Find Out What Type of Leader You Are


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leaderYou’ve probably heard the saying, “Absolutely power corrupts absolutely.” Give a leader power and see how they respond to it.

Leadership is all about power and influence. Leaders use power to get things done. According to psychologist Ronald E. Riggio, there are two general types of power. The first is socialized power. Socialized power is power used to benefit others. Leaders that exercise this type of power are primarily concerned with the best interests of those they serve, not themselves.

The other form of power is called personalized power, and it is using power for personal gain. Personal power can become a problem when it dominates and gains, often at the followers’ expense.

What type of leader are you? And what type of power do you exert?

Business Insider details seven types of power that are present in the workplace:

  1. Coercive Power - where a person leads by threats and force. It is unlikely to win respect and loyalty from employees for long.
  2. Expert Power - the perception that one possesses superior skills or knowledge.
  3. Informational Power - where a person possesses needed or wanted information. This is a short-term power that doesn’t necessarily influence or build credibility.
  4. Reward Power – where a person motivates others by offering raises, promotions, and awards.
  5. Connection Power - where a person attains influence by gaining favor or simply acquaintance with a powerful person. This power is all about networking.
  6. Referent Power - the ability to convey a sense of personal acceptance or approval. People with charisma, integrity and other positive qualities hold it. It is the most valuable type of power.

Being a leader puts you in a position of influence. So how do you keep from letting that power go to your head? Here are four tips to avoid the CEO power-trip:

  1. Be a Man/Woman of Character. As a leader, you will inevitably face competing demands from time to time. The ability to manage these demands with integrity, honesty and selflessness becomes crucial in times like these. Being willing to sacrifice your success, your fortune and even your life takes courage and character.
  1. Stay Attentive. A good leader needs to be accurately informed. Be sure you have all the available facts before deciding anything. Thinking through the potential consequences of your decisions often prevents problems from occurring down the road.
  1. Stay Connected. Having the ability to develop meaningful relationships with others is the most important quality a leader can possess. You gain power through relationships. Developing relationships with key people will expand your sphere of influence, your access to resources and your capacity to make things happen.
  1. Serve Others. One of the greatest attributes of a good leader is your willingness to serve others. This service, however, should come from the heart and be genuine. Putting others’ needs and desires before your own is reflected in the attitude and actions of a good leader.

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The Value of Brand Awareness in Employee Roles


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employee rolesYour phone is ringing. Your email inbox is flooding. You are running from meeting to meeting.

Sometimes we get so caught up in day-to-day work, that we lose sight of our company’s mission and vision.

Every day your company communicates something to your target consumer, whether or not it is on the forefront of your mind. And the messages your company sends, communicates your brand.

The important thing to note is that everyone in your company represents it. Every single employee communicates the company brand.

“But I’m just the IT guy. I sit at a computer all day and troubleshoot emails. I don’t have anything to do with developing the business strategy and brand. So it doesn’t really matter how I portray myself or how I speak about the company.”

Sadly, this may be on the minds of many of your employees. Some members of your team may not realize that how they perform and portray themselves can have a tremendous affect on your business.

  1. What your employees SAY matters

How your employees feel about your company can easily translate into comments about the business. If a team member has low job satisfaction, chances are they will communicate that to someone. Soon a negative connotation may be associated with your brand.

Making sure your employees are aware of the company brand is crucial. The brand voice should be carried through everything they say. Even though they may not be senior management, keeping a collective brand voice across the company is essential if your business is to be successful.

  1. What your employees DO matters

Every action your employee does communicates your brand. For example, if your company is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote sustainability, your employees should probably not be seen throwing away plastic bottles in the regular trash. If your employees aren’t embodying your brand, then how can any of your target consumers get behind your mission?

All employees should be aware of the company brand – they represent it every day. Communicate to your employees how their role is in line with the company brand and marry the two together. Every company role counts to make a business successful.

Need help with communicating and instilling brand awareness to your employees? Baker Creative is an expert in HR and talent management. Let us help your company reach its full potential. Call us today at (614)836-3845.


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4th of July: How Our Forefathers Were the Original Entrepreneurs


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usa flagParades. Barbeques. Sparklers. Fireworks. Patriotism. These are the quintessential ingredients that represent the celebration of Independence Day. It’s that time of year again to celebrate America’s birthday and everything this country stands for.

As I began getting into the holiday spirit, I couldn’t help but reflect on this nation – mainly what our forefathers must have been thinking back in 1776.

As I started to ponder, I realized that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and every other important figure present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence were not only the founding fathers of our country, but the original American entrepreneurs.

Our forefathers started their own business in the form of a country. Signed on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence announced that the 13 American colonies (then at war with Britain) regarded themselves as newly independent states and no longer under British rule.

As a newly formed country, our forefathers needed to develop a business plan and lay the foundation for what they hoped would be a great nation. What transpired was the United States Constitution.

The Constitution begins, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The beginning of the Constitution clearly states the mission and vision of the United States – to be a country that establishes justice, ensures tranquility, provides defense, promotes welfare and secures liberty. Establishing a mission and vision for your business is crucial if it is to succeed. And our founding fathers did just that.

What is amazing to realize is that this country is celebrating 238 years of “being in business.” While some amendments have been made to the Constitution, the United States has held true to the vision of the nation our forefathers hoped for.

In addition to developing a business plan, a company also looks for ways to brand itself. One way businesses elevate their brand is by creating a logo. It can be said that there are different logos for the United States, including the American flag and the bald eagle. And of course, America’s branded colors are red, white and blue.

But a business is much more than just a logo. A brand represents a company’s essence – the soul of the company. Our forefathers knew in 1776 what America was to stand for – which was (and still remains) freedom.

America is a country that celebrates democracy, independence and equality. This country’s people work hard to fulfill their dreams. America truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

So this 4th of July, amidst your barbeques and fireworks, take a little time to thank our forefathers for being our original entrepreneurs and creating a country that is so wonderful to live in.


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Business Roadmap: The Value of Strategic Planning


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strategic planningHave you taken any roadtrips lately? Think about how you prepared for the few hours you were about to spend in the car. Chances are you probably got out your smartphone or GPS. You plugged in your starting point and plugged in your destination. And voila! You had the best and most direct route of how to get to your destination.

Creating a strategic plan for your business is just like taking a roadtrip. As a business leader, you must first ask yourself three questions:

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to be?
  3. How do you get there?

The tricky part lies in the third question. Unfortunately, there is no “Siri” to tell you exactly how to get from point A to point B in a business plan.

This is why strategic planning is imperative to your business. You may have an idea of where you want to go, but without a roadmap, you are likely to veer off course or get lost. Although some detours can be fun and you may discover new things, detours are costly (think about all the gas you’ve wasted) and add hours onto your trip. The last thing you want for your business is to spend more money and time on something that could have been more effective had you developed a strategic plan.

Many companies invest a significant amount of time and effort in a formal, annual strategic planning process. The main purpose of the discussions is to challenge your current strategy by testing assumptions about the market, ensuring that all strategic choices are being considered, exploring potential opportunities and risks and conducting an honest assessment of your business’s strengths and weaknesses.

There are 3 key details of annual planning meetings that should be addressed in order to facilitate a productive planning process:

  1. Know who should attend the meeting

Real conversations take place in groups of three to 10 people; they simply do not happen in large groups for both logistical and political reasons. First, when a large group comes together for a discussion, you run the risk of developing “groupthink.” Coined in 1972 by social psychologist Irving Janis, groupthink occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to deterioration. People may feel inclined to resist giving their opinion for fear that they will be the odd person out. Discussions may thus lack different viewpoints, which is critical for taking an honest look at your business.

Additionally, once a group grows in size, it is difficult to ensure that everyone can participate meaningfully and hierarchical forces are more likely to come into play. People may feel inhibited during discussions and come away feeling that the meeting was more of a monologue than a real dialogue about critical business issues.

In reality, there are only two essential participants in a business strategy review: the CEO and the business-unit head. Everyone else is discretionary and should be included only if he or she is truly a decision maker. The number of decision makers varies from company to company but typically includes the CFO, the head of corporate HR, one or two senior corporate executives and two to three senior members of the business-unit team. People may fight to be included in these meetings, but you can set up other forums keep them informed and get their buy-in.

  1. Know where the meeting should be held

Strategic planning could take a day, a week or several weeks, depending upon your business. Choosing a location that will be focused and productive is critical. If your planning will only take a day, a large conference room is sufficient. However, make sure you take breaks throughout the day to ensure that your team does not feel trapped. A sense of entrapment could inhibit brainstorming and creativity.

If your planning is likely to take at least a week, consider relocating to a different part of town or traveling to a different city. Creating a type of retreat for your strategic planning team may not only boost morale, but also boost creativity. A change of scenery can facilitate fresh ideas that may not have been inspired by sitting in a conference room for days on end.

  1. Know what kind of preparation is necessary

Preparation is the key to making a strategy discussion pay off. A document detailing the strategy tasks should be sent out at least a week before the meeting, allowing participants the time they’ll need to study it. Participants will come ready, with prepared minds to ask questions and debate the issues.

Strategic planning can be challenging, but ultimately rewarding. If you invest the time and preparation needed to make your annual meeting successful and productive, you’ll have the best and most efficient route to cruise to your next business venture.

Baker Creative can help your company with strategic planning. Call us today at (614) 836-3845 to get started.

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Cutting Through the Noise: 6 Tips to De-Stress


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meditationEver feel like a chicken running around with your head cut off? There never seems to be enough hours in the day. The boss has you on tight deadlines at work and when you come home, you can’t even sit down for a moment before you have to cook dinner and run the kids off to soccer practice.

We let our brains run wild with everything we have to do, which causes us to tense up and be on edge. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 73% of people admitted to regularly experiencing psychological symptoms caused by stress including irritability, nervousness and lack of energy.

With much of the battle lying within our minds, here are a few tips to help you cut through the noise and mentally de-stress:

  1. Meditate

Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. A big benefit is that you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you’re out for a walk, waiting at the doctor’s office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.*

  1. Take Out A Pen and Paper

Having a thousand things running through your brain can create a lot of tension. Journaling is a great way to “brain dump.” By simply writing out your to-do lists, your thoughts and your emotions, you will automatically feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

  1. Unplug

In the age of social media and the digital world, coming home from work doesn’t necessarily mean downtime. Many of us come home and proceed to check our personal email, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram account, etc. Instead, try unplugging when you get home. Stepping away from technology and loads of content will give you a mental break. We promise, you won’t miss anything.

  1. Step Into Nature

Being in nature can provide you with a breath of fresh air. Listening to the sounds of nature, exploring its beauty and taking a deep breath will help you clear your mind.

  1. Crack Open A Book

A study conducted by the Telegraph reported that just six minutes of reading can help you de-stress. Reading is linked to a slower heart rate and muscle relaxation. Reading a novel can also provide an escape into another world, as you enter into the lives of different characters.

  1. Express Gratefulness

Instead of focusing on all the things you are worried about, think of what you are grateful for in your life. By jotting down even small things (good cup of coffee, sunny day, great conversation) daily, you will train your brain to be on the lookout for the good stuff, and thus notice more of it.

Remember, much of our stress is self-induced. By practicing a few of these tips, you’ll help yourself manage stress and better appreciate all the blessings in your life.

*The Mayo Clinic provides some great information on different types of meditation. Learn more here:

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A Change That Sticks: 6 Tips to Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Life


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fitnessWorkout? Right. I barely have time to do everything else on my to-do list.

This is something I have found myself saying over and over again. But as my body was beginning to change in ways I didn’t want and my energy level was decreasing, I knew I needed to make a change.

Where to Begin?

I will be the first to admit that exercising did not sound very fun to me. But I was dedicated to making a change. So I took the same approach to exercise as I did with eating more healthy: planning. I have found that planning is essential for making a change that works and a change that sticks.

Helpful Hints

1. Get out that planner or iPhone! Once again, look at your schedule for the week. What are your personal and family obligations? Write everything down. You’ll be able to see the gaps in your week and where you can fit in some time for exercise.

2. Pencil it in. This is my biggest tip! Write when you will workout in your planner. If it’s not incorporated into your schedule, chances are you won’t do it. Try working out in the morning before your day begins. You will get a spike of endorphins to start the day feeling energized! You’ll also have it out of the way for the day. However, if mornings just don’t seem to agree with you (which is the case with me), workout after you leave the office. Belong to a gym? Pack your gym bag in the car and stop there on your way home. This will help you avoid the temptation of getting home and not feeling like changing and driving to the gym.

Having trouble finding gaps of time during your day? Try these easy tips to get moving:

  1. Park further away
  2. Take the stairs
  3. Take a lap around the office during your break

3. Use Pinterest. Whether your goal is to complete a 5K or you just want to tone your muscles, Pinterest is a great place to find training plans and workout routines. I personally love using Pinterest to find circuit routines. You can search by target areas (abs, arms, legs, etc.) and even create boards for each. This will make life easier when you just want to find a quick routine to hit those trouble spots.

4. Aim for 30 minutes of cardio. Take the dog for a jog. Go on a walk with a neighbor. Do a bike ride with the family. Anything to get your heart pumping! Cardio has so many benefits including stronger heart and lungs, reduced stress, more energy and weight loss.

5. Aim for 20 minutes of toning. Weight training is great if you are looking to tone your muscles and lose inches. Whether it is weight machines at the gym or dumbbells at home, strength training provides many benefits including increased bone density and boosted stamina. Additionally, strength training helps control weight. As you gain more muscle, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently.

6. Fuel up after! During exercise, your body looses a lot of fuel. You burn through meals eaten earlier in the day and lose water through sweat. Eating after a workout is essential for the recovery of losses during a workout and for storing that recovery fuel. Generally, protein and carbs are the best things to eat. Protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during exercise, while carbohydrates replace glycogen and water losses during exercise. My favorite post workout snack is a banana and peanut butter :) But you could also make yourself a protein shake. My personal favorite is a “Nutty Shamrock” (almond milk, peanut butter, banana, spinach, chocolate protein powder and ice).

Remember, our body is meant to move!

Do you have a job where most hours are spent sitting at a desk? How do you feel at the end of the day? Your muscles are probably tight, your back aches and there is tension in your shoulders. Now think about how you feel after some physical activity. Your muscles are warm, flexible and blood is pumping through your body, providing oxygen and energy.

Our bodies are not meant be stationary. We are made to move! If you continue to exercise, I guarantee it will stick. Your body will get so accustomed to moving, that it will begin to crave the movement.

Since incorporating physical activity into my daily life, my body feels weird if I don’t do anything. I no longer see working out as a dreadful thing, but something that will energize me! And dare I say it, I have actually grown to enjoy exercising :) And my hope is that you will too! Remember, it takes 30 days to form a habit. So what if you miss a few days? We all have days that are jam-packed. But don’t give up! Tomorrow is a new day.

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A Change That Sticks: 6 Tips For Eating Well

veggiesYou’ve told yourself time and time again that you need to start taking better care of yourself.

But life just catches up to you. And so you tell yourself, “I’ll begin next week.” But as many of us know, the cycle tends to repeat itself.

So how do we break our habits and finally instill a change? And not an “exercise more and go on a diet” mentality, but an actual lifestyle change?

It all comes down to planning. If you really are committed to making a change in your life (and one that actually sticks), planning is key. It may seem as if you don’t have time to plan because life is so chaotic. But I promise that your exercise and food choices will be so much easier to follow through with if you take the time to plan them out.

Where to Begin?

Getting started is the hardest part. But my best advice is to sit down on a Sunday and look at your schedule for the week. What do you have going on? Lunch dates, doctor appointments? And what are your family members’ obligations for the week? Does your significant other have a business dinner? Do the kids have soccer practice?

Next, get out your planner or phone and write it all down.

Menu Planning

Now that you know where everyone has to be during the week, plan a menu around that. Here are a few tips:

  1. Use Pinterest. I love using Pinterest as a source for finding healthy recipes. I even have my boards broken up into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, etc. Whenever you’re bored or have a little free time, hop onto Pinterest for a few minutes and pin any recipes that sound good. In no time, you’ll have an arsenal of recipes to choose from.
  2. Think Clean, Green and Lean. There are many ways to get technical about nutrition, but think “clean, green and lean.” Clean eating is all about staying away from overly processed foods. Choose items that are closest to their natural state, such as fruits and vegetables. Also, eat as many green foods as you want! Green veggies contain essential vitamins and minerals, which you can never have too much of. Finally, choose lean meats such as chicken and turkey instead of more fatty meats like beef.
  3. Look for ways to maximize your time. If you know the kids have soccer practice on Wednesday, make a casserole on Tuesday night and have leftovers on Wednesday. This will save time and help you avoid hitting the drive-through on the way home from practice.
  4. Look for ways to stretch your dollar. Want to try a new recipe that calls for only half an avocado? Plan a lunch for the next day that also calls for an avocado. Another tip: eat in season. Choosing produce that is in season will cut back on your grocery bill. We’re all looking for ways to save money and a bit of extra thought while planning your menu can help.
  5. Write a grocery list as you go along. As you find recipes for week, note the ingredients. Before you hit the store, take a quick look around the kitchen to see if you have any of those ingredients already.
  6. Keep the menu plan on the refrigerator. Keep the menu posted for everyone in the family to see. This will help you know if you need to prep your lunch the night before or if you need to put a dinner in the crockpot that morning.

Although planning does take time and thought, I promise the effort is well worth it! And if you continue to be dedicated to planning out your week, the process will stick. It takes 30 days to form a habit, so don’t give up at first. Keep telling yourself the effort will be worth it when you know that you and your family are eating well.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where we’ll provide some tips to make exercise a part of your daily life.

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Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians: 3 Tips for Combating Over-Management


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businessman megaphoneI’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians.” Over-management is a common problem that many companies face. A multitude of employees can be barking orders, without any real forward progress for your company.

So how do wide-eyed, new hires sift through the noise and really know to whom to report? As a manager, or even CEO, how do you get your team and company back to an organizational structure without your employees feeling micromanaged?

Here are 3 tips to help you combat over-management:

  1. Focus On Your Company’s Mission. Everyone has ideas, which can be great for company innovation. But you may also have those employees who think their idea is the best thing ever and want to pursue it no matter what. As a manager, this is where you have to step in. Communicate that you love the employee’s enthusiasm behind their idea, but at this time, it is not the best route for company. Take the opportunity touch on your organization’s goals and mission. Getting your employees’ minds focused back on the heart of the organization will help them to better release the tight grip they have on their personal vision.
  2. Build Trust Within Your Team. A common problem that leads to over-management is a lack of trust. Co-workers may not trust one another to get the job done, so they take the reins on projects that may not necessarily be theirs. As a manager, take this opportunity to have a conversation or workshop with your department. Reiterate to your team what it means to trust someone, discuss setbacks to trust and how you can all do a better job.
  3. Explain That A Company Is Like A Human Body. Explain to your employees that the company will only be successful if they are a part of the team. For example, use the analogy of the human body. The body is joined and held together by supporting ligaments. When each part is working properly, it makes the body function and grow. Take the time to highlight each employee’s skills, talents and why they were hired. Not only will this boost each employee’s level of confidence, but it will reveal to employees that every person’s role is different, but valuable. Communicate that when capitalizing on employees’ individual strengths and working as a team, the company will be more productive and successful.

While combating over-management can be a tough issue to handle, a company with an organized structure and strong line of communication will increase efficiency and lead a to more successful organization.

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