As a business owner, do you believe that your skills, intelligence and abilities can be developed over time? Or do you believe that your talents are mostly fixed, meaning that if you’re not really good at something now, you probably won’t ever be great at it? These are critical questions to ask yourself. That’s because your mindset — how you view, interpret and act on decisions, problems and challenges in your life — can play a significant role in your success and happiness. Or it can hold you back from being the person — and business leader — you want to be.

American psychologist Carol Dweck is credited for identifying two main types of mindsets. A growth (also called learning) mindset is a belief that with hard work, desire and perseverance, most people can develop and improve their talents, abilities, and intelligence. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset believe that a person’s talent and intelligence are more or less innate — you either have certain characteristics or you don’t. In other words, there are ‘gifted’ people and there’s everyone else. Those with fixed mindsets do not believe they (or anyone else for that matter) can significantly improve their innate qualities.

There’s no shortage of examples of the great things that can be accomplished with a growth mindset. For example, at Microsoft, Satya Nadella made it his mission to revamp the leadership and the culture at Microsoft with a growth mindset after taking over in 2014. In his book, Hit Refresh, Nadella explains that mindsets– specifically helping employees at the company develop growth mindsets– were his tool for taking Microsoft to the next level. After more than a decade of static market capitalization and share price, Nadella helped usher in a new era for Microsoft, one in which the company’s market capitalization and stock price more than tripled. Pfizer, too, credits a growth mindset for the company’s success and growth.

One of the keys in developing a growth mindset is to help yourself and your organization’s leaders view failure as an opportunity to reflect, learn and improve your skills. In many organizations, failure is not tolerated or viewed negatively, which makes employees fearful of making mistakes and as a result less likely to take risks and think innovatively. To adopt a growth mindset, business leaders and employees must embrace risk and imperfection and push themselves out of established comfort zones.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” He couldn’t have been more right.

Do you like to make New Year’s resolutions? Studies show that most Americans make an average of three to five goals each January. The problem: Most resolutions are cast aside by the end of February.

What would happen if you picked just one resolution — one important business goal — and stuck to it for an entire year? A goal that’s challenging and, if you work hard, attainable? Research shows that instead of coming up with multiple goals for 2021, pledging to make one significant change is more likely to result in success. And make it specific. Instead of a New Year’s resolution to “attend more networking events,” quantify the number of networking events you’ll attend each month and what you plan to accomplish at each. Instead of “growing your business,” quantify how much you plan to grow your sales or profits.

One time-tested method for setting effective goals is called the SMART principle. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Using the SMART approach, quality goals can be created by asking yourself these five questions:

  • Is your goal specific enough? You’ll be more motivated to work hard to attain a goal if you spell out exactly what should be accomplished. Instead of a vague goal of increasing traffic to your company’s website, for example, you would want to set a specific goal in terms of unique visitors or page views.
  • Is your goal measurable? Make sure you can monitor your progress and ultimately measure whether you have accomplished what you set out to.
  • Is your goal achievable? You don’t want to create goals that are too easy to reach but you don’t want to set yourself up for failure, either.
  • Is your goal relevant? If you accomplish your goal, will it further your personal and/or business objections or mission?
  • Does your goal have a timeline? Having a deadline can be motivating and give you an exact date in the future to work toward. Otherwise, you might not feel the urgency to put in the required effort.

Research also shows that sharing your resolution with others can make a big difference. Let others know about your goal early in the year.

Do your employees know what your company stands for — its mission, why it’s in business, and how it’s different from competing companies? Only 41 percent of U.S. workers say they do. Surprised? Shocked?

That alarming statistic is from Gallup research. While most business leaders can clearly describe their company or organization’s mission, most employees can’t. Another surprising statistic: Only four in 10 U.S. employees strongly believe that the mission of their company makes them feel their position is important.

That’s a real problem. Research shows a clear link between how well employees understand their company’s mission and purpose and embrace it and how well it performs. According to Gallup, just a 10 percent improvement in a workforce’s connection with their company’s mission or purpose would likely result in an 8.1 percent decrease in employee turnover and a 4.4 percent increase in profitability. If your company or organization doesn’t have a formal mission, it needs one. If it has one, everyone should understand what it is and how their work or job ties into and is important to this purpose.

In conducting a meta-analysis of nearly 50,000 business units across just under 200 organizations representing 49 different industries in nearly three dozen countries, Gallup scientists discovered that as employees move beyond the basics of employee engagement and view their contributions to their organizations more broadly, a lot of positive and powerful things start to happen. Employees are more likely to be loyal to their employers, work harder and more creatively and take ownership in what they do, connecting with customers/clients to the benefit of the organization. All that great stuff happens because of a clear mission.

At Accurate Protection, our entire team is focused on providing a full spectrum of risk management solutions for businesses of all sizes. The average insurance broker meets your basic needs when it comes to business insurance plans, claims and renewal negotiation. But what about helping your company adapt to new and evolving exposures, such as cyber-attacks and changes in legislation?

In addition to helping with a comprehensive risk management plan, we help our clients better manage today’s challenging business environment by offering them a web-based client resource center. Customized to a company’s unique needs, you’ll find a wealth of valuable information for your business on a wide and diverse variety of issues all in one place. Here’s some of what will you find in our Accurate Protection Connect:

  • A dynamic interactive online forum
  • The tools to create a customized company safety manual
  • An easy-to-use OSHA reporting system
  • Legislative updates that could affect your company and industry
  • Convenient 24/7 online insurance claims reporting
  • Customized employee newsletters and payroll stuffers
  • A library of more than 1,000 downloadable articles in both English and Spanish.

Learn more about how we can help your company be more efficient and successful.

The global pandemic added a new and challenging perspective to our lives over the past year and a half— stress and worry. It’s been a heavy load, and it’s wearing us out.

Business owners and leaders have faced many unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, including how best to keep their employees safe and how to help their organizations adapt to changing conditions. It’s been, of course, no easy task. Employees have been dealing with uncertainty over what the pandemic could mean for their families, loved ones, jobs, and careers. Continually dealing with uncertainty — and creatively coming up with solutions to address it — has made us weary. And the good news-bad news cycle has been draining. While it seemed, for example, that pandemic was winding down, the Delta variant has caused another wave of worry. And once again, we’re wondering what is going to happen next.

According to a new report by Gallup, leaders who haven’t done so already must take steps to address burnout — both their own and their employees — or risk having it impact their organizations and workforces to an even greater degree. The global analytics and advice company has these suggestions:

1. Measure employee well-being. How well are you monitoring employee engagement and morale? Surveys can help pinpoint issues like burnout, stress and fear, and help leaders know which issues are the most important to tackle and how.

2. Address work-life balance. Managers should be trained to have conversations about this critical issue with their employees and be able to take action when needed. If your organization wants to be able to recruit and retain quality employees effectively, you’ll need to find a way to address this top concern among American workers today. It’s no longer enough to offer a good working environment from 9 to 5; employees want an employer to help them balance the demands of work and family.

3. Acknowledge the desire for remote work. Employees want flexibility in where and how they work long after the pandemic is over. Those who never worked at home pre-pandemic realized during the outbreak that they liked it and could do their jobs as well as or even better than in the office setting. A number of people don’t want to go back to the office environment. The most effective leaders will offer employees flexibility and resources that support productivity and work-life integration.

4. Understand that everyone’s struggle is different. The COVID-19 outbreak has made it clear that a one-size-fits-all approach to managing people simply doesn’t work. The pandemic, for example, has caused severe financial and personal distress for some households. Working mothers and single parents have often struggled to address tough child-care issues. Some families may have faced severe financial setbacks or grappled with the death of loved ones. Others may have become more concerned with serious diversity, equity and inclusion issues. Is your workplace accepting and supportive of all employees?

5. Be on the lookout for signs of burnout. Now, more than ever, it’s vital that leaders make sure their management team has realistic expectations for employees, that individualized support is available to workers and that each one has a manageable workload and time off to rest and recharge. Being on the lookout for burnout in yourself and those around you. This will be a critical task now and in the years to come.

Is your business prepared for the unexpected? There are plenty of unforeseen risks for every business, but good planning can help put you on the right path before they even happen. Here are some great ways to help make sure an unexpected event doesn’t hurt your business:

Review your continuity plan at least once per year.

Make sure your plan is up-to-date and that your business is ready for a wide range of threats. Unexpected setbacks — whether it be a power outage, a flood or a fire — can hurt or even destroy a business. Having a plan in place is an important step in overcoming these setbacks.

Educate your employees.

Do all your employees know what they should do in an emergency? Make sure your employees know how to handle a variety of unexpected events, and take time to review with them often.

Check your insurance coverage.

Today, businesses have access to a wide variety of insurance coverages designed to help them cope with unexpected events. Take the time to make sure you have the correct coverages in place for your business needs and risks.

Unforeseen events don’t have to devastate your business. The key is in good, consistent planning so that your business is prepared for whatever life throws its way.