So, here’s the deal about being a corporate leader: it can be one of the most rewarding yet challenging things you do in your lifetime—mainly because it’s all about influence.

However, we can’t expect others to do something that we don’t do ourselves. Here are five qualities you can adopt to lead your employees by example, become a better corporate leader, and make the workplace a productive environment.

  • Be responsible. Sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned, but there are few successes without failures along the way. Accept mistakes, take the time to suggest and implement solutions, and then brainstorm ways to prevent it in the future. Never play the blame game as it can damage your credibility, hurt your team, and prohibit them from making real progress.
  • Pay attention. Employees are a company’s most important resource, so make sure you give them the attention and the consideration that they deserve. Listen to your team’s ideas and get feedback from them regularly so that you can receive insights and encourage communication.
  • Support them. People are unique and words affect them in different ways, so be aware of how you speak to them. Additionally, take the time to make sure your employees feel special and give them credit! Compliment them on their work, ideas, and efforts to advance the company and serve its customers.
  • Collaborate with the team. No one can meet his or her goals alone. Seeking help leads to innovation: collaboration means people are focusing on common goals. When you ask your employees for their input, it shows that you trust them and value their advice.
  • Get involved. Be involved in more than meetings. Take the time to visit your team at the office, observe their work, and ask questions. Learn about what they’re working on, discover what motivates them, and get perspective into the challenges they’re facing so that you can them develop in the long run.

Good leadership takes individuals and makes them into teams, but a lack of it can mean discontent amongst employees or loss of business. The way you conduct yourself sends a message to your employees, so ensure that it’s a positive one!

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eco-friendly meeting

Meetings and office work were once impossible to do well without paper. However, today, with our incredible advances in technology and cloud storage, we are able to do everything faster, easier, and more importantly, greener. Given our opportunities, we should strive to pay back Mother Nature for all the trees she’s sacrificed over the years. Fortunately, hosting an eco-friendly meeting is easy without sacrificing quality.

PDF instead of paper
Unless you are hosting a strictly “no technology” meeting, you should send out meeting materials as PDF. This will eliminate the need for paper completely and every attendee will still be on the same page. There are also myriad of apps that you can download (for free) to make note taking on your tech device a breeze.

If you must, use recycled paper
Paper suppliers like Staples have increased their production of recycled paper materials. These are comparable in price and competitive in quality! Another great alternative is to send meeting materials via PDF, but supply eco-friendly meeting notebooks. Some clients find this method to be a well-functioning compromise.

Recycle. Recycle. Recycle.
Here at SoHoSoleil, we make extra sure to recycle our bottles and cans. Though it may not seem like much, getting in the habit of recycling is better than skipping it altogether. If your meeting venue doesn’t have recycling options, you can easily bring your own clear plastic bags for paper and bottles and cans!

If possible, we should always strive for eco-friendly meetings! Little changes can amount to big pay-off. Let’s keep it simple, efficient, and green.

Morning productivity Killers

There’s nothing like a productive morning fueled by a fresh cup of coffee. This feeling of accomplishment can also help you deliver throughout the entire day. However, we can all attest, not every morning can be a productivity success. Some days, we get caught up in cubicle conversations or endless email checks and before you know it, it’s lunch. If you are looking to kick those habits, try these small changes to your morning routine.

No e-mail hour

For some of us, kicking our email habit, cold turkey, is difficult. Instead try an email free hour in the morning. Just one hour! You can use this “free time” to make a list and set a guideline for the day. Enjoy that morning light and your java because you and your productivity deserve it.

The most difficult task
You’ve heard it here and everywhere else. Tackle your most important and difficult task first thing in the morning. After you’ve created your to-do, set out to complete the most dreaded task. Once you’ve accomplished this, you can gain momentum for the rest of your workday productivity.

Water cooler talk
It’s important to greet your coworkers and spread those positive vibes throughout the office. It boosts morale! However, divulging in office gossip first thing in the morning can askew your routine. Those ten, fifteen minutes in the morning can add up quickly.

The A.M. hours are some of the most valuable time. Learning how to harvest them in your favor can take your mind and your work to the next level. Don’t let these precious hours slip away unused!

apps for offsite meeting sohosoleil

There are more than enough options for productivity apps today to the point where it can be overwhelming to find just what you need. Last week, we shared Inc. Magazine’s list of productivity apps for home and office. However, what about those times when you have an offsite meeting and you forget the important documents? You can’t carry your entire office work with you all the time. Here are tried and true apps to effortlessly prepare for your next offsite meeting.

Basecamp
Basecamp is an efficient way to manage all of the projects happening around the office. Having a central location allows easy reference and seamless communication. It definitely beats sorting through all those email chains. You can brainstorm on Basecamp prior to your offsite meeting and follow through on your action items post meeting.

Genius Scan
No time to run to the office for a scanner? No problem. Genius Scan, a product of The Grizzly Labs, lets you snap a photo and magically turn it into a digital file. Now, you can brainstorm all over the flip charts, then snap, crop, and press send. Other products include Genius Fax and Genius Sign.

GoToMeeting
There comes a time during an offsite meeting when you desperately need to get in touch with a colleague abroad or maybe your CMO wants to peak into the meeting. Cue GoToMeeting. The product’s free version will allow up to 3 people and hassle-free screen sharing. There is no need to download or install anything!

resolutions-blog-sohosoleil

You know the drill: every year we set unrealistic, life changing New Year’s resolutions, and every year, we quit in February. In order to prevent this never-ending cycle, why not refine your work resolutions now, instead of waiting until January 1? Get together with your team at work and brainstorm on how to start off 2016 on the right foot.

Break it down
Is it really possible that your company is going to come up with a groundbreaking, world-changing solution in a year? Chances are, it will take more research and background work than initially planned. Instead of setting one huge yet vague goal, try and come up with multiple, smaller achievements that can be implemented throughout the year.

Set a timeline
Once you’ve broken down your resolutions into bite size pieces, it’s important to attach deadlines to said goals. Setting a timeline helps your team to visualize the bigger picture and continues to drive them. Small victories along the way will make you feel more productive!

Divide and conquer
Delegating and giving each member of your team a responsibility will foster overall accountability within your group. This can also be used as a chance to develop each member’s personal strengths while achieving a common purpose.

The new normal
Make sure that the “New Year” resolutions are incorporated into your weekly or monthly meeting agendas. Remember, this year, the resolutions are not a one-time thing but a conscious effort to drive and motivate your team.

introducing creativity blogs by sohosoleil

Inspiration for creativity could be found anywhere if you look hard enough. But, sometimes we want a one-stop location to refuel our thoughts. Here are four blogs where creativity is abundant and ever present. Check out their blogs, follow them on Twitter, and let your mind run wild.

Brain Pickings
This blog seeks to thoroughly understand life by connecting the dots within the world around us. Maria Popova, the brain behind the operation, curates and researches content that will inspire your mind and your soul. She pulls experiences and stories from past and present authors, inspiring you to dig deeper into your own world.

Design Taxi
Design Taxi is a SoHoSoleil favorite! The “Creativity” tab features stories from Halloween costumes to relatable comic drawings to design inspirations. It also has designer and creative-specific resources, like font pairing suggestions and resume templates, for your benefit.

The Creative Mind
The Creative Mind explores the nature of creativity and creative people through a psychological lens. It will help you understand the mind of an artist or how anxiety factors into creativity. The more informed you are, the better you can express yourself.

Creative Boom
They’re all about “celebrating creativity in both work and play.” This lifestyle approach to creativity lends itself to a wide selection of inspiration. The Creative Boom can fill your idea quota from Art to Travel, and everything in between.

Doodle During Meeting SoHoSoleil

Doodling once had a bad reputation, but research has proven that it could be beneficial, if practiced effectively. Studies have found doodling to spur creativity, promote memory retention, and increase focus. Try and incorporate doodles into your next meeting!

Doodle-friendly agenda
The beauty of doodling is its low-commitment. It can be done on virtually any corner or scrap of paper, notebook, and other paper surface. Why not provide space on your meeting agenda? Set up your handouts to be doodle-friendly by having wider margins and less words. This will allow the creative hands and minds to take notes in ways that will appeal to their memory. Plus, if your members don’t want to doodle, they’ll have room to take traditional notes. It’s a win-win.

Easel pad brainstorms
If your meeting has a breakout brainstorming session, give the groups an easel pad and see how they present their ideas. Having a larger white piece of paper will provide ample room for your team members to get creative with their explanations. Pictures really are worth a thousand words.

Wordless meeting
If you are really pushing for a think-outside-the-box environment, encourage a wordless moment during your meeting where attendees can only express themselves via pictures and doodles. This is a great way to break from traditional, linear thinking. By associating words and feelings with a visual aspect, it will solidify memory. For example, ask attendees to summarize the most important aspect of the meeting with a doodle. This way, they can leave with a visual symbol of the meeting!

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Your boss has asked you to run the next offsite meeting. You could lead a run-of-the-mill, boring meeting at your offsite session, or you could step up your meeting facilitator game. Here are some informative links that will help you learn more about leading a successful meeting.

What is a meeting facilitator?
Mainly, the role of a meeting facilitator is to lead an effective and easy meeting, where the team is engaged and time is respected. This article from MindTools elucidates on the role of a facilitator.

What characteristics does an excellent facilitator exhibit?
Anyone can lead a meeting, but not everyone will make it a successful one. This post from Danny Beckett Jr. outlines some defining characteristics of a great facilitator and provides some outstanding tips on getting started.

How can you improve your meetings?
So you understand what a meeting facilitator is. How can you apply it in real meetings? Here are some tips from ArchPoint Consulting and Jessica Bell that can help you apply it in real time. Both articles seem to agree on one thing: know your audience.

Meeting Trends

As we head into the last few months of 2015, here are four meeting trends that your company must try before the year is over in order to prepare you for the coming year and finish off this one on a high note.

Exquisite catering
With so many healthy food options, meeting hosts are becoming more particular about their dining options. There have been many formal and informal studies on how meals affect the productivity level of meeting attendees. Gone are the days of ordering twenty boxes of pizza and calling it a meal. Now, meeting hosts pay close attention to dietary needs and healthy savories. Green juices optional!

Intimate venues
As more companies seek to create a strong office culture, they are looking for more intimate venues where co-workers can brainstorm and bond together. Instead of looking for monotonous hotel conference spaces, these companies are searching for creative meeting spaces that can adapt to their creativity and specific needs. Meetings in 2015 are about personalization and creating a vibe that fits the company.

Variety in space
Another meeting trend is the option of breakout spaces or adaptable meeting rooms. More companies are looking for varieties in space because it helps them to compartmentalize and better focus on specific projects. The ability to utilize breakout rooms helps to achieve different goals while maintaining team building.

Connectivity
The verdict is split on this: do social media and gadgets help or hurt productivity during meetings? While browsing Instagram during important meetings will probably hurt your productivity, being connected may have its benefits pre and post meeting. Productivity apps like Basecamp can help you organize your teams and set clear goals for a meeting prior to the date. After the meeting, team members can further connect with one another in order to fulfill whatever was established during the meeting. The key to staying connected is finding ways to maximize productivity along the way.

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