Friday, 9 December 2016

25 Best Habits to Have in Life by R.L Adams

We are creatures of habit. Everything we think, say and do is a result of deep-seated habits etched into our minds through years and years of repetitious behavior. Those very same habits either help to propel us forward or to hinder our progress in life. In fact, the state and quality of our lives right now is a direct reflection of our daily habits.

Habits are an undeniably powerful part of life. They're an integral part of the underlying behavioral psychology that shapes the direction of our lives. They're so integral that a study determined that approximately 45 percent of everything we do on a daily basis is driven by our habits.
Parting ways with our bad habits and replacing them with good habits is by no means a simple task. It takes commitment, willpower and an unwavering desire to overcome our seemingly natural tendencies to think, feel, speak and act in a certain way.

Clearly, for those absolutely committed to things like happiness and success, habits offer the pathway to enrichment in life. They're also the tools we use to help automate our progress towards one end or another, assisting us with the achievement of our goals and the fulfillment of our dreams.
Still, for the most part, we're often left in the dark. We're unsure of ourselves or where to start on the road to developing good habits. What are the best habits to have in your life when you want to succeed or be happy? Are there some that usurp others, providing some secret magical recipe for achieving life's loftiest goals?

What are the best habits to have in life?

While any list of habits concocted might seem subjective, there are, in fact, 25 particular habits that will not only help you to succeed, financially speaking, but will also keep you healthy, happy and fulfilled in life. Focus on these 25 habits, consistently making efforts to instill them into your daily routine, and in time, your progress and momentum towards your goals will skyrocket.

1. Wake up early.

The early morning hours are a time for peaceful reflection and ample productivity, where the world is still and asleep, allowing you to focus wholeheartedly on your long-term goals. Anyone who is serious about success in any measure knows that it's important to wake up early.
Even if you're not a morning person, use incremental changes in your daily routine to start waking up earlier and earlier. Begin by setting your alarm clock back by 15 minutes the first week, 15 minutes the next week and so on. Do this until you can wake up at least two hours earlier than you're waking up now.

2. Gratitude. 

We spend a great deal of time immersed in our problems. But problems are also a sign of life. The only time we'll lack problems is when we're six feet under. And if you want to shift your focus away from your problems, you have to be grateful for what you have. Yes, even for your problems.
Gratitude is the surest pathway to health, happiness and success. It shifts our attention towards what we have rather than what we don't have. It's the natural abundance of simple pleasures and opportunities that we've been afforded with and blessed with that we often take for granted.

3. Smile. 

Studies have confirmed that people who smile a genuine smile (also referred to as a Duchenne smile) are happier in life. This is one of the best habits for allowing you to find emotional, mental and spiritual peace-of-mind over time -- simply by placing a smile on your face.
The physiology of our bodies dictates the psychology of our minds. When we frown or slouch or do any number of other things that convey a sense of depression and unhappiness, our mind takes those cues and runs with them. However, once we shift our outward appearance by consciously adjusting ourselves, our inward feelings follow.

4. Eat a healthy breakfast. 

Breakfast is an important part of life. Yet, 31 million Americans skip breakfast every single day. And that saying you've heard your entire life about breakfast being the most important meal of the day? It's 100 percent true. If you're serious about success, eat a healthy breakfast every single morning.
This single habit doesn't take much effort. Some planning is certainly required, and if you're rushing out the door every morning with barely any time to spare, you might want to consider waking up earlier to ensure that you wield this habit in your own life.

5. Exercise.

One of the absolute best habits to have in life is to exercise every single day without fail. This isn't about heavy weightlifting or running a marathon. This is about doing lightly strenuous activity to oxygenate your blood and boost the endorphins in your body.

Not only will you feel physically better when you start this habit, but you'll also feel more motivated, have more mental clarity and be more emotionally sound. Exercise releases dopamine, Oxycontin and serotonin into the system, giving an almost euphoric effect without the usage of any drugs whatsoever.

6. Drink water with lemon. 

One habit that has monumental health benefits is to drink a large glass of water with lemon every single day. Lemons are a natural source of Vitamin C, but also possess other health benefits -- such as helping with your digestion, boosting your immune system, along with cleansing and re-hydrating your body.
The water itself is also an important way to flush any toxins from your system early on in the morning when you first arise. Ultimately, over time, this will also aid with things like weight loss, a reduction in any inflammations and an overall boost in energy.

7. Walk 10,000 steps. 

Most people have heard about the benefits of walking at least 10,000 steps in a day. Yet, as a society, we tend to fall far short of that goal. One study, which provided shocking results of just how many steps we do take, compared that number to countries from around the world by studying participants from the U.S., Switzerland, Australia and Japan.
Americans, on average, take 5,117 steps a day. Compared to Australians, who take 9,695 steps per day, and residents of Switzerland, who take 9,650 steps per day, and those of Japan, who take 7,168 steps per day -- we fall way short. Event still, this single habit is a great way to resolve our sedentary ways. Park further from the office or take the stairs when you can to help boost your daily steps.

8. Vitamins and minerals. 

As a culture, we lack the necessary vitamins and minerals through our food intake. Processed and refined sugars, carbohydrates and other foods that are a staple of the American diet help to exacerbate this problem. We simply don't get the proper nutrients our bodies need on a daily basis.
Find a good set of vitamins and minerals that you can take every day. It's easy to ignore this healthy habit, but the feeling after weeks and months of doing this on a regular basis, is tremendous. That impact can help us to improve other areas of our lives by providing mental, emotional and physical clarity.

9. Effective time management.

An essential habit for succeeding at anything in life is effective time management. How well you manage the precious little time you have says a lot about what you can achieve. And considering that we all have the same amount of time in this world, how you leverage this resource will dictate your potential for success.
Find a good system for managing your time and implement it. This isn't complex to do, but does require conscious and consistent effort. However, once this habit has been solidified into your daily routine, virtually anything is possible, and no goal will be too big to attain.

10. Daily goal setting. 

Most people have goals. Whether it's something to achieve in business or in life, we're all moving in one intended direction or another. However, while long-term goals do give us direction, it's the daily goals that we set that allow us to create short-term milestones that are integral to our success.
Long-term goals can seem overwhelming even in the best of times. But by implementing a daily goal-setting strategy, you can overcome some of the enormity associated with achieving big things in life by focusing on the one-day-at-time, short-term scenarios.

11. Inspire yourself. 

It's often difficult to stay motivated for any considerable amount of time. We get discouraged and dissuaded from our goals when things arise in life that send us on tangents and veer us off track. But one of the absolute best ways you can stay motivated in life is to inspire yourself on a daily basis.
Read, watch inspirational videos and get inspired by stories of others who have achieved their dreams. Anthony Robbins calls this your "hour of power," but you can spend as much or as little time on this as you need. Inspiration is the pathway to achievement because what the mind can conceive, it can achieve.

12. Save and invest. 

No good habit list is complete without one that calls for saving and investing. We often overlook the necessity to save for the future because we're so busy living in the present moment. The truth is that most Americans have less than $1,000 saved up at any given moment.
But it's not just about saving. You have to invest the money that you save, and do so wisely. The more attention you pay to this now, the more your life will be replete with financial success in the future. You should also be sure to have at least six months worth of savings in your account to stave off any potential financial calamity in the future.

13. Budget and track expenses. 

Benjamin Franklin once said, "Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship." It's easy to lose sight of little expenses, but they add up, especially when we fail to budget. Be sure to manage all of your expenses, and sweat the small stuff, so to speak.
When it comes to sound financial habits, this is an important one to have, and one that will lend itself to your future financial success. The money saved on frivolous or extraneous expenses can be saved and invested for your future. Don't ignore the future for sake of revelling in the present moment.

14. Learn something new. 

Educate yourself, and learn something new every single day. Commit to learning and improving your life, whether it's by acquiring new skills or enhancing the existing skills you already have. From foreign languages to software programs and apps, you should carve out a small amount of time every single day to dedicate to this habit.
Whether you decide to learn something new through an online course, an audio book, a blog post, a video tutorial on YouTube, or even through TED Talks or other means, the importance of implementing this habit is paramount. Find something that's worthwhile learning and do just a little bit of it every single day.

15. Organize. 

Physical clutter results in a loss of focus. When our lives are disorganized and in a state of disarray, it's hard to stay focused on our goals. Take the time to organize your home and office, and do just a little each day to enforce this habit. Take a single drawer and organize it, or organize a solitary corner of your home or even a cabinet in your office.
The importance of this habit is highlighted by a study in the Journal of Neuroscience titled, "Interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in human visual cortex," which says "Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex." In plain English -- clutter lends itself to a major loss of focus.

16. Contribute to others. 

In our quest to achieve and succeed, we often forget about others. We fail to contribute something of value to our fellow man, woman or child. This isn't about donating money; this is about contributing your time, which is far more valuable than money. It also helps to shift your focus from a state of lack to a state of abundance.
We tend to spend too much of our time steeped in worry and anxiety. But, when you enlist the habit of contributing to others, you can easily alleviate your personal concerns, and even your problems, by realizing the necessity of helping others. In fact, it's the people in this world that contribute the most value to others that end up achieving the greatest success.

17. Network. 

Clearly, it's not just about what you know in this world. In order to succeed, we need to reach out to others -- who you know is extremely important. But networking isn't just about dropping names; it's about finding ways that you can help and add value to the lives of others.
The best networkers in the world are also some of the most successful individuals. But they didn't focus entirely on themselves at the outset. They always looked for ways that they could help others without thinking about receiving something in return. That's how the world's best networkers are born.

18. Break through fears. 

We spend a lot of time immersed in fear. Those doomsday what-if scenarios play out in our minds throughout the course of any given day. We're so worried and nervous about the future that we forget to enjoy the present moment. It's so ingrained in our minds to fear things that it stifles our progress.
Breaking through your fears is quite possibly one of the most important habits that you could develop. Get used to doing one thing that makes you feel uncomfortable each and every single day. Talk to a stranger, give someone a compliment, or tell someone the truth about something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

19. Take action. 

Take action. It's a cliche that we've all heard repeatedly, yet it's something that many of us fail to do. In fact, we do just the opposite -- we procrastinate. We fail to take action for whatever number of reasons, hindering our progress and ability to achieve any of the monumental goals we set for ourselves.
The best way to overcome procrastination is to use the 15-minute rule. Take whatever it is that you've been putting off for the longest, set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes, and only commit to doing it for that long. Why only 15 minutes? First, it breaks the cycle of inaction. Second, after 15 minutes, you've built some momentum, so you might just keep on going.

20. Follow a plan.

Having a plan is integral to every successful entrepreneur -- and person -- throughout history. Whatever it is that you want out of life, not only do you need long-term goals and daily goals to help conceive, but you need to follow an intricate and detailed plan that you create along the way.
Without a plan, we often fail to realize our goals. Without understanding how we'll get from point A to point B, it's hard to see the cliched forest through the trees. But when you stick to a plan and track your progress, making changes along the way, you can eventually reach your goals as long as you don't give up.

21. Enjoy "me" time. 

One of the habits that most of us fail to implement in our lives is to enjoy some down time -- or "me" time. Do one small thing that you love doing every single day. It's not always about achievement and success. By doing one small thing that you love, you're actually instilling peace of mind and re-focusing your center.
Whether you listen to your favorite music pumping through headphones, take a walk through the park, go for a drive along your favorite road, watch a movie, or anything else for that matter, be sure that you always carve out some time for yourself in the day.

22. Implement positive thinking. 

Like attracts like. When we think negatively, harboring negative thoughts, we attract negative things into our lives. When we think positive, we attract positive things. It's hard to stay positive all the time, and it's often our natural tendency to think negatively about things.
However, positive thinking is one of the surest pathways to the achievement of your goals. Ignore the naysayers and the people who doubt your abilities, and pursue the things that you love, staying positive all the while. It's purely a matter of momentum. Think positively for long enough, and good things begin happening.

23. Read. 

Whether you read the newspaper, financial news, a novel, a non-fiction book, or anything else, find time to read something. Reading is an important habit to develop in life, and you shouldn't rely on audiobooks or movies all the time. Good old-fashioned reading, the traditional non-screen way, does the trick.
Reading can help you uncover new worlds, ideas or ways of doing things that you might not have known about before. It's also a great way to educate yourself or entertain yourself at any given moment.

24. Get ample rest.

Although it's important to wake up early every day, it's also imperative to get ample rest. Finding that delicate balance might be difficult, especially if you have kids, two jobs and other obligations. However, if you care enough about your physical well-being, along with your future success, you'll focus on a minimum of six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
If you have trouble falling asleep, be wary not to drink coffee or alcohol too close to your bedtime. Also, if you smoke, eat too much sugar, or ingest any other type of toxins throughout the day, you'll find it difficult getting to bed at a decent hour. Cut those out of your routine so you can get some ample rest at night.

25. Journal your thoughts. 

Journaling your thoughts is a great way to reflect on who you are and what you've been doing in life. Time can go by so quickly that we often forget the details of what we did even a few short months ago. Those details are often novel to recall as it adds clarity and purpose to our lives, reminding us of life's lessons and joys.

Get in the habit of writing out your thoughts and journaling your experiences on a daily basis. Intertwine it with your goals, hopes and dreams for the future, writing out what you envision your life will look like down the road, then come back to read it later on to get a window into your mind at any point in your life. This is a powerful method for self-reflection, and also a great way to motivate and inspire yourself going forward into the future.

Getting started.

How many of the habits above have you already worked into your life? Are there bad habits that seem to continue holding you back from achieving any semblance of success and happiness? Bad habits can get in the way of our progress and quitting them is not easy by any means. However, it's all a matter of momentum. It all boils down to small incremental steps that you can take day in and day out to help you build up the right repertoire of habits to help you achieve whatever your heart desires. The habits above are some of the best habits to have in life. How many of them will you agree and commit to taking on today?

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Do You See Me? By Aishetu Dozie

This has been a really fascinating year to witness the seismic changes in today’s global landscape. Many of us laughed at the whole Brexit movement because we knew for a fact that it couldn’t happen, until it did. 

We’ve watched the debasing of American politics as the campaign dialogue races to the bottom of centuries-held norms of acceptable behavior among political office aspirants. Donald Trump has demonstrated such deeply divisive actions and uttered very shocking words that one almost wonders if Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus will come out and say this was a grand ole experiment to see how far crazy America would tolerate. The release of the recent audio tape in which he was heard referring to his predilection to sexual assault against beautiful women around him made me shudder. This is 2016. We cannot accept a self-confessed assaulter of women as a candidate for the highest office in the United States of America.

We’ve now got Theresa May as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister. We’ve got Angela Merkel as the most powerful woman in Europe and possibly the entire world for now. We’ve got Hillary Clinton as the first female major party ticket holder for candidate for US president. How can this be happening today? And then the grand finale (or at least I hope) of the verbal assault on women on the global stage occurred when my very own president, Muhammadu Buhari, in response to his wife’s criticisms of his administration said “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.” Wow. Very quickly after this, the hashtag #TheOtherRoom began trending with Nigerians and the world screaming out about this misogynistic message from a leader in today’s world who was standing right beside Angela Merkel when this statement was made!

I’m a 40 year old investment banker who also happens to be a wife and mother to three sons. I am constantly juggling, balancing and trying my best to have a fulfilling life which allows me to surpass my ambitious goals with a healthy and happy marriage, family and friends right beside me. I am always being told to work “harder than they do” and “lean in.” As hard as I work and as much as I lean in, I’m struggling to understand how to make sure that the decision makers and leaders in today’s global economy can see me and all of the other women like me working as hard as our bodies and minds will allow.  Do we matter in the grand scheme of things?
Can men in today’s business environment see beyond the fact that I am a “young woman?” I recently sat in front of an allegedly well-respected man, possibly in his 50s, discussing my interests in board appointments and he called me a “baby” when I told him my age.  I sat there in front of him as cool as a cucumber but I was furious. I doubt he meant to be condescending but I began to wonder when I would be regarded for the breadth and depth of my professional and personal accomplishments without being looked upon as a child. Nigerian society has an acute problem with sexism and ageism. We need to fix this quickly otherwise we will continue to lack the full range of tools, brain power, and efficiency to lift ourselves out of this economic rut, which predominantly older men have plunged us into. Young people today bring fresh ideas and a new way of thinking which is what has propelled technological advances globally. We must embrace the contributions of those under the 50 - 60 age bracket in Nigeria and bring women along for the journey too. We don't want to be in the trunk or back seat either. Sometimes we want to drive.

We also have to see more women as competent and capable of the highest offices in the land. The banking and legal sectors have managed to get this right given the vast numbers of mid-level and senior women in these fields. Notwithstanding this fact, out of 25 commercial and merchant banks in Nigeria, only 3 have female chief executives. If women represent 50% of the population, when will we start to represent 50% of the executive suite? How can we succeed at pushing this agenda if our own President can demean his wife on the global stage by saying that she belongs in the kitchen and other private areas of the home? The assuring part of this #TheOtherRoom debacle is that the private sector always leads the public sector so while I have no doubt that women will continue to shatter the glass ceiling in the private sector, our government is woefully behind in its actions and thinking.

As I and many other women work incredibly hard to differentiate ourselves in our careers and soar new heights, I am asking you if you see us? Just because I don’t grace the newspapers in the style sections and ensure I am in the spotlight for things other than my passion topics – female empowerment, financial security, international finance – do I not matter? Just because I am not 50+ doesn’t mean my experiences don’t count. I’ve worked in Central and South America, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. I’ve had an almost 20 year career in finance and entrepreneurship with major global institutions. How can I be referred to as a baby with a silly head nod to boot? Can we scoff at Mark Zuckerberg for being 32 years old in the face of his achievements? That would be unwise. Larry Page and Sergei Brin, co-founded Google in 1998 when they were 25 years old and I don’t need to tell you what they’ve done for the planet since then. Do you see so many of my female contemporaries who are brilliant, successful and brimming with ideas?

I was recently given advice that I should create a brand for myself as apparently this is all the rage de rigueur. Make sure that people know exactly what I stand for and make my opinions matter. I do this every day in my work place and in my community but do you see me? There are millions of women who are stepping up in their workplaces and earning accolades quietly. Do you even see us? I’ve heard so many stories about accomplished women with multiple Ivy League degrees and bonafide work experience to support their current position, only to be reduced to the demeaning and absurd objectification that they are where they are because they used woman power with their male bosses or some other powerful man lurking in the shadows. Do you see us? Do you see the millions of hardworking, well-educated, multitasking women out there who are contributing to their families, supporting their aged parents and still making magic in the office? What is this notion about getting ourselves out there more? Why don’t you see us? We are everywhere, everyday. 

Men are appreciated for being ambitious and assertive while women are admonished for being aggressive. Many of us are working towards the same goals. We want to be recognized for our hard work. I’m not speaking for those women or men who seek shortcuts through subterfuge and illicit means. I’m talking about women like myself – well-educated, well intentioned, hardworking, credentialed, honest. We aren’t perfect but we deserve to be seen.

I’m watching with excitement at the global rise of women and also with disappointment as male leaders are tearing us down. When leaders engage in this misogynistic verbiage, followers follow suit. Why do we have to keep referring to Bill Clinton’s misadventures with women when it’s his wife that’s running for President? Why are people so quick to crucify her for staying with her husband when he was publicly caught denigrating his office? Why is it our business even? Do you see Hillary as the candidate in all her accomplished and shining glory or do you see Bill Clinton’s wife who should be baking cookies and a cake?

Sadly America is quickly losing its exceptionalism in the world and the likes of Donald Trump are exacerbating the steep decline. Who is going to change the way the world looks at girls and women? We are. We as women will need to continue to demand that we are seen and heard and not misunderstood. One woman’s actions cannot represent the lot of us. In the case of Nigeria, you can’t get away with saying “Well, we gave them a powerful set of ministries to govern and they messed it up. Don’t expect serious responsibility again.” That’s not fair to the rest of the 3.5 billion girls and women on the planet. We don't say “Well, Adolf Hitler was a man, Francisco Franco was a man, Sanni Abacha was a man. No more men in power again.” 

We have to take equality seriously because it’s a political and social imperative. Women deserve to have 50% representation in classrooms, workplace, government, and beyond.

Can you hear me?
Aishetu Dozie is the General Manager and Head, Investment Banking West Africa, Rand Merchant Bank.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Inspiring The Next Wave of Female Leaders At #WIMBIZAnnualConference

The theme for 2016 International Women’s Day was Pledge for Parity with a focus on getting everyone to accelerate gender parity. The conversation about gender equality in spheres of life particularly in the workspace is an ongoing one that is guaranteed to continue until the desired goal is achieved. Women have and continue to make great strides, accomplishing various feats in several fields, proving that they are just as capable as their male counterparts and sometimes better. So why aren’t there more women in positions of leadership?

At #WIMBIZAnnualConference, we will spotlight the state of gender parity in Africa, as it achieves global prominence as a key Sustainable Development Goal and private sector buzzword. Panelists will examine the different perspectives and what (if any) progress has been made in bridging the gender gap. Participants will be inspired and left with a strong sense of what today's crop of aspiring female leaders should do to leverage increasing focus on diversity to build successful businesses and careers in the private and public service.

Do you know that the WIMBIZ Annual Conference is the largest and most inspiring Conference for women in Nigeria? If you have not registered to attend, what are you waiting for? Visit or send an email to

Friday, 23 September 2016

An Unexpected Way to Stop People from Quitting by Ryan Holmes CEO at Hootsuite

At my company, year after year we score high in our employee satisfaction surveys. Yet, despite these results, we still see a sizeable chunk of annual staff turnover. 

This has always bothered me. If people love the company, why are they leaving? In part, it’s simply a sign of the times. Millennials change jobs more frequently: an average of once every 2.5 years during the first decade out of college. That’s double the rate of their Gen X predecessors. 

But I wanted to better understand the actual reasons why this happens. So over the past year, we spoke to a range of employees in an effort to find out. In doing so, I realized it wasn’t about compensation (or, at least, just about compensation). Nor was it problems with bosses or coworkers. Many people were leaving because they wanted to try something new. They wanted to be challenged with a different role and different set of responsibilities.

We were losing A players, in other words, because they were bored. Personal development is far more than just a buzzword to Millennials. In fact, 65% of Millennials say that personal development is the most important factor on the job, according to a UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School study. And this doesn’t mean just leveling up an existing skill set. It means being able to explore and internalize different skills entirely: to learn something new. 

I can relate. As a career entrepreneur, I know the allure of moving from one venture to another, gaining new knowledge with each pivot. But that same dynamic doesn’t always work within a company, where people are hired for discrete roles and expected to excel within clear boundaries. If one of our developers decides he or she is bored with coding and wants to pursue a love of blogging for a living instead, for example, that person probably needs to find a new place to work. 

Or maybe not. 

A lesson from Google’s bungee program
The more I thought about this, the more I realized a pretty universal hiring truth. Great employees are great employees. It’s not the particular skill set that sets them apart, as much as their intrinsic attitude, focus and dedication. And all of these things can transfer readily from role to role. So why not give these exceptional employees a chance to try out new positions within the company, rather than risk losing them altogether? 

Luckily, I had Google to turn to for some inspiration. For some time, Google has operated a unique “bungee program,” which empowers employees to plunge into an entirely different department for a brief period. After learning about the program from my HR team, I wondered if we could flesh out a more robust version of this—with clear rules and guidelines—in our own company. 

The goal was straightforward: to keep good employees in the company. The mechanics proved a bit tricky, though. Which employees would be eligible? What about the hole left when they leave their current roles? How do we ensure that real learning is going on and this isn’t just a waste of everyone’s time? 

We ultimately settled on some ground rules for a "stretch program" of our own. First, participants need to be performing at or above expectations already, based on performance reviews—success in one role is a powerful predictor of success elsewhere, after all—and to have been with the company for at least a year. Assignments to other divisions are capped at three months, giving participants up to a full quarter to test the waters.

To avoid disruption, "stretch" employees spend roughly one day a week on their adopted team during this 90-day period and the remaining time in their official role. Their existing manager needs to sign off on the move and be okay with the reduction in job duties. And importantly, participants are required to draft "learning plans" in advance and get approval from both their current and rotational manager.

At the conclusion of the trial, if the new role is truly working for everyone—and if the new manager has a need and the resources to bring on a new staffer—then that employee can make the jump full-time, once his or her old role has been backfilled. If things don’t work out, no harm done—they're free to return full-time to the original role or try on a new assignment.

How we’re beta-testing our new “stretch program”
Here at Hootsuite, this program is still in pilot stage. We kicked it off earlier this summer with roughly a half-dozen participants, but we’re already seeing some positive results.

A leading salesperson originally focused on large, enterprise-level companies has stretched over to an assignment in our product management group. He's now working alongside our VP of operations to come up with ways of standardizing the life cycle for our products. He spends about 10 hours a week in this role and will wrap up his rotation at the end of September.

A social-media marketing specialist with experience using Facebook and Twitter as promotional tools has jumped over to our corporate development team. He’s taking that tactical, hands-on knowledge of social media and is now evaluating how to incorporate newly acquired products into our larger business strategy. He dedicates about 15 hours a week to this rotation, which concludes in September.

Whether these individuals end up transitioning full-time to their new roles or deciding to return to their home teams, the program still represents a win-win in many respects. Employees who participate get a chance to try out a new calling, without ever leaving the company (which is a whole lot easier than hunting down a new job … only to find out it wasn’t what you were looking for). They build a professional network that extends beyond their team and add a new skill to their toolkit. In the best-case scenario, they actually find a brand new career. 

The benefits flow the other way, too. Hootsuite gets to retain smart, passionate employees who want to grow and evolve. Corporate silos are broken down and employees gain insight—and empathy—into other areas of the business. If you’ve never worked in sales, for instance, you might emerge with newfound appreciation for the hustlers who keep revenue coming in the door.

Ultimately, the desire to learn and evolve isn’t just a Millennial virtue—it’s pretty universal. Giving employees a chance to truly grow—without having to pull up stakes and leave the company—is a common-sense tactic to attract and keep great talent.