Today’s workers come from increasingly diverse environments including age, gender, race, language, and nationality. Beyond these differences, there are also other deeper cultural differences that can cause conflict, especially when working in a team setting. Therefore, it is important to find ways in which to work effectively and resolve potential conflicts as a team while taking these cultural differences into consideration.
You can do this by:
1. Knowing Yourself and Your Own Culture
Examine your own beliefs, values, biases, and prejudices. Being aware of our own cultures helps us to remain open to different ideas. We are able to compare and contrast different approaches without being threatened.
2. Learn others expectations
Expect that others will have different expectations, and that the only way we will know what expectations others hold is to by having a frank and open discussion about the nature of conflict, and how we prefer to deal with it when it arises.
3. Checking Your Assumptions
It is human nature to make assumptions. Therefore, it is important that we develop acceptable ways in which to check the basis of our perceptions. Failure to do so leads to inaccurate stereotypes and may foster negative feelings of hostility. Remember that your first interpretation is not necessarily correct. Be open to the interpretations of others.
Finally, fine-tune your listening skills. Effective listening supports the development and emergence of new norms that will reflect a deep knowledge for one another’s ‘ways.’ In turn, a strong and better team environment will also emerge.
Who hasn’t heard the catchy slogan that TEAM is an acronym for “Together Everyone Achieves More”? It may sound corny or like a cheer from an over-enthusiastic leader, but the rationale is sound. Teamwork has become an essential element for the success and survival of a business. Teams are not created overnight. They do not simply happen. They have to be developed, grow in to maturity, and on occasion, end when their usefulness has passed. How do you begin to create a team? The easy answer is by laying a solid foundation upon which to build. This foundation would include:
- Creating a positive working environment.
- Achieving a setting in which people feel confident and comfortable to express themselves.
- Establishing norms for being open, for planning, and for dealing with issues
- Encouraging people to speak what they feel and assure that no negative action will result.
- Presenting a cognitive framework for the whole team building experience.
As business owners and managers, we cannot force associates and employees to trust each other or to work as a team. But, we can provide them with the needed resources to build an effective team. Once that team is established, business owners and manager will find that they have a better opportunity to accomplish the company’s objectives and goals.
The other day while meeting with a new client the topic of insurance came up. She runs a telemarketing business out of her home and was curious as to what type of coverage, if any, she should be carrying. She had a basic homeowner’s policy and believed that covered her. She was surprised to learn that her homeowner’s policy, as it currently was written, did not adequately cover her.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies will only cover up to $2,500 for home office equipment and inventory in your home, and $250 for home office equipment and inventory away from home. Furthermore, there is absolutely no liability coverage offered for your home office. So, if someone is injured while doing business with you, in your home, you may end up having to pay that bill out of pocket. The good news is that you can easily add additional coverage to ensure that all office your office equipment, furniture, and ultimately your business is adequately covered.
Most policies will allow an additional endorsement called a permitted incidental occupancies endorsement which will give you broader property coverage for your business and add much needed liability coverage. Additionally, a separate work at home business owners insurance policy can be purchased to supplement your homeowner’s insurance or if you currently do not carry a homeowner’s policy. Ask your insurance agent about which options work best for you.
Managing your time effectively so that you get the most out of your day is always a challenge. Sometimes what needs to be accomplished in any given day can seem daunting. However, it most cases, our workloads can be more easily managed if we take a few easy steps:
Get plenty of rest
It may sound like something your mother would say, but it is fitting. A lack of quality sleep leads to more stress, less focus, and less productivity.
Even a 15-minute break can help you recharge your batteries and get through the rest of the day.
Start the day with a plan of action
By having a plan in place, we are less likely to respond to other people’s agendas and demands.
Clear the Clutter
Studies have shown that people who work with a messy desk spend, on average, one-and-a-half hours per day looking for things or being distracted by things. That’s seven-and-a-half hours per week.
Have a work/life balance
Our lives are made up of a combination of health, family, financial, intellectual, social, professional and spiritual areas. When we spend a sufficient quantity and quality of time in each area, our lives will be in balance. Neglect one or more areas and it will definitely impact all other areas in the long run.
John Vanhara, President of Eastbiz.com, is a self-made business man and true entrepreneur. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, John has started several successful business ventures including an incorporation services called IncParadise, and several real estate ventures such as HomeParadise, MillionSaverHomes, and BuyVegasHome.
So, we thought, “who better to answer questions for entrepreneurs and new business owners then people who have gone through the process themselves?” We asked John the following questions regarding challenges and opportunities facing entrepreneurs and small business owners. Here are his reponses:
What do you think is or are the biggest obstacles that a entrepreneur or small business owner has to overcome?
“There is too much information around. It is not difficult to find it anymore. We don’t have to go to libraries to find information about anything. It is all available on Google, but there is too much information and it is really hard to find out what is the right one. There are solutions available to most of our problems, but business owners can end up spending too much time trying to find it (or they will never find it). Finding the right information directly influence how the business will be successful.
Example: Is there a software which can help solve problems in my company? Should I choose the ones offered by sales people or the one which are open source? Old rules don’t apply anymore. You can get excellent products which are free (open source) and pay for crappy software sold by salesman. “
What do entrepreneurs and business owners tend to underestimate or pay too little attention too that they should?
“Most of the time it is a lot of hard work so you really have to love what you do. If you don’t think about the business day and night and constantly improve everything from marketing, procedures, business organization then you don’t have a lot of chances for success. I don’t say work crazy hours, but think about the business, how it could run better and more efficiently (even if it is already running like that).”
If you could give one piece of advice to a new business owner or an entrepreneur with what they believe to be a winning idea, what would it be?
“I don’t believe in winning ideas. Successful business is taking care of all the boring details, which most of the people don’t like to deal with. I think you can do any business you want and make it successful. My advice is to build your business step by step, don’t rush too much, taking care of the details,and listen to your customers. Opportunities will come when you will be ready.”