5 Email Habits That Wreck Your Productivity

Email’s been a part of our lives now for well over a decade, and it is of course a blessing and a curse. We all spend at least a part of our days taming our inboxes.

emailHow much time you spend on the daily task of email, however, is up to you. In this piece by Rieva Lesonsky in SmallBizTrends.com, learn about five ways to keep your email time more productive – and keep it from destroying your productivity. See them here.


Greater IBM, do you have any tips to add for managing your email? What’s your best trick?


Delete This! 7 Tips for Getting Your Inbox to Zero (Yes, Zero)

How Many Emails Are in Your Inbox? What Your Number Says about You

– Posted by Regan Kelly

Some Wise Words for Your Career, Life and Destiny, from IBMer Rebecca Munyuki

Rebecca Munyuki, IBM South Africa

You’re the driver of your life, career, and destiny, says IBM South Africa’s Rebecca Munyuki. And smart, driven women always ask for directions.

Which transmission mode are YOU in today? Read her words of wisdom.



Greater IBM, what would you add to Rebecca’s approach? Share your words of wisdom with your fellow community members!


– Posted by Regan Kelly

Lost in Translation: Best Practices for Working with Global Teams

By Radhika Emens, WITI.com258

As today’s leaders strive to make the best use of technology and communication platforms to conduct business globally, working in global teams is increasingly prevalent. It’s easy to see the upside – as a U.S. team sleeps at night, for example, a global team can be working diligently elsewhere throughout their own normal business hours, maximizing ’round-the-clock productivity. But managing and working with global teams presents many challenges. You must have a strategy that builds:

  • Awareness of cultural and other diversity
  • Understanding and collaboration through team building
  • Communication and listening skills to prevent confusion and conflict

Read the rest here – including the best practices you need to succeed!

Need a Competitive Edge? Get a Mentor: 4 Things to Do

by Meica Hatters, The Labor Academy

We all have childhood heroes. Back when you were a kid it may have been a superhero.

I had a fascination with Wonder Woman. The qualities I admired in her were her stature, strength and virtue. When I look back now, although I didn’t realize then, she was my very first mentor.

Marvel Comics’ Wonder Woman

I wanted to possess the same qualities that she had – In effect, I wanted to be her. Now that I’m all grown up, I no longer desire to be Wonder Woman, but I still seek the guidance of an effective mentor. Although I never had a personal relationship with my comic book heroine – I still gleaned important lessons from her in those comics.

Today however, I realize that I need a more formal relationship with someone to take my career to the next level. And I’m not alone in that way of thinking.

The desire for effective mentoring is higher today than at any other point in our history. Individuals are looking for any edge they can use to succeed in their careers and their lives.

However, the operative word when it comes to mentoring is “effective”. The truth is that many mentor/protegé relationships don’t yield the desired results.

There are many reasons why these relationships fail to garner the expected outcomes. Some of the more common reasons include –

  • Failure to set expectations
  • Inconsistent communication
  • Lack of interest

These (and other issues) can kill a mentoring relationship before it even gets started.

However, there are things you can do to develop a fruitful and long-lasting mentor/protegé relationship –

1. Determine what you need

Determine what your goals are for a mentoring relationship. Decide the top three things you need to get out of the relationship for it be worthwhile. Also decide the type of person you’d want to work with. Is it an expert who can help with a specific problem—such as requesting a raise, enhancing your image, or how to network more effectively? Or maybe you need someone to be a sounding board to discuss general issues with. Determining these things upfront will help you narrow your pool of potential mentors.

2. Look for potential mentors in unexpected places

Instead of just looking mentors in your place of employment, why not first try the professional organizations that you’re a member of.  Professional organizations are rich in individuals that are experienced, committed and looking for ways to give back to their professional communities. Start by asking membership coordinator if your chapter offers formal mentorship programs where you can be paired up with a person interested in mentoring.  If your chapter doesn’t have a group, it might be a good idea to introduce yourself to other members and find someone you click with and ask them if you could contact them if you had questions regarding their area of expertise.

You may also want to try LinkedIn. Using functions such as the Advanced People Search will enable you to find people from your alma mater, or industries or other area interest that you can form relationships with. You can tailor your search to a specific location  so you can connect with someone nearby.

3. Know what to ask for

Don’t overstep the bounds with your mentor. Their job is to provide guidance while you do the actual work. They should only intercede for you in very specific and limited situations.  All that being said – you have to show them how they can best help you. If you have an immediate need, there is nothing wrong with a making request. It’s probably safe to assume that you’re mentor doesn’t know where to start to help you.  Start engaging them by simply asking for advice on one issue.

4. Express gratitude

Mentoring is big responsibility. It requires a commitment of significant time to be really effective. If you’ve done your homework – your mentor is really helping you to advance your career. Reciprocate their efforts by making yourself useful to them. Are there things that you can teach them or help someone close to them. Figure out ways give back to them and your relationship will become more meaningful and fruitful. Remember it’s a two-way street.

In the end, having a mentor to help guide your career is becoming more and more important.  It’s a great way to grow as a professional – because you have someone who can help you develop perspective on challenging situations in and outside the workplace.


Do you have a mentor? What is your experience? Tell us in the comments.

About the author:

Meica Hatters is a contributor for The Labor Academy –Meica Hattersa career development learning community that helps professionals become successful employees and entrepreneurs.

The Key to a Successful Morning? The Day Before

by Jaquelyn Smith

Business man walking out the doorLast week I laid out the 14 things you should do at the start of every work day. I said the first few hours in the office can have a significant effect on your level of productivity over the following eight.
That’s true, but also one key to a successful morning is ending the previous day properly. Here’s how you should be doing that, from Forbes.com.


What would you add to this list? Share it in the Comments.

Best Career Advice: What’s Yours?

I’ve been thinking about Ruth’s message on "Career Maintenance"  for a week. It brought up an experience that influenced my career. I’m imagining many of you have your own tales to tell, too — and I hope you will. Here is my story:

In a lifetime, there are a relatively few people that leave an enduring imprint, shaping your future so dramatically as to be considered for a "medal of honor" for best advice given. My choice is an IBM senior leader that I only personally met with one time. His name was Bookie.

I was a relatively new manager at IBM, just promoted to my first staff assignment in a regional marketing office. For reasons I can’t explain, Bookie called me into his office while I was visiting his location. “I want to pass along a little advice to you,” he offered unsolicited. He then shared his secrets to success:

“Jobs, missions, titles and organizations will come and go. Business is dynamic. It changes. Don’t focus your goals toward any of these. What you need to do is learn to master the skills that will allow you to work anywhere. There are four skills:

1. The ability to develop an idea.
2. The ability to effectively plan its implementation.
3. The ability to execute second-to-none.
4. The ability to achieve superior results time after time.

Seek jobs and opportunities with this in mind. Forget what others do. Work to be known for delivering excellence. It speaks for itself and it opens doors.”

Bookie’s words remain fresh in my mind. They were instrumental in shaping my direction, future and achievements. Over the years, I’ve passed them on to many others. He was right-on! I’ve always wished he knew how he influenced me. I keep wondering if he’ll show up at Greater IBM.

What is the “best-ever advice” someone gave you?

I hope you’ll stop to share yours.


Dk_for_skypesmler_2Debbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection
Founder, President & CEO
Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco