job done. There can be course correction along the way, but micromanagement was at the top of the list of boss pet peeves. Allow people some freedom to complete tasks and projects in their own way. At my peak I managed a team of 50 in 4 different departments. I didn’t have TIME to micromanage, but I had many managers who did. Focus on what needs to be done, not HOW.

Question: Management has changed over the years, how can a boss earn loyalty from an employee?

Michelle: It’s true, management has changed over the years. Even 20 years ago when I was studying business management in college we read articles and textbooks about managing people like a director and a cast of actors, but over the last 15 years there’s been a shift to leadership, making sure that you were someone worth following. In this day and age leadership isn’t enough. Collaboration is the wave of the future, so collaborate don’t dictate. Involve your team as MUCH as possible. Help them idea generate solutions problems and challenges. LISTEN and then listen some more. Explore ways that you can lead the individual and not the team as a whole and you’ll find loyalty from your people.

Question: There seems to be a focus now on building culture to help people stay in an organization, how much of that does the boss need to champion.

Michelle: Culture is a HUGE corporate conversation today. But one thing employees crave the most is just honoring time and roles. Flexible time off is highly valued, not just from the millennial generation, but from everyone. If you offer time off, don’t discourage people from using it. ENCOURAGE and honor that time people spend away. Studies show people come back more committed, and they want to be championed in their other roles. Part of this conversation that is HUGE though is not texting, calling or emailing excessively while people are gone. Let them be truly “away” so it looks like you care about them. This is also importantly simply for after hours time. Allow parents time with their kids. Allow kids time with aging parents.

Question: Final question, it seems like employees are looking for more than a paycheck, what can a boss do when there is no more money to “keep” an employee.

Michelle: Many responders in my unofficial survey said appreciation was just as important to them if not more than the money they make. Public appreciation in front of peers and colleagues is especially appreciated. But take it up a notch…figure out how each employee loves to be appreciated. You’ll find that not only do they enjoy the praise, but they’ll work harder for you. Praise works above and below their paygrade. Make sure they get credit for the work they do!

Rescuing Your New Years Goals

Q&A with Michelle

Did you set a New Years Resolution this year? 45% of Americans set New Years Resolutions and of those only 8% actually follow through to completion. If you started strong, but your motivation is waning, today we’re going to talk about ways you can rescue your goals if you have fallen off the wagon.

In this Q&A segment I will share with you these four tips for rescuing your goals if you’ve already “fallen off the wagon”
1. Stop the Shame
2. Revisit your Why
3. Consider Goal Graduation
4. Focus on Habits Not Results

Question: Is there hope if we’ve already fallen off the wagon?

Michelle: Absolutely! One of the mindsets that holds us back from success is to believe there is only one time of year to succeed at change. And we don’t just do this for New Year’s Resolutions. We say, I’ll try again on Monday, or next month. But even deeper than that, because we consistently break our goals, we wait for another time to succeed. AND when we beat ourselves up for breaking a diet, or spending when we shouldn’t or whatever, we start the shame cycle and that self talk doesn’t make you want to try anymore. Believe you can and believe it’s worth it but stop telling yourself you’re a failure. THAT won’t help you reach any goals.

Question: What if the motivation just isn’t there? How do you get to the gym, or spend less, or apply for a better job?

Michelle: Revisit your motivation and make sure WHY you want the goal is solid. Are you trying to get organized because everyones sharing you Marie Kondo after pictures on Social Media? Or do you feel the need to be better organized in your life because you’re spending so much time trying to find “lost” things? Your why has to be rooted in what YOU want, not what others want. One year I had friends who were trying to motivate me to run a half marathon, but until I was willing to do it for me, I couldn’t commit or even be motivated to complete the training schedule.

Question: Do you think it’s more motivating to go for a BIG goal or a small goal?

Michelle: Depends, some people are more motivated by big hairy audacious goals and that helps them hit the pavement and work hard. However, most of us, especially if you have let goals go in the past, you may want to consider Goal Graduation. For example, let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds, some people would be motivated by that goal, but others need to start with something small like losing 10% of your body weight or even just losing 5 pounds so that they can feel success and stay motivated. BIG goals CAN be fun, but its hard to stay motivated if you don’t hit milestones over time.

Question: What final tip do you have for someone who isn’t ready to give up on their goal?

Michelle: Resolutions are great, but plans are better. My best recommendation for progress and achievement is to focus on habits not results. If you’re trying to lose weight and you get on the scale once a week and it doesn’t move, then it can be hard to continue the good habits when the results aren’t there. Instead focus on the daily, weekly, and monthly ACTIONS you need to take and then you can celebrate every night that you went to the gym or ate 5 servings of fruits and veggies, and you know that you body is getting healthy, even if the scale doesn’t reflect your efforts. Success is NOT a destination, its a practice.

How Can I Use Facebook Watch As A Marketing Strategy?

Q&A with Michelle

In an attempt to compete with YouTube video views and to keep active users on the platform, facebook rolled out Facebook Watch in 2017.  While the adoption seemed a little slow last year, it’s growing steam.  In Facebook Watch and newsfeed, Facebook has over 8 billion video views a day.
Today we are going to discuss and answer some questions about business tips if you’d like to use Facebook Watch as a marketing strategy.

Question: First off, is Facebook Watch really a place businesses and marketing teams should spend their time?
Michelle: Sure, if video is part of their overall marketing strategy.  Video is a key part of any social media strategy and if you’re going to spend the time to create videos, you may as well utilize the benefits that Facebook watch has to offer.  Videos that are uploaded directly to facebook will get more views than an external YouTube link.  Some companies are loading the same video in both platforms while others are creating separate content to meed the needs of different mediums and audiences, but either way, utilize the offering.  AND, since Facebook is putting algorithm focus on video, businesses should “play the game” so that they can get visibility in the news feed.

Question: If you do want to make Facebook Watch a primary marketing strategy, what do you recommend to start?

Michelle: If your business is going to lead with video and consistently create and share video, or if you’re primary business is entertainment (like comedy clubs) or expertise (like speakers, authors or trainers) content is your number one strategy for building an audience.  Changing your page template to video will make your videos eligible to get into the Facebook Watch button, and give you extra tools to promote past, present and current videos.  Experts like Marie Forleo and Gretchen Rubin have video pages, along with Dry Comedy Bar.  Changing your template is easy and you can easily change it to another setting if you don’t like it.

Question: How do you gain followers and grow your audience?
Michelle: It all starts with good content.  Take time to create a content schedule, decide how often you’re going to post videos or episodes.  As you share your videos to personal pages and gain traction it, good content will get shared and your audience will organically increase.  Also, don’t be afraid to do Facebook Live Videos, as long as their with a purpose. Remember every video needs to be an extension of your messaging strategy.

Question: One final quick question, what is the biggest mistake marketers make when it comes to facebook video strategy?
Michelle: Remember that social media is just one part of your marketing strategy.  You need to reach you audience in additional ways and you always need to remember to create and preserve your Home Court Advantage.  Tomorrow, facebook could change the algorithm again and they could change the “rules” for Facebook watch or any other feature.  Remember to spend as much time building your website, retail location and sales processes.  Get people from social media to your website where you own the team, the brand and the raving fans.

How Do I Get My Business Up and Going?

Q&A with Michelle

According to a OnePoll Study, 1 in 7 Americans believe they are sitting on a fantastic business idea.  Of those 41% haven’t taken any steps to get their idea off the ground.
Today on the blog I will be answering a few frequently asked questions about starting a business.
Question: How does someone know if their idea will actually work?
Michelle: Step one, is to really consider if this is a product you want or if there is an actual market for your product or service.  You do this by defining your target market. What group of people will benefit from this product or service? What does this group of people have in common? Age? Income? Education? Geographics? If there is a group that will buy your product, then you can go onto the next step.Question: What’s the next decision that needs to be made?
Michelle: Then next decision is does this product or service serve a local audience or a national or international audience.  If it’s a salon, or gift shop, while there may be an online element, a majority will happen online. While it’s easy to say you can sell to everyone, it’s hard to reach them unless it makes business sense that matches the product or service.

Question: How do you decide if you want to bootstrap your business or if you need income from another source?
Michelle: Many small business ideas can be bootstrapped.  But tech companies and inventions could need capital or maybe just a small business loan.  If you’re still not sure, consider the income and expenses that your business has.  Many startup hopefuls consider the income but not the costs. Understanding both is very important.

Question: One final quick question, how does one know they’re ready to dive into a startup?
Michelle: The truth is you’re never ready.  There will be things you figure out on the road whether you start you business now or 6 months from now, but thinking and planning can only get you so far.  Do some initial work and then get started and dive in.  You can adjust your sails as you go, but you won’t move forward until you push away from the dock.

Stress Do’s and Don’ts

Question and Answer with Michelle Mcculllough

 

 

 

 

A study done by the American Psychological Association found that 48% of respondents noted that they feel like their stress has increased over the last five years. With the everyday roles and responsibilities on our plates, it’s no wonder we’re stressed and overwhelmed.  But too much stress can lead to sickness, burnout and even depression and anxiety. The blog today features One DON’Ts and Three DO’s to help destress when things get tough.

Let’s dive in, when you’re stressed, what’s on your Don’t List?
Michelle: Number one hopefully happens before you get stressed.  Don’t Over-Schedule Yourself. Some of our stress is self Imposed, make sure you give time in your schedule for relaxation, sleep, etc.

Now some of that sounds easier said than done. Let’s talk about what is on the DO list to help other and yourself in stressful times
One of the Do’s is to focus on the present.  There may be a lot of challenges in the future, but the present is all that is in our control, we need to spend more time focusing on what we can control and let the future come what may.  The old adage that worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere, is true.  Spend your time thinking about the things in your control.

Let’s go to a question to get the next do.

Question: Many of our viewers have taxing jobs and a lot of personal responsibilities what would you recommend they do first?  Ask for help.  I think you’re right, the demands we have on our lives AND the worry combined are a lot so we need to not go it alone.  Whether you’re a CEO or a stay at home parent we all need help with our responsibilities.  So whether it’s hiring good help or trading with friends – not only does it lift a burden, but it helps us remember that we’re not alone.  Community and solidarity are great antidotes to stress.

The final tip I have for you to de-stress is to create a “Play List”.  In my book The Make It Happen Blueprint, one of the ways we tackle the feeling of being overwhelmed is through things that bring us joy.  It can be making time for a hobby, reading a good book, or even learning something new. I recommend to corporate clients and high performance individuals to make sure they do something every day that takes their mind off the stress and also helps them develop personally with things they enjoy.

Increased productivity in the Work Place

Tips on How To Increase Productivity in the Work Place

 

 

 

A study done by Basex Research shows that if you’re “in the zone” on project or deadline and you get interrupted, it takes 20 minutes to get back to where you were.  That adds up to a lot of wasted time in a day and drain on company resources. With the number of demands on our time and the distractions that come every day, it can be hard to increase productivity without burning out, our next guest,

Today on the blog we will be talking about three productivity tips to help you streamline your work week and increase your effectiveness.

It seems like there are always demands on our time. My number one tip for increased productivity is to first and foremost, eliminate distractions.  Turn off notifications on your phone and your computer when you’re in the middle of time sensitive or focus required tasks. If you have a coworker who always messages you on the company chat, mark yourself as busy.  If you have people who interrupt you in your office, put a sign on your door or cubicle when you’re in the middle of a project that needs your full attention.   Take control of your focus, no one else will do it for you.

Even if the distractions are gone, some employees still struggle to be effective in their workday.  My advice for those who could use additional help would be to marry your to do list with your calendar for routine tasks.  Here’s what I mean, most people keep a to do list, even in their own minds, but they are constantly putting routine tasks on their lists. Most employees and business owners have routine tasks that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly or annually. Go through your routine tasks and create action lists of items that you do on a regular basis, and then schedule appointments for those items in your calendar.  If you have a report do every Friday morning, block out time Thursday afternoon to complete it.  If you regular post or comment on Social Media, schedule time every day in your calendar to create that routine.

In my book I talk about weekly planning and how it is the key to success. I have had a few people ask me what weekly planning looks like for me.
Plan is the four letter word for success.  We may not want to spend time planning each week, but when you do, you’re much more likely to be in control of your clock.  Each week ask yourself, what worked this week, what didn’t work this week and what needs to change.  Once you’ve identified your routine action items and the days and times you complete them, you may find that things need to shift or move.  Take 30 minutes Friday afternoon to plan for your week ahead and you’ll get more done, and have more peace with the clock.

In my book I share a number of other productivity tips such as the how’s and why’s of delegating and there’s a whole chapter dedicated to time management.

How to rock Video Marketing for Your Business

Question and Answer with Michelle Mccullough

 

 

 

 

Last weekend video marketers and YouTube stars met in Provo at CVX live, a social media conference that focuses sharing the latest in on online video.  Today on the blog we will discuss four video marketing trends that you can apply in your business.

Video seems like it’s not going away. This year I did a lot about video and I would like to share.  Number One, while most people were at the conference to learn about YouTube, don’t rule out Facebook Watch.  Facebook watch can be a great way for your small business to shine on a every changing platform.  You can create playlists, release a video series like a podcast and more.  AND since Facebook is caring a lot about making Facebook Watch work, videos are doing better in the news feed algorithm.

Let’s jump into a few frequently asked questions to help us learn more about video.

Question #1: If you do want to dive into video, what’s working in terms of length?
Michelle: YouTube measures two things, views and watch time.  While some people consume short form content, longer format videos that are between 8-12 minutes and maybe even more help your watch time, especially if the information is valuable and entertaining.  RIP Vine, people want more. More watch time also can increase ad revenue.

Question #2:
What would you say is the one thing video marketers need to know before starting or revamping a video strategy?
Michelle: This isn’t necessarily a trend, but it was repeated as a success principle. Consistency is still KING. Entertaining is good, humor is good, interesting is good, but if you aren’t consistently putting out content you can be easily forgotten when there are a number of other people out there who are producing content, almost daily.  That may be hard to maintain for some businesses but always recommend that at least weekly will help keep you top of mind, especially for those people who subscribe and get notified when you put out something new.

Question #3: There are a lot of people out there that seem to have it figured out.  What would you say to someone who may have tried this but may be struggling?
Michelle: Don’t copy – create.  Look around and see what other people are doing that’s successful.  For example, my good friend Dr. Paul Jenkins from Live on Purpose TV produces 20 videos in one day and then releases one a day Monday through Friday.  He has a wildly successful channel that he just started in November, but that may not work for me.  You have to do your owner and you can’t copy his content and just make it your own.  Successful videos and video series work because people add their own unique flair and personality.

 

 

 

The Greatest Showman

Question and Answer with Michelle Mccullough

 

 

 

 

The Greatest Showman pleased audiences across the country and hit a box office milestone: It’s the third-biggest live-action original musical ever behind Enchanted and La La Land (according to Forbes). While many people tout the positive storyline and catchy musical numbers, there are some lessons business owners can take from this biopic story.

On the blog today I am going to share three of my favorite business takeaways.

An obvious takeaway from the movie is to be passionate about pursuing your “million dreams”. Business owners can really glean some great thoughts from the movie. Dreams are awesome and I love how the movie talks about dreaming with your eyes wide open, but one of my favorite lessons from the story is that when the museum was a flop, he pivoted.  As the show grew, he added new acts to keep things fresh, one of the biggest challenges I see small businesses make is they enter the market one way and dig in their heels, but you need to be willing to innovate and grow and sometimes you have to let go of what you started to get where you really want to go.

Question:
They had to change, as it seems like there were a number of challenges faced in their business. The second tip I have for business that are facing challenges comes from one of my favorite lines in the movie. “We don’t need a building.”  I love the idea that they didn’t have to do it the way everyone else was doing it, or the way they “thought” it should be.  Barnum’s idea to buy cheap property and use a tent is a great example of thinking outside the box.  Small business owners need to be willing to do things a different way if they want to stand out.

The final message from Greatest Showman is my favorite, in the song, “Greatest Show” they sing, “Everything you ever want, everything you ever need, is here right in front of you.” THIS is what I tell all of my clients.  You can have “A Million Dreams” but truly everything you want you already have.  Don’t assume a rocking business, or even an awesome goal or success can fill some kind of hole in your life.  Everything you want you already have.  Everything you need to be successful in business is within you already.  This story is a classic tale, one we’ve heard from many successful and famous business owners, that they sacrificed their families for their careers, don’t let that be so.  I truly believe you can grow a thriving business without having a meaningful personal life. Don’t wait until you crash to figure this out.