Apr15

Mindfulness: An Age-Old Concept in a Bright, Shiny New World

yoga officeIf you asked others to define mindfulness, you’d likely hear a variety of responses, the most common of which might be relating the term to a Buddhist concept. Mindfulness indeed originated thousands of years ago, and for those who conceptualize it this way, a quote from the well-known author Thich Nhat Hanh illustrates the point well. He said, “Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” Too esoteric? This is far from the only interpretation of the word.

A more practical and relevant definition for business is simply: awareness. We all know full well the challenges in today’s environment, particularly within the rapidly evolving healthcare space. The digital age isn’t coming, it’s here, but all of its obstacles and opportunities are still being pulsed out over time as we answer some questions and then inevitably raise more. As if our own world isn’t changing quickly enough, that of our clients is right there beside it, equaling if not outpacing the transformation we’re experiencing. One of the keys to all of this—to recognizing the hurdles and also to overcoming them—is mindfulness (yes, that 2,000+ year old practice).

Mindfulness facilitates a more complete view of what’s around us. It compels us to consider our immediate and long-term challenges, and the resources we have available to address them. But it also encourages us to put ourselves in the shoes of our clients, to become more connected to (in other words, aware of) their work climate, and that always makes for better, more creative and insightful work.

But it is more than just awareness. Going back to the more obscure definitions, it’s about being supremely present, the result of which is the ability to recognize beauty and connectedness in the world. The more of that we see, the more impassioned we become and the more driven we are to contribute to it—through our work, but also through our hobbies, our families and our friends.

So let’s make a pact to be more mindful and to reap the rewards, personally and professionally. Become more familiar with and aware of your working environment and that of your clients, work after hours at home and even monitor those devices as needed, and you will be a better, more valuable professional for it. But when the job is done, continue to practice that mindfulness by being fully present and invested in whatever you’re doing after work. It helps us all, even those who love every waking second of their job, to unplug and recharge. There are few things that clients love—and need, especially in today’s healthcare landscape—more than an eager and fresh perspective ready to confront their most formidable challenges.

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Apr8

Mad People…and the Cadillacs That Drive Them

thumbnail BRUNEIt was recently brought to our attention that the “American way” is rooted in a belief that hard work in the pursuit of “stuff” is how we do things…and central to what makes us exceptional. In fact, nothing is (apparently) more foreign to us than the thought of being away from work for more than a week at a time. Can we even conceive of taking the entire month of August off? We might agree that it sounds nice, but we have our priorities straight.

Or do we? When evaluating work/life priorities, ask yourself these questions: “How many vacation days have I banked…and how many will I bank this year?” The truth is there are a lot of folks who find it difficult (or completely impossible) to take all their vacation time and, perhaps even worse, to “unplug” and thoroughly enjoy a hard-earned week away from work. The very nature of our business makes it all too easy for us to justify checking in periodically; but doesn’t this come down to personal choice?

The question of “work-life balance” weighs heavy. It haunts us a little, and taunts us more. Not surprisingly, it’s a question that routinely makes an appearance in our Town Hall meetings…what should be surprising is that so many of us have allowed it to actually be a question. None of us deny the importance of “checking out” or “recharging” (which, oddly enough, sounds like work). So why don’t we take our own advice?

Is the answer found in a TV commercial that has proven brilliant in its well-calculated (or serendipitous) controversy? A commercial that has generated so much chatter precisely because it can be interpreted to equally support—or refute—opposing political and social agendas?

The spot raises some interesting points regarding the value of the American work ethic vs the unseemliness of American consumerism. The fact that it provides a strong argument for both sides makes one wonder: is it a spoof? Is it accurate, something to be proud of? Or is it offensive, the epitome of the “ugly American”? Buried in most discussion lies the question: Will it sell? Time will tell, but at least that brings me back to our world of advertising.

There’s little doubt that agency life as depicted in Mad Men has evolved (we seem to smoke less, at least). But there are some lingering traces of that world that we might not feel so good about. One of which is the work-life balance.

Along with agency politics, financial stress and creative differences, the world of Sterling Cooper etc is largely populated with Mad People. People who never seem to “leave” work. They leave the office (eventually), they go home, and they go out (usually with coworkers); but the office is a constant companion.

In Mad Men, we also see Don Draper’s career arc accentuated by (among other things) the car he drives. When the show opened it was an Oldsmobile…within a few years he’s in a Caddy. As consumerism goes, he is living the American dream…and his work-life balance predictably bottoms out to the left.

Of course, life in America has changed considerably since the ’60s, and the concessions in “quality time” that we make are driven by some newer realities. We’re as interested as ever in collecting our toys, but the cost of a college education (as one example) now applies significant additional financial pressure. And, unlike the ’60s, college is more of a mandate than a privilege—keeping up with the Joneses now absolutely includes college. This and other factors have no doubt influenced the decision by many families to take a 2-income approach, which can create scheduling issues that make it even more challenging to strike a thoroughly satisfying balance in life.

Is the answer as simple as being less driven to succeed? Probably not.

Just as the character in the Cadillac commercial advises us, hard work can get you the stuff that proves you work hard. But the point he, Don Draper—and perhaps too many of us—may be missing is that hard work is most valuable when we make the same commitment to take the time, to enjoy time.

The work will be there when you get back. But you’ll be living the American dream, with just a dash of je ne sais quoi.

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Mar18

Coming Home

welcomeback_ImageIs it a better opportunity? What’s the environment and company philosophy? Is there an overall growth plan? How are the benefits? Would it be better for me and my family? What’s the commute like? What happens if I leave? What happens if I stay? What happens if I leave and I’m not happy—could I come back?

I’m sure you’ve thought about some of these questions and many, many more over the lifetime of your career. You may have even acted upon them one or more times. I don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer or the right answer for you. But what I can tell you is that…“I’m Back.”

Now that you know the ending, let me tell you my journey that brought me back.

I had been with Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide over 3 years. I was happy, but in April 2013 I left to explore a new opportunity. There were pros and cons—there always are—but I missed the people and the work. I missed the laughter and the energy and the passion that bounced off those bold red walls.

Once again, questions flooded my mind. What does it look like if I leave my new job after only 7 months? Will I be happy somewhere else? What will that culture be? Should I consider going back to OCHWW?

Seldom do people think about going back to their previous jobs, or boomeranging; but I was fortunate to have this as an option. After all, I had been happy there and I had a few balls in my court. I had:

  • Left on good terms
  • Gained the respect of my colleagues
  • Made a strong impact while I was there

Those factors served me well and I made the call.

Since I’ve been back, the response has been overwhelming. “You’re back.” “Welcome back.” “It’s great to see you.” “It’s great to have you back.” “We love boomerangers!” I’m now part of that group that has returned home. In the past 6 weeks since I’ve returned, I’ve heard about at least half-a-dozen other boomerangers. Who knew I was part of the in-crowd?

My journey has brought me full circle in less than a year. Each and every situation teaches us something—whether you stay, leave, come back—learn and grow from it.

If you find yourself at a crossroads like I did, try these few suggestions to consider if an opportunity is right for you. Whether it’s internal or external—at some point you’ll need to think long and hard about what to do. So:

  • Make a list of the pros and cons (yes, literally write them down)
  • Talk to trusted family, friends, colleagues—we’ve all been there (be selective, but use your trusted network)
  • Look at the entire picture (salary, benefits, commute, culture, other colleagues who may be there)
  • Educate yourself about the overall company, not just a specific division or job

Try not to:

  • Jump or be reactive
  • Leave because of one unfortunate instance
  • Only focus on one piece of the pie

So wherever your journey takes you (or doesn’t), make the decision that is right for you. Explore, think, don’t jump, and maybe talk to those of us who have come back (there seems to be a trend lately). I don’t have all the answers that would be right for you, but I can let you know that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side—it’s just a different length.

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Jan31

How Flexible Are You?

1581156If you work in the creative department in today’s healthcare communications world, you had better be very flexible. Flexible in both mind and spirit.

Gone are the days of working on one piece of business for several years and having a chance to build a strong client relationship that endures for years to come. Welcome to the new world of flexible creativity. Where you have minimal hours in a year to build a brand while trying to build that long-lasting client relationship.

Welcome to the place where you need to shift gears on a week-to-week basis, because many brands nowadays aren’t able to support a fulltime creative person.

Welcome to change. The structure of today’s client brand teams and the type of work we do are very streamlined, with a strong focus on smart, innovative, efficient thinking and execution.

So we must be able to adapt quickly and efficiently to deliver the best work in this new environment. And in many cases we must work across multiple brands with no true base brand to secure us. You might be working in oncology one week, on an OTC the next, or both at the same time.

You need to have a flexible mindset to be able to do this, and the experience in multiple therapeutic categories to back it up.

While it may come across as a head-spinning, anxiety-riddled job, there is a bright side to this. In yesterday’s world many a creative person might have had 3 brands they worked on over the course of their career; they had numerous versions of revised detail aids, ads, iPads or e-details, and their portfolios showed a lack of diversity.

This current flexible creative model allows creatives to explore uncharted territory, learn new categories—at a sometimes rapid rate—but they are gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience across multiple therapeutic areas.

Think of how impressive that will look in your bio and across your portfolio. Think of how exciting it will be to come in and have the opportunity to learn an entirely new space. This is the world today’s creatives live in, and we must embrace it and take advantage of its many positive attributes.

I have personally witnessed many creatives shift gears, enter into uncharted territory, and come out shining, later acknowledging how much they enjoyed the experience and opportunity to work with new faces who have a wealth of experience in these new areas.

So make sure to stretch your body and mind prior to beginning this new activity, because if you are mentally prepared you will truly shine.

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Jan28

What Famous Author Honed His Skills as an Ogilvy Copywriter?

2783008If you guessed Salman Rushdie, you’re right. The great novelist started his writing career as a copywriter at the London agency started by the great copywriter David Ogilvy, Joe Bunting posted at Copyblogger.

While his books have captivated the literary world, his advertising credits at Ogilvy & Mather are not too shabby either. Aero is still using his tagline—“Irresistibubble”—for its aerated chocolate bar. Rushdie also came up with “Naughty..but Nice” for Fresh Cream Cakes and a clever line for the Daily Mirror, “Look into the Mirror tomorrow—you’ll like what you see.”

When he wasn’t writing advertisements, Rushdie spent his off hours writing novels. His first book, Grimus, was published during his seven-year stint at Ogilvy & Mather. His second novel, the 1981 award-winning Midnight’s Children, started Rushdie on his path to international fame.

Here’s what Rushdie learned about writing during his copywriting career:

  • Be disciplined. “I write like a job. I sit down in the morning and I do it. And I don’t miss deadlines.”
  • Spend time writing headlines. For his breakthrough novel, Rushdie spent hours typing “Children of Midnight” and “Midnight’s Children” over and over before choosing the latter.
  • Be concise. “One of the great things about advertising is…you have to try to make a very big statement in very few words or very few images and you haven’t much time. All of this is, I feel, very useful,” Rushdie said at the 2008 IAPI Advertising Effectiveness Award ceremony.
  • Rejection is part of writing; use it as motivation. “One must find themselves an editor or, failing that, a group of people who will tell you the truth about your writing, and are not afraid to say, ‘This isn’t good enough.’ … Unless someone can tell you that what you’re writing is no good, then you won’t know how to push it to a point when it can start being good.”

Rushdie credits the habits he formed as an Ogilvy & Mather copywriter to his continued success as a novelist. “I do feel that a lot of the professional craft of writing is something I learnt from those years in advertising, and I will always be grateful for it.”

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Jan14

Offices Aren’t Just For Working

thumbnailOCHWW colleagues—I think you all would agree that we face a lot of challenges at work: client requests and tight timelines, internal office debates, and the food in the cafeteria. Well, it’s not exactly Dean and DeLuca. Plus, as wonderful as it would be to leave work (physically and mentally) every day at 5:00, that isn’t always the case. We spend most of our waking hours within our cubicles, conference rooms, or offices with coworkers. That’s why I think it’s important to have our workplace be somewhere we’re proud of—and somewhere we look forward to going to.

I’ve personally been a big fan of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide since 2009, when I was a  Communications and PR intern in our New Jersey office. That love grew when I spent two years in the Payer group before deciding to leave my super cool roommates (aka Mom and Dad) and start working for our NY office.

Those of you who work in the NY office, or have had the pleasure of visiting, know that it’s a completely different atmosphere from NJ. Here’s one small example: our cube walls are super low (read: nonexistent) which means you’re basically in everyone’s business all the time. (I wonder how many times a day I apologize to my poor neighbors for being loud and/or obnoxious….) Because of this open floor plan, it’s easy to get to know people—really well. I know when my coworkers are busy, frustrated, upset, or happy—and usually their moods affect mine. That’s one of the reasons I was concerned for the state of our employees’ mental health when the head of our NY morale committee was leaving Ogilvy. What was going to happen to our Friday festivities!? I leapt at the chance to work with the Mod Squad to ensure our morale would remain high.

It’s been a great joy for us to bring back “beer cart Fridays,” while also trying to start new fun events. We had a fantastic time with our Halloween Decorating contest, where employees could be found hanging cobwebs from the ceiling, taking grotesque self portraits, and watching the cool feature film developed by the creative department! This Christmas we had another decorating contest, where each team was given one box of items including playing cards, twine, and toilet paper, with which to decorate their rows. We had fantastic results, from “scratch-n-sniff” snowman noses out of mac-n-cheese to a tinfoil skating rink. Although brutally competitive, these two events have been some of the most fun weeks I’ve had in the office. My mind was blown away by everyone’s creativity, commitment, and fun spirit.

It’s so important for us to have fun together whenever possible—that’s why the Mod Squad dedicates their time to these events. Plus, advertising isn’t just about the work we are doing for our clients. It’s about what we do for ourselves. Don’t we want to brand ourselves as a company who enjoys spending time with each other, whether it’s working in a conference room, pushing a beer cart, or hanging toilet paper from the ceiling?

So, when making your resolutions for 2014, I ask that one of your resolutions be to help make our offices even more fun places to work! I’m happy to hear any and all ideas you may have. I promise you won’t regret it.

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Jan10

Flexing Our Creative Muscles

flexing our muscles thumbnailIt takes lots of hard work and dedication to achieve your goals for a healthier lifestyle. It focuses on nutrition, physical activity and resiliency, and is individualized to your specific needs. Running the Ogilvy CommonHealth Imaging department is comparable to this in many ways, as I apply the same approach in servicing all Art and Creative Directors. Expectations are high, utilizing our confidence, capabilities and talent to deliver.

It Starts With Healthy Living
Just as in planning my daily and weekly workout routine, the Imaging team prepares by being mentally and physically fresh. It’s important to keep up with the latest technology and current software and hardware upgrades. Every day is a learning experience, especially in the CGI environment.
Wellness in the Imaging Department
The team keeps in top shape by utilizing powerful 3D graphics and software. This has allowed us to take our imaging capabilities to the highest levels conceptually and to produce final printed or digital art.
Increased Strength and Endurance
Creating and conceptualizing art for new brands and new business pitches requires an extreme amount of strength and endurance. We take creative teams’ and individuals’ ideas to a whole new level, allowing them to achieve their visions and ideas, and bringing them alive through the Imaging team’s strength, expertise and resources.
Preparation and Mental Toughness
It takes extreme preparation and execution from our digital artists to create that perfect and unique piece of art. Understanding the “why” is more important than the “how.” In order to create a realistic 3D image, it requires an understanding of why an object looks a certain way in the real world or in specific environments.
Connect With Us
We have evolved traditional retouching into a combination of digital imaging, 3D modeling, animation and motion graphics, to create dynamic, compelling still and motion images. Our strength is in our passion to move ahead and be the best in our industry. Other agencies can’t keep up with the healthy lifestyle of the Ogilvy CommonHealth Imaging team and that’s why we’re flexing our creative muscle.

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Dec19

Unleash Your Passions

thumbnailAs the year comes to another busy end we find ourselves working long hours to ensure we meet the needs of our clients, but look forward to the hope and promise of a new year. The New Year is the time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. As we think about those resolutions, let’s take a moment to reflect on the corporate culture of Ogilvy & Mather as laid down by David Ogilvy.

“Some of our people spend their entire working lives in Ogilvy & Mather. We try to make it a stimulating and happy experience. We put this first, believing that superior service to our clients depends on the high morale of our men and women.”

Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide is an organization filled with hardworking, creative and smart individuals. In fact, we often find ourselves defined by what our job roles are; account managers, copywriters, art directors, finance directors, medical directors, and more. But we are so much more than a job description. Underneath it all, we are all individuals with personal goals, passions, with a desire to better ourselves and the world around us. We are all poised for greatness. This greatness lies within us—deep within, we are painters, poets, caregivers, entrepreneurs, mentors, performers, advocates, athletes, and so much more.

Often the demands of our day job and life in general get in the way of achieving our personal goals, or passion projects, as I like to call them. But, especially in a creative business like advertising, we have to ensure that the pressures of the daily grind are not counterproductive to our creative spirit, the lifeline of our work. As such, we really need to make the time to pursue our passion projects. Our personal passion projects can provide a much-needed creative outlet and an escape from the demands of the day. Ultimately, making the time for our side projects will allow us to unwind, gather perspective and experience, and center ourselves.

But aside from the personal satisfaction that can be gained, passion projects loop back into work life, fueling professional inspiration. It is no secret that high performance and job satisfaction are tightly linked with the need to gain control of our personal and professional lives, to learn and create new things, and to be better at what we do. Driven by personal fulfillment, those who pursue passion projects are highly engaged and will work more efficiently and effectively.

So as we reflect back on the past year and resolve to make changes for 2014, let’s think about those side projects we are passionate about. It’s time to let those passion projects brewing beneath the surface grow into valuable opportunities both personally and professionally. If you give them a chance, you’ll get the pleasure of working with highly motivated people who are happy at their jobs. In the new year, I resolve to pursue my hobby of painting more vigorously… What will you do? Consider acting on your passion project as part of your New Year’s resolution.

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Dec10

Asia and the Art of Pervasive Perseverance

singapore thumbnailIn less than two months, a religious festival takes place that is so fantastically crowded and celebratory that it seems unreal. Officially listed as the largest human gathering in the world, the northern Indian city of Allahabad at the confluence of the Yamuna, Ganges and Saraswati rivers will witness as many as 100 million people participating in an ancient Hindu festival known as the Kumbh Mela. The pilgrimage, which dates back millennia, attracts a staggering 10 million people in a single day, who congregate by the Ganges’ banks to ritually bathe in its sacred waters.

The Atlantic’s Quartz website places this event in an easier-to-understand global perspective: “Imagine the entire population of Shanghai—about 23 million—camping on a 4×8 kilometre field. Add to that mass of humanity every last man, woman and child in New York City and you’re getting closer to the Kumbh’s expected attendance.”

Some 3,000 miles away at nearly the same time, the world will also witness the biggest annual human migration, known as Chun Yun (or Spring Festival Migration). Some 700 million Chinese, or roughly half the country’s population, are expected to make 2.85 billion passenger trips during the 40-day period to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families.

What is it that drives hundreds of millions of people, an ocean of humanity, voluntarily through unimaginable hardships—sickness, disease, loss of life even—every year? On one side, the biggest “act of faith,” while on the other the biggest need to just “be back home.”

These two events define for me the spirit and tenacity that is Asia—the need for inspiration, the need to define oneself in a community, affecting in turn the way lives and health are managed.

A recent new study revealed that the average Singaporean has a particularly high desire for inspiration, albeit on a more material scale. Indeed, 69% of Singaporeans want to be inspired when they shop/read/surf, compared to only 49% of Europeans and 51% of Americans—but then the “kiasu” Singaporean culture is what keeps it so vibrant.

In a separate study, in Tier One China cities, when comparing the cost of a critical vaccine against pneumococcal infection vs a new iPhone 5C, it’s no surprise that Jobs’ inspirational device won hands down. The seemingly everyday contradictions with which Asia works start to become a way of life for us who call this part of the planet home. It doesn’t seem unusual, just the way it’s meant to be, really…

How, then, do we apply the norms of behavioural-change communication in an environment as diverse and fragmented as Asia Pacific? Where religion, environments, languages—along with budgets and regulations—are both simultaneous drivers and barriers, be that to an oncologist in the Philippines or a midwife in Indonesia, a GP in Beijing or a regulatory official in Sydney.

Asia forces you to innovate, to find a new way, to uncover an insight that is universal in application and precise in its expression. In a way, Asia offers us a sort of social petri dish in which we can incubate ideas/tactics/strategies in ways not thought of before. Big ideas with small budgets, with the ability to change or save the lives of millions…now isn’t that a challenge worth waking up to?

The formal launch of Ogilvy CommonHealth Asia Pacific in a way is representative of everything we see, hear, feel and smell in this region. From many brands operating as one; from 6 different countries working in unison; from Med Ed & PR to Branding & Creativity. We’re looking ahead to 2014 with hope, promise and most importantly the chance to help define Asian health communications in ways not thought of before.

Join us in this journey, as we rediscover Asia Pacific through the lens of health behaviour change. Reach out and offer your thinking, your ideas. Tell us whenever you’re making a visit: you have a place to call home across the region—India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney. The closer we become, the sooner we’ll realise just how small the world really is. Even the taste of Balut or Durian won’t seem so bad (well, maybe those are two things that just cannot make sense any which way you look at it).

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Nov7

Young Execs Within the Marketing World… Shaping Ourselves to be the Future Leaders of Tomorrow

business lady climbing stairsTIPS AND TRICKS ON HOW TO COPE WHILE LEARNING THE ROPES

Like any new beginning, stepping into a new job as a young professional can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s into a new career in the fast-paced marketing industry.  This is Part 2 of the 8 fundamental steps that I used to help conquer my own scary start…

(Part 2 of 2)

SINK OR SWIM? WHAT TO DO WHEN SUBMERGED IN A TANK OF FASTER SWIMMING FISH

TIP #3: BE PATIENT, YET PROACTIVE—You will only climb the rungs of the corporate ladder as high as you can raise your hand. Don’t be scared to ask questions. Although in this case, fear is the right feeling. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed with the thought of the unknown, especially when first starting out in a new career. The lesson here is to overcome this fear with frequent questioning.

In the beginning, fear will help propel your ability to ask the right questions, demonstrate your wheels are turning behind those blank stares at the conference table and your willingness to not be satisfied with silence. Display the urge to dig deeper into the thought process and even volunteer yourself to try something new.

By volunteering for new tasks that are beyond your regular 9 am–5 pm duties, you’re creating for yourself an opportunity to expand your skills. Offer your time and extra pair of hands to pitch in and get dirty. Find out how you can contribute more to the greater team. You’d be surprised how much you’ll learn when you take the chance to dive in.

Scared to dive in without your swimmies? Just remember, “An expert at anything was once a beginner.”

I THOUGHT YOGA WAS FOR GURUS

TIP #4: FIND YOUR “GO-TO GURUS”—These aren’t just the various experts of the biz (of course you need these too!), these go-to’s are your mentors, your sounding boards, your 5-minute coffee break pals who help you refocus your energy and stay positive so you can finish your day strong.

Speaking of mentors…

TIP #5: FIND A MENTOR AND STICK TO HIM/HER LIKE GLUE—Keep your eyes and ears open while around your mentor, and you’d be surprised how quickly you can pick up the catchphrases of the industry and get the lay of the land around the office.

The best part (although maybe not the favorite for most) of working in an open-cubicle environment is the full exposure you have to everyone around you. This is the easiest way to observe different operational styles. Like any good fashion designer, you observe the trends around you; see what works and what just wouldn’t look good if you tried it on for yourself.

Different People = Different Experiences, which allows you to pick and choose what traits you’d like to adopt and morph into your own as a young professional, thus developing your own unique employee “style.”

Remember when shopping for the good in people: Take the best, leave the rest!

GOING UP?

TIP #6: ELEVATORS CAN BE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS A GOOD RESUME—Spurring a small conversation on the way up to the 4th-floor lobby may be the best way to help you get to know your coworkers, and them to know you. Just by engaging in pleasant chatter, you quickly learn who does what and what areas they can assist with. Although it appears effortless at the time, this task may just be the thing that ends up getting you the answers you need in a pinch later on.

At the very least say hello—it’s just plain polite!

BATTER UP!

TIP #7: GET INVOLVED—Here’s my shameless plug… There’s always room for newbies on the corporate softball team! And what better way to meet people from all areas of the company than with a piece of Big League Chew and friendly camaraderie over the umpire’s last questionable call?

Getting to know your “team” outside of the office can help strengthen your understanding of how they operate best when in the office. It’s not just about building a bond on the field (although, always a plus), it also allows you to observe your teammates’ true personalities and preferences. Once you’re aware of how a member functions at his/her highest level, it provides the answer to the age-old question of how to successfully perform as a team where it matters the most—with your clients.

EASY AS PIE

Last but certainly not least, before considering a path forward to your tomorrow, I urge you to follow TIP #8: EXPLORE ALL CORNERS OF THE EARTH (or in this case, corporation)—In order to operate as a true team player, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of your company first. Use your x-ray goggles to really gain a fundamental understanding of all departments, their specific roles and how they fit into the overall “corporate pie.”

After all, how is a team supposed to win a game with players who don’t even know each other’s names or positions on the field? (It’s tough!)

The good news is unlike on the softball field, with a well integrated business team, it is possible at the end of the day to have more than one winner: You, Your Team and Your Employer. I’m a firm believer of the saying: “Individual talent can win games, but TEAMWORK wins championships.”

In closing, do the legwork! Use these steps to set yourself up for success and leap with confidence. Look to your teammates and mentors for help along the way to reach new heights and refine your goals, but don’t sit back and let others pave the way for you.

Remember, this is YOUR future; Pack your own parachute!

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