Tuesday, 30 August 2016

HOW I STARTED WEARING THE HELL I WANT TO WORK AND STOPPED BUYING 'ESSENTIALS THAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE'


HOW I STARTED WEARING THE HELL I WANT TO WORK AND STOPPED BUYING 'ESSENTIALS THAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE'  from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk

Recently (since I started blogging again after a year of doing very interesting things) I've been stumbling upon articles about what you should have in your wardrobe, what essentials to get... But nothing really says ME, no matter how much I want it to. I kinda think the problem is, that I want something different that everyone else has, but at the same time I kinda want it to be exactly the same. Wait, it really make sense if you give me a second.


What I mean is, that I would like to own things that would look on me like as they look like on those Instagram photos I'm addicted to browsing. Simple, effortless, amazing... and here I am, trying to get into a pair of pants that magically shrunk overnight (they were perfectly fine when I wore them yesterday!). My clothes crinkle, fade, get dirty on my way to work, you know, all the things that actually happen to clothes in real life. The Instagram reality is tempting, but also super disappointing when you find out it's not reachable.


That's why I do not longer believe in lists of everything a girl should have in her wardrobe and things like that. It's ok for some people, but I just refuse. I can't be bothered to do make up most of the time (but I am crazy about creams, masks and making my skin healthier), I do not own an iron (and all of my clothes are bought because they do well without one), I wear things I want to wear, not things that I should wear because they are 'business casual' or whatever (like that actually means something).


I used to do business casual when I worked corporate. Really liked it even. Delicate tops, super cute trousers, matching jewellery, all that jazz. I had the weirdest reality check when I was asked to go to the HR office for a chat one day. Our HR lady was mean, fake, she hated everyone and couldn't care less about her job. Not someone you really want to have a chat with. I was super surprised that she wants to see me, but ok, why not, let's do it. When I got there she told me that 'people are talking' (wait, what people?) and 'people can see my bra under the tops that I am wearing' (wait...what people are looking at my bra again?) and that I have to wear different clothes from now on. Awesome.


That was the most awkward thing ever.


But ok, fair enough, maybe I didn't notice something, maybe it was too much, there was a lot of maybes. I went shopping for more coverage and decded to look for  different favourite store. Because you never know. Life happens.


A few days later when I walked into the office we had a meetng. A lovely short meeting where my HR lady was wearing the exact same top I was wearing last time. The 'People Can See Your Bra' Top. The top that I just bought and had to stash at the bottom of my wardrobe because it wasn't suitable for the office. Joy, oh joy, the HR lady was shopping at my favourite store. And apparently she banned me from wearing clothes that she wanted to buy fo herself. I was seriously not amused.


So I decided not to give a fuck and I started wearing more and more of whatever I wanted. Because after the we can see your bra affair (I am totally going to call it that, it was stupid as hell) I couldn't care less. I transitioned into wearing leggings to work - best decision ever and you can actually get super cute ones if you look online. Then came loose chiffon tops and I started loving comfort instead of fake corporate style. I ditched make up sometime along the way and I gained extra time in the morning to exercise. On the plus side: I don't have to ever hand wash anything ever again. I kinda buy whatever is easy to wear. I don't need to think if my outfit is perfect enough for everyone - it's ok for me, so it will do well. I kinda love it. Life is good.


And next time that someone will tell me that something I'm wearing is problematic I will tell them not to look at me. Because seriously.


I really wish that no matter what you wear, you will feel that it's good enough for you. And that is all that matters!


Have fun!


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

HOW TO LEARN THINGS THE PROPER WAY - TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE LEARNING

How to learn things the proper way - tips for effective learning from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk Will Work For Coffee Blog


I don't know about you, but I love learning new things, figuring out how to do or not do stuff and slowly getting better as I go. Learning rocks!

But have you ever wondered how to learn things the proper way? 

It's actually quite easy to get the best of your time and effort while getting all the new information in your head. All you need to do is following this super handy list:


Tips for effective learning from http://will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk/ Will Work For Coffee Blog1. BEFORE YOU EVEN START ANYTHING MAKE SURE THAT YOU WILL NOT BE INTERRUPTED.

That goes both for interruptions from the inside and the outside. Inside is pretty straight forward - do not shoot your own foot, stop sabotaging yourself... In other words, find some quiet space, relax, don't let any excuses take over (no, you are not hungry, your house doesn't need cleaning right this very moment and the cat videos on the internet can wait) and get your brain in I Can Do It! mode. Outside is even easier to sort out - for your study space choose a location that should be nice and quiet by default, get your phone away from you (or put it on silent, but no peeking and checking social media every 5 seconds) a, if possible, put a 'Do not disturb' note on the door. It will help.

Tips for effective learning from http://will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk/ Will Work For Coffee Blog
2. FOCUS, BUT TAKE IT SLOW

Do you have to study a whole 20 chapters of a super boring book? Is the online course that you are taking 50 hours long? Find a way to make the workload smaller and manageable. Divide it into smaller pieces and go for it - it's way easier to tell yourself to read one paragraph at a time, watch tutorial video while enjoying a cup of coffee or take notes as you go, than try and tackle all of the available material in one go. Remember that you don't have to do everything right now, you just have to finish it eventually. Constantly reminding yourself about a deadline will not help you at all and will probably make you dislike whatever you are learning about. Chill out, slow down and enjoy it.

Tips for effective learning from http://will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk/ Will Work For Coffee Blog3. (THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT OF THEM ALL) TAKE NOTES, SCRIBBLE, ARGUE, THINK ABOUT IT - MAKE IT INTERESTING

There is a huge difference between skim reading an article or binge watching video tutorials and actually interacting with the information that are out there. Sure, no matter what and how you do it, you will learn something, but you can greatly improve your understanding of any topic just by engaging in it more. Try writing some notes as you go, try and come up with real life situation where you will be able to apply this new knowledge, think about a way to improve what your instructor is talking about. By making it more interesting for yourself, you are actually getting more from it, so get out there and figure out what will make it fun for you. Then learn like there is no tomorrow!

Have fun!

Friday, 4 September 2015

3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VOLUNTEER (AND HOW IT CAN SAVE YOUR CAREER)

3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VOLUNTEER (AND HOW IT CAN SAVE YOUR CAREER) from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk

You can't imagine how many people told me in the past 10 years that volunteering sucks and it's completely pointless. I consequently ignored all those 'wise' suggestions, volunteered for many different charities and organizations and guess what...it gave me skills, experience, better job prospects and leverage when negotiating my salary and benefits. As far as I know all those people who were not happy about supporting a cause still have boring office jobs that they hate. And me? I have my own company, I consult and work part time as a shop manager and I love it!

When I first got an idea to work for a charity it was purely because I wanted to get some work experience. I studied Fashion Design and at that point I was pretty sure that I will end up somewhere in the retail sector. One Saturday I went up my High Street and asked out in several charity shops if they need a window dresser/visual merchandiser (I really set my mind on this role). Some of the managers were fussy: maybe come back later/we have too many people now/we don't need anyone/you don't look good enough to work here (which only told me that I don't want to work there – who would like to work with mean, stuck up people anyway?), but one was absolutely lovely. She told me everything about the shop, how the charity works, what they do here and what kind of people they have in the shop. I stayed with them for almost 2 years and loved every moment and the role I had with them opened doors to almost every job I had so far.

How does it all work then? How can you make volunteering work for you?

1. CHOOSE WHERE YOU VOLUNTEER.

Not every charity is the same and not every charity is great. There are some shady ones, but most of them are legit, solid and actually contributing to the cause. Your role is to find an organization that you like and that helps the cause you would like to support. It's important to have both of those – if you like only how the organization looks in the media, but you couldn't care less about what they actually do it will not work out that well. Give it all a thought, because the opinion about the charity you support will stick with you (if you want it or not). Also, take a look at the people at the site you are considering volunteering for. Would you like to work with them? Are they happy? Do they seem nice? It is your choice, so choose to work with someone that company you will enjoy (unhappy, stressed volunteers are a clear sign that you don't want anything to do with a place like that).

2. THINK ABOUT THE ROLE THAT YOU WANT

Do you have an idea on what kind of work would you like to do in the future? Try and align your volunteer role with that. You would like to work in retail? Go and ask for a cashier opportunity. Are you considering social media career? Try and get a role that will maintain charity's Facebook and Instagram account. In most cases you just need a clear idea on what kind of experience would you like to get, what role can give you that and then you can ask if it's available. If not – try another charity, someone will have an opening for you. Also, some charities offer training for their volunteers, so find out if that's available (having certain skills and a certificate or references that confirm those is great, always, no matter how much work experience do you have).


3. LEARN FROM OTHERS

People end up volunteering because of many reasons – one of the most popular ones at the moment is to get away from corporate life. Switch off your 'volunteering is for old people' thoughts, because most of the volunteers that you meet will be highly experienced professionals that choose to give their time for free, because they are tired with stressful business life. Ask around, get to know them and figure out if there is anything that they can teach you. If you are nice, they should be happy to help. Especially if you know what interests you and if you have specific questions that need answering.

...and how will that help your career exactly?

You will get experience that is unusual. Being a volunteer you will have an opportunity to try many different things and some of them may be normally way beyond your reach. When I volunteered with one of the education focused charities, I somehow ended up managing a team of 10 and organizing company wide events. I was around 25 then and having this on my CV boosted my career prospects sky high.

You will meet people. Everyone that volunteers with you has a potential to teach you something or knows someone who can. Make friends, go out there and meet people and you will be surprised how many opportunities you will find along the way.

You will get work experience that can be verified. Treat your volunteering as a part time job. Be there on time, call your manager if you fell sick – and when the time comes that you need references for your next job you will have the best ones possible.

You will have an option to work with the charity. Sometimes you don't even think about that, but at some point you will absolutely have an option to apply for a paid position with the organization that you volunteer with. They always give preference to people that worked with them before, so this may just turn out to be your future career.

It shows that you care about something. More and more companies are interested in your values and things that you believe in. If you choose your volunteer role carefully it may give you a better chance at getting your dream job – just make sure that values of both organizations are roughly the same. 

Have fun!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

HOW TO MAKE A KILLER PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (THAT WILL TAKE YOU EXACTLY WHERE YOU WANT TO BE) - FREE WORKSHEE

How to make a killer personal development plan - Free Personal Development Plan worksheet from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk Will Work For Coffee Blog


Where would you like to be in 5 or 10 years? Do you have a plan?

This post is for anyone that would like to stop daydreaming about how they will push their career forward, get fit and get that certification they need and start planning how they will make things actually happen. Don't worry – it's easier than you think, you just need a Personal Development Plan.

What is that thing? PDP is a super handy tool for setting your goals, listing step by step how you can make it real and helping you to keep track of everything. It works for both long and short term goals, so you can put some easy things along with the big, hard-to-achieve ones (and having a mix of those will make you more motivated, as you cross off everything that you already completed every now and then).

What you need is one simple worksheet, tea and 30 - 40 minutes to complete it:

Free Personal Development Plan worksheet from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk

Start from the beginning. What would you like your life to be in a year? What kind of job would you like? How would you like to feel? What kind of changes would you like to make? When you have a somewhat clear vision of where would you like your life to go, try and think about what needs to be done to make it happen and strip it down to specific goals.

Do you need to find a new job, get some new qualification or start a freelance project? What is it that you would like to achieve?

Always write down why is it that you want to do something – if you have a reason and you remind yourself of it from time to time, your motivation will last way longer.

Also, set a clear deadline on finishing every single one of your goals. It's only for you and you should use it for reference – will you manage to complete everything in time?

Everything that you want to do can be broken into smaller pieces. So you want to change a job? You have to prepare a CV, find a job that you like, send out applications, interview. You would like to get a yoga instructor certificate? You need to find a course that will give you qualifications, attend, pass the exam. Put everything into tiny, achievable pieces that you can cross off as you complete them - easy as that!

You always need to know what exactly is it that you want. Do you just want to move to a different city, or do you want to find a new studio flat on a specific street? What outcome is good enough to be considered a success for you?

If there are any things that you need to make sure to send/check/hand in before a certain date – put them on the list whenever you find out about them (with a date when you will do it next to whatever it may be). This is simply to make sure that you are on top of everything.

If there are some things that are not so clear in your head (yet...) write them down in the four squares at the bottom. This space is for ideas that will develop as you go. Remember that your Personal Development Plan will change with time and will need to be updated – maybe things from the bottom part will reach the top? Maybe they are just your next goals that are slowly growing on you?

You can find a full .pdf version of this Personal Development Plan worksheet on Tiny Upload my SlideShare.

Have fun!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

OFFICE SURVIVAL ACADEMY: HOW TO GET BACK TO THE OFFICE AND GET THINGS UNDER CONTROL AFTER TAKING SOME TIME OFF

It's that time of the year again! Getting your days off (and I do hope that you do – not using your vacation days is like telling your manager that you are paid way too much and would love some surprise unpaid overtime), so you finally can sleep in, read that book sitting on your table for ages and go to the wilderness/beach/most amazing city in the world for two care-free, adventure-heavy weeks.

But, as awesome as all that is, you have to come back to the office at some point. Awwww... Do I really have to? I know that pain, so let me make it a bit easier for you with some tips I gathered and tested out for you:

Before leaving

1. LEAVE ALL YOUR PROJECTS FINISHED, EMAILS READ AND REPORTS HANDED IN AND YOUR OUT OF OFFICE MESSAGE ON

Work like crazy if you have to, but don't leave any unfinished business that will blow up in your face when you come back from your perfect vacation. It's easier to tune in when you have new projects coming in just in time when you are back in the office. Any overdue work will just make you feel tired, overwhelmed and stressed and that is just not a good start for anyone.

2. DELEGATE

Try and find someone that can fill in for you in case of emergency. Be nice and don't leave them with any actual work that needs a lot of time and resources on a daily basis (because that is just mean, they will probably not do it anyway and you can get in trouble for trying to be sneaky), but prepare and send them an email listing things that you worked on and when to find all the information on those if needed. Leaving your email and computer password with your manager is also a great idea (and it will save you calls and texts if anyone needs urgent access to your laptop).

3.MAKE A TO-DO LIST (AND EMAIL IT TO YOURSELF)

If there is anything that you can't possibly complete before you leave, make a list of everything that you need to do when you get back (with details such as who you should email/call, adresses where you need to send things, websites that you need to update). Don't pretend that you will remember everything (because let's face it, there is no way that you will or even will want to). With that list you will have a head start and you will be able to make sure that everything goes as planned – stress free.

4. CLEAN YOUR DESK

It's just nicer to come back to an uncluttered, fresh space rather than to a chaotic mess. You will probably forget where you left that super important post-it with the phone number of that guy that was meant to do the thing, so make sure that you organize everything on and in your desk before you leave and that you get rid of everything you don' need anymore. For the sake of your future self.

While on vacation

5. SEND A POSTCARD TO THE OFFICE (AND LEAVE YOUR PHONE OFF, DON'T CHECK EMAILS AND TEXTS EVERY 5 SECONDS)

Why send a postcard? Because it's a nice thing to do, it brings a five minute chill to the office and it gets people a conversation point when you get back. You will have an easier time to relax at work if you still have memories of everything great that just happened to you at the back of your head and a postcard to prove it on the wall. Also, seriously, it's called vacation for a reason - leave your phone off or on mute. Lives are not at stake here and your boss can live without that report for the next few days.

When you get back to the office

6. LEAVE YOUR OUT OF OFFICE MESSAGE ON IN THE MORNING

Everyone knows that you are in, but leaving your out of office tune out there for a little bit you will get some breathing space and you will be able to deal with the most pressing things. Use the extra time to go through your emails. Do it first thing in the morning, so you catch up on everything that happened when you were off. If you sort the emails by person, you will have an option to read all of the messages and you won't respond to something that was resolved a couple of days ago. With every email that you read do one of 4 things straight away: delete, do nothing, respond immediately, flag so you can do it later (do not overuse this option, it's only for big things that will really take more than 20 – 30 minutes of your time). You will feel much better with an empty inbox, knowing what is going on around you.

7. LEAVE THE OFFICE ON TIME

As tempting as it may seem, staying late on your first day back will probably crush your holiday vibe and make you feel drained. Leave on time even if that means completing your work tomorrow. Give yourself some credit and relax. You just came back after a long absence and it is perfectly normal that you have a lot of things to do.

8. BOOK YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY AND ARRANGE SOME SIMPLE PLEASURES

Give in and book your next time off. Why? Because it will make you feel better, you will have something to look forward to and it will give you a boost of motivation during your first week back. Get your favorite tea and cookies and stash them in your desk, go to the cinema, find some way to enjoy your time back!

Have fun and remember - you can do it!

Friday, 21 August 2015

WHY DO YOU WORK WHERE YOU WORK?

Have you ever thought about that? I don't mean why do you work in general – that's easy, everyone works either for money, cause or pleasure (yes, there are people like that, they just scored amazing jobs that they absolutely love, lucky bastards).

What I really want to know is: Why did you end up in this particular company on this very position? Not how (that is also easy, you applied or was headhunted and you had a super successful job interview, congrats by the way), but why.

Did you accept this job because you liked what the recruiter told you about the company, because the salary and benefits were great, because that was the only offer you had at a time? 

During my career coaching years, I asked those questions hundreds of times to different people from mix of industries. Most of them ended up in the job because they wanted to get more money, a promotion or a new title. Also, most of them still worked their jobs after long years because it was easy.

Waking up, getting dressed, driving to work routine is comfy, it is safe. Every day flows in a similar way and then you get to go home and get paid by the end of the month. Simple bliss.

If you had a chance to work anywhere else – would you go for it? 

Not just anywhere else. In a place that would challenge you. Make you learn new things. Where you would be respected for the work that you put in the company. Demanding, exciting, scary as hell place.

Don't get me wrong though - having a nice 9 to 5 job can be amazing at times...but do you wake up, get dressed and go to work because you REALLY, REALLY WANT TO? Because if that is not the case, I can tell you right now, that sooner or later you will wake up with a pressing need of a change in your life.

But on the other hand – if you know exactly why do you work somewhere, love it, enjoy your days at the office – that is amazing! Keep it up! And tell me how did you find that job and what makes it special for you. Those stories are the best ones and you should share the magic. Maybe someone else will be able to do get a deep breath, summon some courage and get into career that is good not only because it's easy, but because it rocks!

Do you know exactly why do you work for your company? What is amazing about it? What makes you happy when you are in the office? Share and tell me in the comments!

And by the way, I decided to go more social, so you can follow my blog on Bloglovin

Have fun!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

YOU ARE SKILLED (AND DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU ANYTHIG DIFFERENT) - FREE WORKSHEET!

What are you good at? What kind of things can you do?

If I asked you that now – would you know what to answer? Go! Tell me 3 things that you are great at! Don't think that I expect a certain answer, don't try to make it complicated, just tell me what kind of things can you do (because you do them every day at work or because it's your hobby). Could you do the same with 10 things or more?

Now...Could you tell me how did you learn how to do those things? When was the last time that you really used those skills?

If you have any problems with the exercise above, take a look at this worksheet that I prepared for you:


Find Your Skills - free worksheet from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk Super handy for self development and job hunting.

This table is for everyone that:

1. Would like to get a better idea on what kind of practical skills they have.

2. Has a job interview soon.

It is designed to give you something to think about (What kind of situations show different skills that I have? What else can I do that I don't really notice every day?) and to give you a head start at any job interview that will focus on your previous experiences (What did I do before that required me to be organized?).

You can either print the table as it is on the blog, or download the .pdf version from Tiny Upload or my SlideShare.

Have fun!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

QUESTION THAT RECRUITERS SHOULD NEVE ASK (BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT THEY DON'T REALLY CARE)

There is this one interview question that I really hate. It's pointless, it's weird and it makes people lie (or worse – tell complete nonsense to a recruiter). Do you know which question is it?

Yes, spot on, this question is: What is your greatest weakness?

I could never quite understand why asking about your weaknesses during a job interview got so popular in the first place. You can't be honest (because if you say that you are lazy no one is going to hire you), you can't be too creative (because anything that actually is a bit odd or plain weird will make recruiter reconsider your candidature), you can't say what you really think (because not being able to swim is not even a tiny bit relevant to the job that you want).

You can of course go and read about all the different 'strategies' for this question – there is plenty of posts on how you should tell a great story about your 'secret weak spot' and how you are working super hard to improve. Great strategy (and I am all for change, development and getting better)...but imagine this:

You are a manager of a small IT company. Recently you got some new clients and you need to hire 2 people to keep up with all the new orders. Your recruiter gives you 5 resumes to go through. All great applicants, top universities, great experience. How do you choose who to hire?

You hire the BEST ONES. Always. The best skills, best team fit - that's it.

You don't go around asking 'What do you really, really suck at?'.

You do the exact opposite!

Have you ever heard of anyone absolutely amazing that didn't get the job because his weakness wasn't 'weak' enough? Because I can give you hundreds of stories about people that were great, skilled, experienced and got the jobs that they deserved because they talked about all the things that they excel at.

When I was a recruiter, I always asked people about what they like doing or what they enjoy most at their job – I got so many great stories in return. People were really happy and surprised that someone is actually interested in them, not their interview skills. They often told me why they chose a particular career, what are they really into, what they would like to learn. Isn't those kind of things a recruiter should be interested in in the first place?

Next time you go to a job interview talk about your talents. If anyone asks you about your weakness tell them, that there are many things you can't do. This is natural for every person. No one is perfect, no matter how hard they try - it's just impossible. You are aware of your flaws, but you decided to focus on your talents - that's why you are great at what you do and you will be even better with time.

Don't lie or tell anyone that you are 'too organized', 'overly critical of your work', 'a workaholic' or worse - that you don't have any weaknesses. Everyone knows that this is not your true answer. Be honest about what you can bring to the company and if you are talking with a no-nonsense recruiter (and this is the best type there is) it will be greatly appreciated.

Have fun!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

YOUR BASIC CV CHECKLIST THAT YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH NO MATTER WHAT - FREE WORKSHEET

Last month I wrote about fixing your CV and making it more noticeable for recruiters. If you went through the whole article, you probably have quite a good idea what to do/rewrite next time you have some time to take care of your resume. If not (or if you would prefer to have a more condensed version of my post somewhere handy), maybe you will be happy that I made this simple, printable CV worksheet:

Free worksheet - use it to fix your CV before sending out your CV and applying for jobs.

You can find a full .pdf version on my SlideShare and LinkedIn

Download this list, print it out, sit down with your CV for 20 - 30 minutes and go through the whole worksheet – make sure that you have all the information that you need, delete the things that you shouldn't have and fix all typos. After that your resume will be ready to be sent out!

Have fun!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

WHAT DO YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO KNOW THAT ONLY YOUR EMPLOYEES CAN TELL YOU? OR HOW TO HELP YOUR COMPANY IN 3 EASY QUESTIONS

Every business has 2 parts: the 'official' one that the top people (owner, directors, stakeholders) experience and the 'secret' (common) part that only regular employees know about.

Top people don't call prospects and clients, they don't deal with office issues, they don't decide on new hires and interns. From what I saw during my career, they have a little bit detached and blurry vision of what exactly is going on in their own company. Because, of course, they deal with the big stuff, important things, everything that needs to be done – and that is great. That is amazing.

But if you are one of those bosses, you should remember to sometimes ask your employees a few things:

1. HOW ARE YOU?

This one is the easiest question to ask, and it is incredibly hard to get an honest answer to it. Maybe it is only a London thing, but people here tend to mumble an automatic “Yeah, good, yea, how 'bout you?' as they walk away.

What you really want to achieve with this questions is to show that you have a genuine interest in someone's life (and yes, if you are not really interested, it probably won't work that well for you). 

Your employees spend majority of their time outside work, but do you know anything about that part of their lives? Where do they live? What kind of movies are they into? The talk about engagement at work is big right now, but don't only talk about it - make it happen! Make your employees feel relaxed and welcome. In fact, go and talk to them right now! (And then come back to this post, because there is more where this came from.)

2. WHAT ANNOYS YOU?

You are looking at the most important question of them all (that no one ever asks). 

The alternative version of this question could go like this: If this was your company, what would you change first? Because let's face it, if it were you, you would start changes from the small things that you really hate and that you have to deal with every day. Every person working for you can see the good and the bad going on around them. The bad things may be huge (and it's your job to go and fix them) or tiny (it's also your job to fix those, but you will probably never find out that they are there in the first place) and the sooner you get rid of them, the better for everyone.

If people in your company have dedicated tasks and deal with their own thing every day, they will probably be the only one cursing about those small, annoying things that never work like they were supposed to. This may be a process that isn't yet optimized, online form that crashes when you submit it, printer that jams most of the time. Making sure that you ask about those inconveniences can save you a lot of time, money and stress in the future (when eventually the company gets bigger and the problem grows with it and potentially explodes in your face).

3. DO YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED?

In other words: am I giving you enough resources to do your best? I know that you need to think about your budget and need to save some money this quarter...but even the best programmer will not do much with an old calculator. Ask around and see if you are saving on the right things, or if your budgeting keeps people working slower and forcing them to be less efficient. Sometimes extra things (even the small ones) can make a huge difference.

(And yes, this goes for things like courses, accreditation and conferences too! Be proactive and ask your people if there is anything that they would like to learn. They will definitely appreciate it.)

Ok, now you have 3 great questions to ask your employees. Go and try it now (and I will bring you some more when you finish with those)!

Have fun!