TL/DR Guide to WFH

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Working from home can be an enjoyable experience, if done right. Here are some tips to help you.

  • Dress the part.
    • Men/Women – Look presentable, you never know when the boss will want a video conference with you or you get pulled into a video meeting.
  • Minimize Distractions.
    • Not everyone has a dedicated work space. TV should stay off, good to keep window open (unless there is a lot of noise coming into your space). If you’ve got a personal PC close by, leave it off to resist the temptation of working on personal things.
    • If you have young children, you need a plan to keep them occupied. Yes, it is difficult (I have a very extroverted, and highly social 17-year old and find it tough to keep him occupied).
  • Focus on the task at hand.
    • If you’re on a conference call (video or audio only) it’s very (VERY) easy to drift onto other works. PAY ATTENTION because you never know when you will be called on to answer a question. I mean, at work (in your office) would you be on your phone or bring in your laptop and work on something else?
  • Look at the screen!
    • When you’re on a video call, don’t focus on the camera – it looks creepy but look at the screen so you remain engaged with what’s going on.
  • Hours
    • Maintain regular hours, when your office is the kitchen table it’s easy for the distinction between work and home to blur but at the same time you have more leeway so ensure you’re putting in the time you need to get the work done – people are watching and probably depending on you to get things done.
  • Daily Scrum & weekly stand-ups & one-on-ones
    • If you are a manager consider a daily scrum, communicated through something like Slack.
    • A weekly stand-up allows you to stay connected with your teams. I would also recommend to use video for these meetings.
    • Don’t abandon one-on-ones. Your team still needs to talk to you, keep those lines of communication open.
  • Get out!
    • Yes, get out and get a breath of fresh air. Build some type of exercise routine into your day and watch your health!
  • Socialize
    • Many companies are still keeping their teams engaged by offering Lunch and Learns, Team Lunches and Beer Fridays (all through video conference) and it works! The company I work for has been doing these for weeks, and a significant part of the company attends. It’s one way to keep connected with everyone in the workplace even though you can’t physically be there.
  • Time off – time out
    • Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you don’t need time off. Take a vacation day (companies are encouraging this). If you’re sick, take the day to recuperate.

Do you have any other tips? Share them here or with me on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

Crafting the Perfect LinkedIn Profile Headline

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Let’s face it, we’ve all struggled with crafting the perfect LinkedIn profile headline. In fact, I can bet that most will simply use their current job title as their headline (myself included).

But there is a better way, gain some inspiration from these 10 eye-catching LinkedIn profile headlines. Don’t copy but look at what they’ve done, and see how you can craft yours.

Check out the post on LinkedIn…

Managing Remote Employees

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How do you manage remote employees, after all – out of sight, out of mind. But when dealing with people, this can quickly spell trouble for you, the team and the company.

Remote employees are part of the team, and want to be included in team events (as much as possible given they work remotely).

What are some of the challenges of remote employees?

  1. Communication
  2. Tracking work and productivity
  3. Company culture
  4. Scheduling difficulties
  5. Building trust
  6. One-on-one meetings and morale
  7. Getting together in person

Communication is very important for your remote team members to feel connected, there are many tools out there to keep people connected.

Slack is one of the best team communication apps out there, a lot like WhatsApp or the myriad of tools available. Slack is meant for the enterprise. You have the ability to create multiple channels and have one-on-one conversations with your remote team – but Slack isn’t the answer to true communications — pick-up the phone (VOIP in most cases), and talk to them (Slack support VOIP communications, including video).

Another great tool is Zoom. Zoom is just one of the many video conferencing tools available out there but one which is more reliable and user-friendly to use. When I had remote workers, I found Zoom easy to work with, and with the video conferencing capabilities I could “meet” the remote team without actually being there – so being able to see subtleties that you may not catch with a voice call.

Talk to your remote workers regularly, just because the work is getting done doesn’t mean that they are not facing challenges. Schedule short daily stand-up meetings with them (use video) to see if they are getting the support they need. If your company has weekly or bi-weekly one-on-ones’ ensure you schedule their AND MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MISS THEM! Missing them is like a punch in the gut, you may have a perfectly good reason to reschedule — but they don’t know the dynamics in the office.

Staff meetings? Make sure they attend, just because they are in another city or working from home isn’t an excuse to not attend meetings. Staff and team meetings are important for your remote workers to feel connected to what’s happening in the office.

How do you track work and productivity? Pretty simple; if you’ve got salespeople you should be tracking the number of calls they are making, or appointments that are being made. They should be hitting weekly, and monthly targets.

What about the technical team? There is never a dull moment in any IT department and if you’re creating tickets through tools like JIRA it’s easy to track what your people are doing.

You also need to trust the individual. Not everyone can work remotely, so when you’re hiring make sure you’re bringing someone on that is mature and has the emotional intelligence to work remotely.

Finally, if your company budget allows, bring them to the office at least once per year so they can meet the rest of the team, and form relationships with others in the company. It’s better for you to bring them to the head office than you heading out there.

Location, location, and location. There need to be rules around where they can work and how they are accessing systems. VPNs are a must, and they should be able to work in a quiet area especially if they are spending time on the phone with clients — you don’t want them working out at the local coffee shop. They should have sufficiently fast Internet access at home, and it needs to be reliable. Most businesses are using VOIP, so having a softphone on the computer is also essential so that they can make local or long-distance calls.

Do you have other ideas on how to make your remote workers or those working from home feel like they are part of the team? Share your suggestions in the comments.


How to Shape Your Brain

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In a classic research-based TEDx Talk, Dr. Lara Boyd describes how neuroplasticity gives you the power to shape the brain you want.

Recorded at TEDxVancouver at Rogers Arena on November 14, 2015.

Our knowledge of the brain is evolving at a breathtaking pace, and Dr. Lara Boyd is positioned at the cutting edge of these discoveries. In 2006, she was recruited by the University of British Columbia to become the Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology and Motor Learning. Since that time she has established the Brain Behaviour Lab, recruited and trained over 40 graduate students, published more than 80 papers and been awarded over $5 million in funding. Dr. Boyd’s efforts are leading to the development of novel, and more effective, therapeutics for individuals with brain damage, but they are also shedding light on broader applications. By learning new concepts, taking advantage of opportunities, and participating in new activities, you are physically changing who you are, and opening up a world of endless possibility.

The Woman Who Changed Her Brain

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Barbara Arrowsmith-Young is the Creator and Director of Arrowsmith School and Arrowsmith Program, and the author of the international best-selling book The Woman Who Changed Her Brain ( She holds a B.A.Sc. in Child Studies from the University of Guelph, and a Master’s degree in School Psychology from the University of Toronto (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). Arrowsmith-Young is recognized as the creator of one of the first practical applications of the principles of neuroplasticity to the treatment of learning disorders. Her program is implemented in 54 schools internationally.

Your Brain Creates Your Emotions

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Can you look at someone’s face and know what they’re feeling? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety the same way? What are emotions anyway? For the past 25 years, psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains and analyzed hundreds of physiology studies to understand what emotions really are. She shares the results of her exhaustive research — and explains how we may have more control over our emotions than we think.

Career Reinvention

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I recently took a course through Work It Daily called the 28 Day Reinvention Challenge. It was a real eye opener, while there is some proprietary information within the course it also presented many very good YouTube videos. I will be sharing those videos across several posts over the next few weeks and months.

These are real eye openers, and worth your time.

The first video can be viewed right here.

Why are we getting richer but not happier? Why do lottery winners not have sustained happiness? Why are bronze medalists often happier than silver medalists? “The first step to being happy is to understand why we’re often unhappy,” says economist and entrepreneur Nat Ware. In an entertaining and enlightening talk, Nat shows that we’re bad predictors of happiness, and explains why this is. We make decisions based on actual outcomes, Nat says, but our happiness depends on relative outcomes. We’ve been seduced into a way of life that conspires against our contentment by making it near impossible for reality to live up to our expectations. It is this expectation gap – the gap between our expectations and reality – that Nat argues is a key reason we’re unhappy. Nat challenges us to not relegate happiness to the world of art and the realm of hippies, but to start taking happiness seriously. The answer is not to simply lower our expectations, but rather to change the very way in which we make decisions.

From the YouTube description:

Nat Ware is an economist, entrepreneur, and international development specialist. He is a Rhodes Scholar based at Oxford University, whose research focuses on social impact, poverty alleviation, and the economics of happiness. He is the Founder and CEO of 180 Degrees Consulting, the world’s largest university-based consultancy, with operations in 24 countries and over 4000 consultants worldwide. 180 Degrees has provided over US$50M worth of consulting services to non-profits and social enterprises so they can operate more effectively ( Nat has lectured on innovation, strategy and global business at The University of Sydney, and was awarded the Saïd Prize for Top MBA Student at Oxford. He is a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences and events, and has consulted for many of the world’s largest foundations and non-profit organizations. His other TEDx talk “Free Charities from The Idea of Charity” can be viewed here:

The Most Incredible Article About CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT You’ll Ever Read

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Competition is fierce, whether you are bricks and mortar business or sell your products/services exclusively online. It can get even more competitive if you are selling online through a hybrid model (companies like JYSK, Leons, The Brick and many others) – these are companies that run retail stores and have an online presence. Then there are pure e-commerce merchants, like BuildDirect (home improvement industry), or Article (home furniture and decor).

So how do you set yourself apart from the competition? There are several things you need to do right when it comes to presentation:

  • High-quality product that has gone through a level of quality assurance to ensure it will hold up to day-to-day use,
  • Ability to view the product in detail, perhaps a 360-degree view option (including top and bottom views),
  • Ability to zoom into the product to get a glimpse of the texture,
  • View the product in a mock setting OR using augmented reality to view the product in your own home,
  • Significant social media presence — where their customers, and advocates hang out.

There are many other ways technology can help promote your product, but let us not forget the critical element – customer service.

Merchants offer several ways to reach the consumer:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

These are four of the primary sources since they are very visual — but also interactive. Customers will complain (or praise) through many methods, and brands need to be aware of where the customer hangs out.

Product reviews are also quite important, whether the brand manages their own product reviews or utilizes a service that is independent of them. There are several out there, however one that I come across often is TrustPilot. Others that I have seen are:

  • Yotpo
  • Bazzarvoice
  • PowerReviews

There are quite a few other alternatives out there. A simple Google search for “TrustPilot alternatives” will lead you to quite a few websites that offer more in-depth information on each service.

Providing support via telephone is still vital for many merchants, but not all customers want to use the phone, they want to be able to reach support through e-mail, social networks, and live chat. Of course, every channel includes an additional cost and you want to ensure that the customer care team is trained to handle these channels professionally.

Recently I have seen merchants add WhatsApp as a support option. There is an excellent article on Casengo website 11 Steps To Get Started With WhatsApp For Customer Service if you are considering this as an option.

With all these channels available, you need to be able to tie it all together so if someone complains on inquires about a product on Instagram you can follow that through if they e-mail or phone you about the product. There is also value in engaging with individuals that are inquiring about your product – same as a salesperson would in a physical location.

As I was going through some companies social channels, I noticed one thing – there is very little to no engagement by the brand. By this I mean, they are merely showing their product, and that’s it. They are not telling the story behind the product or talking with the people that are commenting. In other words, they are using platforms like Instagram like a catalog — you know, those things we got in the mail several decades ago. Are they adding value to their brand? In my opinion, no – they are not.

So what is a company to do? How can they engage their audience, so that they stay relevant and get their audience to work for them? Here is one method that I’ll share with you: engage with the social influencers.

I’m going to use a product from JYSK as an example, as I happened upon their website and Instagram and liked what I saw.

The Instagram post has a good number of likes and a few comments. However, the comments are very telling. After doing some research on the commentators, there are a couple of people that commented on the product that stood out and that I would consider great storytellers to help drive engagement and quite possibly sales of this product (and potentially others) and to also drive people to the e-commerce site.

By drafting the individuals – your consumer advocate, you will create buzz as they are sure to tell their Instagram followers (and friends) that they have been offered a free item for their honest feedback. Who doesn’t like free stuff? In turn, that may drive additional traffic to the various social channels and ultimately the e-commerce website.

As I looked at the profile of the users I wanted to see if they are open, or closed. You want to work with people whose profiles are open and public for obvious reasons. I also looked at the types of images they are posting to get a “feel” for them – very scientific, I know, sometimes you need to go with your gut.

I looked at the number of posts, the number of followers and how many are following them. Yes, an influencer can have thousands or tens of thousands of followers, but someone can have a few hundred and still be an advocate. It also helps to look at how engaged the individual is – are their posts getting liked? Are people talking about them?

What you are trying to accomplish is to determine the influencer worth. Here is an excerpt from a question asked on Quora (How many followers do you need to become or to be considered a social media influencer?):

Influencer Worth

  1. Number of followers
    The first way to measure influence is a person’s number of followers, this is the metric you are most interested in. An influencer with 200 followers is likely to have less influence than someone with 100k followers, although that is not always the case.
  2. Engagement
    Engagement can be evaluated a number of different ways. You can use common sense and ask questions like, “Does it seem like people are liking and commenting on this persons’ posts?” An influencer with 100 followers will generate far lower engagement than someone with 100k followers, naturally. If you want to gain more engagement on your twitter profile then buy Twitter retweets on your Tweets.
  3. Reach
    Reach is another important metric to consider. Reach and engagement should be evaluated together; each piece of content has the potential to reach the eyes of active, interested, open-minded consumers. For example, given campaign that reaches 10,000 people may only generate 10 clicks, while one that reaches 500 people might generate the same 10 clicks if it is highly engaging content that lands in front of the right target audience.

Another great article on the topic of influencer worth can be found on the AdWeek website. The article goes onto mention ROI Influencer Media.

Another interesting concept that I came across are micro-influencers. From the IZEA blog post on micro-influencers:

Micro-influencer marketing is the use of what many people would consider “everyday people” or “average Joes or Janes” to promote specific products on social media. Those products can range from a facial cleanser or lotion to clothing, food, or a new service.

One of the reasons why micro-influencer marketing has become an option is that surveys have suggested that people trust advice and recommendations from other people that they know and trust. For example, Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising study found that the most credible form of advertising came from other people.

About 80 percent of respondents to the study said that they trust the opinions or recommendations of family and friends. On top of that, two thirds of respondents said that they trusted the information found in online reviews and opinions.

With that in mind, I would probably trust my friend over at Delirium Tees before trusting someone else. Think about it – how often will you trust the first review you read on Amazon or elsewhere? Chances are before you buy the item you will look at many of the reviews — good and bad before making a decision.

Something that has thrown retailers and advertisers in a loop is the influence that is exerted by millennial’s and now by millennial parents. Yes, millennial parents are a thing.

InComm summaries a study released by the National Retail Federation on their blog on the topic of millennial parents and their digital experience.

From the NRF study it is noted:

“Millennial parents may be demanding consumers with strong views on who they should shop and what brands should deliver. But once you gain their loyalty, they can be your strongest advocates.”

Getting back on track, we’ve identified one or two individuals that could be great advocates for us. The next step is to reach out to those individuals with an offer to provide the item for free for their honest review/feedback and once they agree to the terms , proceed to send out the product to them. Remember your terms can’t be so egregious that they would be not willing to review your product and in fact overly zealous terms could backfire with negative sentiment.

The job isn’t done.

Track the shipment, once it is delivered send a quick note the them: “I see that our package was delivered to your home/office, I hope that it was received in good condition. If you have any questions about this product or any other, please don’t hesitate to reach out…”.

This allows you to continue following the customer through their journey and also allows you to evaluate the shipping company — you better believe that everyone evaluates the delivery, along with how the product is packaged (too much packaging, too little packaging). Quite a few e-tailers include the ability to leave feedback on packaging as part of the customer experience review process.

From the summary that InComm provided:

That last highlight may be the one to prioritize immediately. It shows the opportunity retailers have with Millennial parents. One positive or satisfying experience with your brand or product can produce not just one loyal customer, but several, as Millennial parents remain connected and share their shopping experiences with others via social media.

That makes them the ideal consumer for retailers to pursue; they can be both a consumer of and a recruiter for your store.

As you work with the influencer, stay in touch — not too much that you become intrusive, but enough so that they fulfill their role. Clearly meaningful communication is important.

Customer engagement does not stop at posts to the brands Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest profiles. It takes much more to keep your fans engaged, an investment in your social media team along with a marketing budget where you can give out freebies to get people (and potentially influencers) talking about your products.

Companies mentioned in this post are:









Your Job Search in 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The economy is HOT-HOT-HOT.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate in April was 3.9% following 6 months at 4.1%.

Unemployment is low, jobs are everywhere – but why is it so hard to find a job? Simple reason – the economy is hot so people are looking to move which means that the competition for jobs is significant.

If you are on LinkedIn and use their jobs function to look for work, do a simple search for PROJECT MANAGER for the United States. LinkedIn returned over 131,000 listings. Of those, I took a look at only the top 3 listings shown:

  • Project Manager for Adobe in Boston, MA. Posted May 11, 2018. At 8:50pm PST there were 266 applicants. Of those 38% had Bachelor’s Degrees, 34% have Master’s, 26% have MBA’s.
  • Project Manager for Perficient in Atlanta, GA. The posting is about one-week old. There are 199 applicants.
  • Project Manager for Hays Recruiting in Houston, TX. The posting is about one-week old and has 214 applicants.
  • Project Manager for Amazon in Seattle, WA had 206 applicants and has been online for about two-weeks.

If you are looking to move into a large, well established company – the competition is fierce. Even when I looked at postings from smaller companies or start-ups there are still many applications. For example Home Depot had over 90 applications for a project manager position.

What this means is that you need to stand out. The first step is to get past the ATS (applicant tracking system) with a killer resume that has the right number of keywords so that the ATS doesn’t reject you automatically. Then your cover letter needs to tell a story, not simply restate what is on your resume – you need a disruptive cover letter. Something that an internal HR recruiter will look at and instead of putting it down, will take a second look because it is different from every other cover letter.

If you get past the initial screening and get to the phone screen, and recruiters have told me that they will spend maybe 6-15 seconds per resume then you need to kill it on the phone screen. Get past that then you still need to kill it in the in-person interview.

Today most companies are not satisfied with one interview. Chances are you will speak to multiple people over several weeks before a final decision is made.

Companies are investing tremendous amounts of time in the interview process to ensure that they get someone that is a good culture fit. A bad hiring decision can be disastrous for the company and the morale of the team. According to several articles I read, it can cost anywhere from 24% to 30% of an employee’s first year salary if you need to replace them. This is only the monetary value and doesn’t include the soft costs of lost productivity, decreased morale and having your HR restart the process either internally or use an external agency — which has its own costs (most agencies charge 18% of the salary as their fee and this will increase for more specialized and technical roles).

So companies have to get it right the first time.

As a job search candidate what can you do to ensure you make it past the ATS?


While you need to ensure keywords related to the industry you work in are on your resume, look at the job description for the position you are applying for and look at what they require. I would recommend printing out the posting and using a highlighter identify the keywords that are important to the company.

In the Amazon advertisement, here is what I saw as key to have on the resume:

  • Oversee content creation
  • Comprehensive understanding of online and offline creative development and execution
  • Creating project estimates
  • Product management
  • Coordinate and support designers, producers and production teams
  • Seamlessly manage multiple projects, own schedules, outline (identify) key milestones
  • Thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced environment
  • Implementing processes and interfacing (liaison) with multiple internal teams
  • Excellent project management skills
  • Strategic thinking & problem solving
  • Strong communication skills
  • Self-starter
  • Ability to work independently with cross-functional teams

There is a lot more that I could have picked out, however you get the idea. The job for you will be to weave the keywords into your resume so when you send it through LinkedIn or into Amazon’s ATS your application gets flagged for review. You build your story into the bullet points that tells your experience from previous positions.


The resume templates you see all over Google – crap. Total crap. Everyone is using them and they are heavily formatted using layouts that may not get past an ATS. Your resume needs to be clean, simple and effective.

What seems to be working is your details in the header (leave out your address), include an e-mail address, contact phone number and VERY IMPORTANT – your LinkedIn profile address.

Next section a quick overview of your experience 6 – 8 points like “Process Improvement”, “Agile Project Management”, “Operations Management”, “Strategic Thinking & Planning” — basically some of the keywords (from that Amazon posting, for example) that truly describe you. DO NOT LIE because you will get caught.

In the same area, list the technologies you have worked with and understand for example, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, JIRA, Slack or any other specialized tools.

Next up is your work history.

The format should be


Under each heading tell your story in bullet points. Prove to them you are work $150k or whatever you are asking for.

Finally show any relevant education – college, university. What is important is to show that you are a continuous learner, companies want to know that you want to grow, and will grow.

Cover Letter

The disruptive cover letter is key to securing an interview, your skills are equally as important lets not forget that. Cover letters of old are just restating your resume – nobody will read it. You need to really tell a story in your cover letter.

According to J.T. O’Donnell (LinkedIn) CEO at Work It Daily (visit the site after you’ve read this post and shared it) the disruptive cover letter has four key components:

  • Paragraph 1 – Make the pitch that you are perfect for the role
  • Paragraph 2 – Get them excited
  • Paragraph 3 – Hard hitting highlights
  • Paragraph 4 – Say goodbye while refreshing their memory

Continuing to use the IT Project Manager example:

I am confident my ability to lead million-dollar projects from end-to-end and jumpstart those long-stalled could benefit ABC Company. Thank you for your time and consideration.


There are jobs out there, but you need the right tools and use the right methods and processes to get your foot in the door then WOW them into hiring you.

If you found this information useful, please share it using our share buttons. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. You can find links to my profile on the right, under Social Media. Looking forward to connecting with you!