TIME Management

Ex-Staffer: ‘I’d Rather Go to Iraq than Work for Carly Fiorina’

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks at TechCrunchÕs Disrupt conference on May 5, 2015 in New York City.
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks at TechCrunchÕs Disrupt conference on May 5, 2015 in New York City.

Ex-staffers have harsh words for Republican presidential candidate

Carly Fiorina apparently left a trail of unpaid, unhappy campaign staffers after her unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate bid. According to Reuters, the former HP CEO and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful waited more than four years to give her campaign staff the compensation they were promised.

“Federal campaign filings show that, until a few months before Fiorina announced her presidential bid on May 4, she still owed staffers, consultants, strategists, legal experts and vendors nearly half a million dollars,” Reuters reported.

Twelve ex-Fiorina campaign workers told Reuters that, if given the chance to work Fiorina again, they’d rather not. One anonymous senior staffer reportedly said they’d prefer to be sent to Iraq. Ouch.

To be sure, political campaigns often spend beyond their means and end up not having the funds to pay their staff. In many cases, the candidates themselves wind up footing the bill. In the end, Fiorina’s staffers got their paychecks.

Fiorina’s tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was particularly tumultuous and involved significant boardroom tension and a massive, strained merger with hardware giant Compaq.

 

TIME Culture

5 Leadership Lessons You Can Learn From Game of Thrones

Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister in HBO's "Game of Thrones."
HBO Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister in HBO's "Game of Thrones."

“Any man who must say, I am the king, is no true king”

Answer by Mira Zaslove on Quora.

1. “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. — Eddard Stark.

Don’t shy away from making tough calls. And just as importantly, do the unpleasant work to follow through. As Ned reminds us, “He who hides behind executioners soon forgets what death is.” Leaders who spend time in the trenches, doing the tough work, will take making tough decisions more seriously.

2. “A Lannister always pays his debts.” — Tyrion Lannister

In the workplace, the quickest way to lose respect, and power, is to promise things you can’t deliver. The surest way to get people to do things for you is for them to trust that you will do what you say you will in the future. Leaders follow through on their word. When they say they are going to do something, they do it.

3. “Any man who must say, I am the king, is no true king.” — Tywin Lannister

True power comes from where people believe it comes from. Not from where you say it comes from. The best leaders are followed based on the collective will, not because they say, “I am the boss.” Power and influence, often come from unexpected places.

4. “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” — Littlefinger

Chaotic times reveal a leader’s strength. When times are good, it’s easy to be the leader. Only when chaos reigns, do many leaders rise. Effective leaders aren’t thwarted by challenges. They use challenges to foist them higher. As Littefinger, highlights: “Many who try to climb fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them.” Leaders are not broken. They continue to climb.

5. “Winter is coming.” House Stark

Leaders remain vigilant. The world is uncertain. The best leaders always innovate, stay strong, and plan for the future. Being prepared for the unexpected is essential. Embrace winter, especially when everyone else is distracted and basking in the sun.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the best leadership lessons you can learn from Game of Thrones?

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Conversational Tips to Be More Confident

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Because having confidence carries many benefits

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Confidence can carry you through a lot in life. It can help you perform better in job interviews, appear more authoritative when addressing a crowd, and land more deals and partnerships in your business. Unfortunately, most of us don’t feel confident 100 percent of the time, and when we do feel confident it doesn’t always project outward in ways that enable us to succeed.

During the course of conversation, there are several tricks you can use to make your words sound more authoritative, and to address your audience with greater overall confidence. Here are seven of them.

1. Speak more slowly.

Some of us speak faster when we’re nervous. Some of us are naturally fast talkers. Regardless of your motivations, conscious or subconscious, speaking too quickly indicates a lack of authority or a lack of confidence. In addition, while speaking quickly, you’re more likely to make mistakes in your enunciation, and you have less time to think through your words. Focus on speaking more slowly in your conversation, allowing your words to draw out and giving your sentences a weightier rhythm. Your audience will have more time to digest the words you’re speaking, and you’ll be less likely to make any critical errors that compromise your speaking integrity.

2. Use pauses to your advantage.

Using pauses is another strategy that can help you speak slower, but it’s effective in its own right. Work on creatively using pauses to give more impact to your speaking. For example, if you have an opening for a public presentation that’s eight sentences long and you make a significant point after sentence three, throw in a sizable seconds-long pause. It will add more weight to whatever your last sentence was and give you audience time to soak it in. It also gives you a chance to collect your thoughts and prepare for the next section of your speech, adding to the total amount of authority and confidence you project.

3. Avoid asides.

In a scenario that allows for preparation, such as giving a speech to a public audience, asides are fine. You have advance time to prepare them, determine if they’re relevant, and include them if they are. In more natural conversations, however, improvised asides can be damaging. For example, if you’re in a job interview and you answer a question directly, then spiral into a related story about something that happened to you a few years ago, it could be a sign that you’re nervous and looking to fill conversational space. Instead, focus only on what’s immediately relevant.

4. Lower your vocal range.

Take a look at some of the most famous speeches throughout history, at currently popular politicians, and even at local newscasters. You’ll find that most of them have lower tones of voice, and this is no coincidence. People tend to view speakers with lower speaking voices as having more authority and confidence. As much as you can, practice speaking in a lower tone of voice. Don’t force yourself or you’ll sound unnatural, but if you can get yourself a tone or two lower, it can make a real difference.

5. Improve your posture.

Body language is just as important in conversation as the words that leave your mouth. Whether you’re sitting or standing in front of your audience, work to improve your posture. Stand or sit up straight with your shoulders back, and keep your head held high. This will make you appear bigger and more confident, and will help you feel more confident as well. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of aligning your body so you can breathe–and therefore speak–more efficiently. Posture can demand a lot of work, so make sure to practice in advance.

6. Gesticulate.

Gesticulation–the practice of using your hands and arms to punctuate or enhance your verbal statements–is another valuable body language strategy. Speakers who use body language actively in their presentation tend to be viewed as more confident and more authoritative than those who do not. Obviously, different hand gestures can signal different things, and if you simply wave your hands wildly in front of your audience, it may make you come across as out of control. Instead, focus on reserving your hand gestures for your most impactful words, and try to keep your movements reserved and under strict control.

7. Talk more.

The conversations that matter in our lives–whether they’re in the form of a public presentation or a business negotiation–are somewhat rare. But that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for those meaningful conversations in our everyday lives. Seek out new opportunities to communicate with others whenever you get the chance, and in any context. Put these speaking strategies to practice and focus on improving your abilities over time. The only way to get better is to plunge in and keep working at it, so sign up to be a public speaker when you can and strike up conversations with strangers wherever you go.

The beauty of these conversational tricks is their sheer practicality; they can be used anywhere, in almost any context where you’re speaking to one or more other people. Experiment with them by practicing on a friend or a colleague. Over time, they will become second nature to you, and your natural speaking voice will convey a greater overall level of confidence and authority.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com.

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TIME Careers & Workplace

The 9 Books Every Leader Should Read

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There are more than a million business books in print, and thousands more published every year. But what if, for some reason, you were only allowed to read nine books about managing people? (Why nine and not 10? I’ll explain at the end of the post.)

After giving it a lot of thought, here are the nine that I would recommend:

The Effective Executive

Subtitle: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Author: Peter F. Drucker

Why it’s a must read: This book is literally definitive in the sense that it definesmanagement at the executive level so clearly that most other serious management books takes this book’s concepts for granted. The Effective Executive also rejects the concept that an executive should encourage a personality cult among employees and the press. For Drucker, management means getting things done without grandstanding or being concerned about your public visibility.

Best quote: “Men of high effectiveness are conspicuous by their absence in executive jobs. High intelligence is common enough among executives. Imagination is far from rare. The level of knowledge tends to be high. But there seems to be little correlation between a man’s effectiveness and his intelligence, his imagination, or his knowledge. Brilliant men are often strikingly ineffectual; they fail to realize that the brilliant insight is not by itself achievement. They never have learned that insights become effectiveness only through hard systematic work. Conversely, in every organization there are some highly effective plodders. While others rush around in the frenzy and busyness which very bright people so often confuse with ‘creativity,’ the plodder puts one foot in front of the other and gets there first, like the tortoise in the old fable.”

The One Minute Manager

Authors: Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Why it’s a must read: The One Minute Manager, along with The Greatest Salesman in the World, is the best of the “teach through parables” style of business book. The advice it offers is mostly common sense, but it’s laid out in such easily understood terms and actionable advice that it makes common sense into something that’s uncommonly valuable.

Best quote: “The managers who were interested in results often seemed to be labeled ‘autocratic,’ while the managers interested in people were often labeled ‘democratic.’ The young man thought each of these managers–the ‘tough’ autocrat and the ‘nice’ democrat–were only partially effective. ‘It’s like being half a manager,’ he thought. He returned home tired and discouraged. He might have given up his search long ago, but he had one great advantage. He knew exactly what he was looking for. ‘Effective managers,’ he thought, ‘manage themselves and the people they work with so that both the organization and the people profit from their presence.'”

Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel

Subtitle: A Guide to Outwitting Your Boss, Your Coworkers, and the Other Pants-Wearing Ferrets in Your Life

Author: Scott Adams

Why it’s a must read: Adams’s earlier book, The Dilbert Principle, outlined the absurdity and inconsistency of the business world. This book goes deeper into management and decision making, explaining why everyone’s experience at work differs so greatly from the idealized picture that’s provided in books like The Effective Manager and The One Minute Manager. If you’ve got a sense of humor, this book will definitely make you laugh, but it will probably be the uncomfortable laugh resulting from seeing a bit too much of your own inner weasel.

Best quote: “There’s a gigantic gray area between good moral behavior and outright felonious activities. I call that the Weasel Zone* and it’s where most of life happens. (Note: *Sometimes known as Weaselville, Weaseltown, the Way of the Weasel, Weaselopolis, Weaselburg, and Redmond.)”

The Age of Unreason

Author: Charles Handy

Why it’s a must read: Every book you’ve read about the digital age, disruptive innovation, massive change, etc., is based on this book. This was the first book to really nail the fact that what we now call the Mad Men era was disappearing and that we were about to slip into a crazy period where none of the old rules work and nothing makes much sense. It’s a quick read and some of his observations are dated, but it’s really amazing how much he got right and how much later business writers have stolen his ideas.

Best quote: “We are now entering an Age of Unreason, when the future, in so many areas, is there to be shaped by us and for us–a time when the only prediction that will hold true is that no predictions will hold true; a time, therefore, for bold imaginings in private life as well as public, for thinking the unlikely and doing the unreasonable.”

The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

Why it’s a must read: This book is usually read as if it were a collection of fortune cookie proverbs. That misses the point, though, because this book is actually a philosophy of life that extends to every type of leadership. It’s one of those books that you can read 50 times and get something different with each successive reading. The edition that I’ve linked into the heading above is not just a beautiful work in the art of publishing but also contains the best commentary and notes, all of which can deepen your understanding.

Best quote: “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

Don’t Bring It to Work

Subtitle: Breaking the Family Patterns That Limit Success

Author: Sylvia Lafair

Why it’s a must read: If you’ve ever wondered why the people you work with behave in such strange ways, wonder no more. As this book clearly explains, whatever happened or is happening in their family is reflecting and repeating itself at work. What’s truly valuable about this book is that it identifies the personality types that cause problems and then explains exactly how to use and redirect the problematic behavior so that it serves the goals of the team.

Best quote: “Once you learn how people’s past family life and their work behaviors connect at a core level, you’ll know where performance problems originate and conflict starts. Then you’ll gain skills to do something about it. The reason most organizational programs abort is that they fail to deal with our life patterns, which are at the foundation of workplace anxiety, tension, and conflict.”

The Prince

Author: Niccolo Machiavelli

Why it’s a must read: This is a book of bad advice. It was supposed to be “how-to” guide for leaders in Italy at a time when every city was fighting every other city and the entire region was full of mercenaries, inquisitors, and other unsavory types. Why do I include it? Simple. This book accurately predicts the decisions of a sociopath in a management role. As such, it’s perfect defense against predatory competitors and allows you to keep one step ahead.

Best quote: “And here comes in the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.”

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Subtitle: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

Author: John C. Maxwell

Why it’s a must read: Sometimes it seems like everyone in the management consulting business has a list of principles, habits, laws, rules, and so forth that explain everything you really need to know. What’s funny about all those books, though, is that they’re all valid! Leadership is such a complicated phenomenon that it’s possible to describe it in hundreds of different ways. That being said, this book (of all the other books of this type) is the easiest to read, with techniques that are easy to apply. (Note: In this category, I went back and forth between this book and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. But 7 Habits gets a little preachy, so I finally settled on this book.)

Best quote: “Instinctively, successful people understand that focus is important to achievement. But leadership is very complex. During a break at a conference where I was teaching the 21 Laws, a young college student came up to me and said: ‘I know you are teaching 21 Laws of Leadership, but I want to get to the bottom line.’ With intensity, he raised his index finger and asked, ‘What is the one thing I need to know about leadership?’ Trying to match his intensity, I raised my index finger and answered, ‘The one thing you need to know about leadership is that there is more than one thing you need to know about leadership!'”

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie

Why it’s a must read: The writing style is a bit corny and the anecdotes incredibly out-of-date, and yet it’s a well of wisdom that has yet to run dry. Everyone I’ve known who has read this book cover to cover (and made the effort to implement its lessons) has been successful, if not in business then in their personal life. This book has been a bestseller for decades and is likely to be a bestseller for decades to come. There’s so much in this book that for the quote, I just plucked out one that’s helped me in my interactions with colleagues and family members.

Best quote: “Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”

Why Only Nine?

I was going to make this a top 10 list but then it occurred to me that every reader probably has a favorite that’s helped them to be successful but that is not on this list. If that’s the case with you, leave me a comment or send me an email. I’d love to know what’s working for you.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com.

TIME

How to Ace the Most Important Part of Your Job Interview

Handshake illustration
Anna Parini

You're a perfect fit for the job. But that doesn't mean you're definitely going to get it

We’ve all been there. You aced the job interview and your credentials are a perfect fit for the position. Now comes the hard part – the ‘beer test’ or the personality test, a casual chat over drinks or dinner meant to determine how well you will fit with an organization on a personal level. Since your resume can’t really capture what kind of person you are, both you and the interviewer are walking into an unknown situation with unpredictable results.

But despite the dangers of the process, it’s possible to pass the test with flying colors if you recognize the priorities of your potential employer and the questions they are really trying to answer:

What else are you good at other than work?

This may seem irrelevant to the job but it’s not. While serving on the board of a mid-sized radio group, I was tasked with identifying and hiring a new Chief Operating Officer. The leading candidate was a long-time consultant for media companies who checked all the technical boxes for the job. However, learning about her passion for composing music in her spare time and sailing gave me a sense of a well-rounded person who could not only manage the firm’s logistical operations but also liaison with the quirky radio personalities that were our bread and butter.

She got the job and was extremely successful at securing popular new radio hosts for us, many of whom enjoyed discussing her music with her more than audience ratings. She also organized a sailing outing for the firm, which was a hit with the employees. Revealing your outside interests can help your interviewer see the three-dimensional person you are and (maybe) tap into some of your hidden talents.

Are you socially adept?

There are two aspects to this. Some very smart and capable people are bad at social interaction. In some professions, such as medical research or back-office accounting, that might not matter. But in other jobs, such as in marketing, sales, or even general management, social skills are extremely important and can determine your ability to do your job. How well you engage with your interviewer during a beer test will show him or her how good you are at interpersonal communication.

In addition, your future employer may be trying to gauge if you know how to socialize with a work colleague, which is not necessarily the same as with your friends. When spending time with a colleague, you need to be aware of personal boundaries that would be dangerous to breach. You may not, for example, want to discuss the subject of dating, which a colleague might consider intrusive and which could cause problems in the work environment later. It also opens up the company to lawsuits.

Being friends with your co-workers without being too friendly isn’t easy but essential, especially in smaller organizations where socializing is inevitable. Too much closeness can lead to awkwardness, misunderstandings, and office gossip. When confronted with this type of challenge, your best bet is to show your acumen by using it – chat engagingly but casually, avoid sensitive topics, and show your interviewer that you know how to have a good time within boundaries.

Are you Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?

In vino veritas as the saying goes. In wine (or beer) there is truth. This is probably the single most important reason for employers to want to meet a candidate socially. We all put on our best face during official interviews, but from an employer’s standpoint that can be a problem. After all, no one wants to hire the polished Dr. Jekyll and wind up with the wild Mr. Hyde instead – especially in the age of social media where that picture of you dancing on a table with your shirt off can go viral.

A social outing tends to entice people to let their guard down. That’s totally fine, as long as you don’t let it too far down and maintain the same decorum you would with anyone you respect. Another vital thing to remember is that just because it’s called a beer test doesn’t mean that you have to overload on the beer. Whenever you’re around co-workers, it’s always best to moderate your drinking, and this is something a smart interviewer will watch for.

And if you’re a party animal who just can’t help himself, and manage to offend your potential employer with your behavior, then you may be better off working at a different company or in another profession.

Why do you really want the job?

When interviewing analyst candidates during my investment banking days, I would routinely receive canned answers to this question, but what I was really looking for was that spark of honesty that gave me confidence the candidate was truly motivated to work at the firm and would go that extra mile for his or her job.

In a beer test, the logic is that without the pressure of being in an interview room, a candidate will feel more comfortable giving a heartfelt answer to the question. If you’re in this position, keep in mind that there isn’t one ‘right’ answer. In some cases, the fact that you want to use the job as a stepping stone to some other career in the distant future is perfectly acceptable – as long as it’s clear to the employer that you’ve really thought about it and have a convincing motivation to excel at the job.

The problem arises when you really don’t have a compelling reason for wanting the job except for being unemployed at the time. If all you want is a paycheck and the job you’re interviewing for requires deep commitment, then the job may not be right for you. That’s a reason to take a step back, be honest with yourself as well as your future employer, and decide if you have a better reason for taking that job.

Great employees flourish in great jobs, but only if the two are compatible. The beer test is designed to determine this very intangible.

Sanjay Sanghoee is a business commentator. He has worked at investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, at hedge fund Ramius Capital, and has an MBA from Columbia Business School.

TIME Singapore

Late Singapore Leader Lee Kuan Yew Had Opinions on Everything

Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, March 20, 2013 in Singapore
Wong Maye-E—AP Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, March 20, 2013 in Singapore

Singapore's founding father shared his opinions on everything from democracy and leadership to terrorism and his late wife

Lee Kuan Yew had a strong opinion about most anything. As he once said, “I have been accused of many things in my life, but not even my worst enemy has ever accused me of being afraid to speak my mind.” Here’s a sampling of his other pronouncements over the decades:

On Singapore

We have created this out of nothingness, from 150 souls in a minor fishing village into the biggest metropolis two degrees north of the equator.

I have had to sing four national anthems: Britain’s “God Save the Queen,” Japan’s “Kimigayo,” Malaysia’s “Negara Ku,” and finally Singapore’s “Majulah Singapura;” such were the political upheavals of the last 60 years.

One arm of my strategy was to make Singapore into an oasis in Southeast Asia, for if we had First World standards, then businessmen and tourists would make us a base for their business and tours of the region.

To succeed, Singapore must be a cosmopolitan center, able to attract, retain, and absorb talent from all over the world.

Singapore is now a brand name.

My greatest satisfaction comes from … mustering the will to make this place meritocratic, corruption-free and equal for all races—and that it will endure beyond me.

On Democracy

One person, one vote is a most difficult form of government. From time to time, the results can be erratic. People are sometimes fickle. They get bored with stable, steady improvements in life, and in a reckless moment, they vote for a change for change’s sake.

In new countries, democracy has worked and produced results only when there is an honest and effective government, which means a people smart enough to elect such a government. Elected governments are only as good as the people who choose them.

Contrary to what American political commentators say, I do not believe that democracy necessarily leads to development. I believe that what a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy. The exuberance of democracy leads to undisciplined and disorderly conditions which are inimical to development. The ultimate test of the value of a political system is whether it helps that society to establish conditions which improve the standard of living for the majority of its people, plus enabling the maximum of personal freedoms compatible with the freedoms of others in society.

There is no level playing-field of any government helping the opposition to win votes.

The weakness of democracy is that the assumption that all men are equal and capable of equal contribution to the common good is flawed.

On the U.S.

For the next two to three decades, America will remain the sole superpower. The U.S. is the most militarily powerful and economically dynamic country in the world. It is the engine for global growth through its innovation, productivity, and consumption. Today and for the next few decades, it is the U.S that will be preeminent in setting the rules of the game.

What has made the U.S. economy preeminent is its entrepreneurial culture … Entrepreneurs and investors alike see risk and failure as natural and necessary for success. When they fail, they pick themselves up and start afresh.

On Terrorism

Militant Islam feeds upon the insecurities and alienation that globalization generates among the less successful. And because globalization is largely U.S.-led and driven, militant Islam identifies America and Americans as the threat to Islam. That America steadfastly supports Israel aggravates their sense of threat.

The war against terrorism will be long and arduous.

On China

China’s history of over 4,000 years was one of dynastic rulers, interspersed with anarchy, foreign conquerors, warlords and dictators. The Chinese people had never experienced a government based on counting heads instead of chopping off heads. Any revolution toward representative government would be gradual.

China’s neighbors are unconvinced by China’s ritual phrases that all countries big and small are equal or that China will never seek hegemony.

If the U.S. tries to thwart China’s growth, China will surely want to return the compliment when it can do so.

China wants to be China and accepted as such, not as an honorary member of the West.

On Leadership

I was never a prisoner of any theory. What guided me were reason and reality. The acid test I applied to every theory or scheme was: Would it work?

The acid test is in performance, not promises.

It is not from weakness that one commands respect.

As long as the leaders take care of their people, they will obey the leaders.

On His Late Wife, and Life and Death

She’s gone. All that is left behind are her ashes. I will be gone and all that will be left behind will be ashes. For reasons of sentiment, well, put them together. But to meet in afterlife? Too good to be true.

There is an end to everything and I want mine to come as quickly and painlessly as possible, not with me incapacitated, half in coma in bed and with a tube going into my nostrils and down to my stomach. In such cases, one is little more than a body.

Do not intervene to save life. Let me go naturally.

I am not given to making sense out of life, or coming up with some grand narrative of it. I have done what I had wanted to, to the best of my ability. I am satisfied.

Sources: Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World; Lee Kuan Yew: One Man’s View of the World; The Wit & Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew

Read next: Global Leaders Pay Respects After the Passing of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

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TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Conventions and Trade Shows

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Take a look at these 10 simple tips for getting your brand out there at trade shows

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Every startup CEO needs to sell. Nothing is more important than getting your product out in the market and finding folks to pay real dollars for it. There’s no shortage of sales approaches — emails, cold calls, networking events, catchy banner ads, knocking on doors, etc. They’re all worth a shot.

But I’ve found that for my companies, I get the best ROI from attending conferences, conventions or trade shows. In two days at a conference, you can achieve what could take months sitting at your computer, all in a fun location. I’m writing this surrounded by palm trees in Miami, where it’s 75 degrees.

As with anything else, it pays to prepare for a conference. Based on my experience, I’ve come up with 10 tips to help you get the most out of every conference you attend.

  1. Plan ahead. Figure out the conferences that work best for your business (hint: they’re rarely the hyped startup conferences like SXSW, although those are a lot of fun). You’ll be amazed by how many associations and trade groups there are in every industry. Get creative. Go where your competitors aren’t. Keep a running list of all the conferences you hear about, and prioritize that list based on two key metrics: Who you will meet and how much it will cost.
  2. Do your homework. Look through every detail on the conference website. Check out who’s sponsoring, speaking and exhibiting. If that information isn’t available on the website, look at last year’s program. Decide whether it’s a conference worth attending. And once you pull the trigger, plan for specific sessions. Leave plenty of time to walk the exhibit hall floor. I’ve found that the best time to do this is during a keynote speech you don’t mind skipping. The floor is empty, so vendors will spend more time chatting with you.
  3. Be frugal but smart. Don’t let a limited budget get in your way. Go to a few conferences as an attendee before shelling out the big bucks for an exhibit booth. Find conferences that are close to your home. When traveling, crash with friends or use AirBnB to save on hotels. Conference registration fees aren’t cheap, so always ask for startup discounts. They’re not listed on the websites, but the organizers may just hook you up. Even if they say no, they may offer to walk the floor with you to show you around and make valuable introductions.
  4. Schedule meetings. Reach out to industry experts, vendors, and conference organizers in advance. Introduce yourself and ask them for a few minutes of their time while you’re at the conference. I’ve found that sending an email and a LinkedIn message at the same time gets the highest response rates. Before sending out cold emails, check LinkedIn for mutual contacts who may be able to introduce you. And write concise messages (five sentences max)!
  5. Be persistent. You won’t hear back right away from most contacts. Conference speakers and organizers tend to be busy folks. Give it a few days, then send a follow-up note. If they don’t reply before the conference, don’t take it personally.
  6. Stay organized. I email anywhere from 50 to 200 people per conference. There’s no way to keep track of all those emails without a system. I use Google Docs spreadsheets, where I list all the key information for each contact (name, title, email, status, interesting facts, etc). Use whatever system works best for you to stay organized. And stick to it.
  7. Know what you’re looking for. On the plane to the conference, write down key objectives and critical questions. Then show up with a laser focus. It’s all too easy to get distracted by the overwhelming number of sessions, exhibit halls full of tchotchkes you’ll never use and free booze. But remember that you are there to learn and establish connections. Ask questions. Sales will come if you approach the conference with patience and humility. Companies want to help you if you’re a startup looking for advice, rather than a nagging salesman.
  8. Be social (media). You’re probably younger and more social-media savvy than the rest of the attendees. Use that to your advantage. Tweet about the conference using the official hashtags. I did that recently, and on the last day they presented a wrap-up full of attendee’s tweets. Mine kept popping up on the screen, and the presenter thanked my company for its “terrific tweets.” As you can imagine, this was great free publicity for us.
  9. Be social (-izing). Don’t get stuck on your phone or sitting in conference sessions all day. Networking events are where you’ll strike up those all-important conversations. Even if they cost an extra few bucks, sign up. Remember to bring lots of business cards, and go light on the vodka shots (unless you’re at the U.S. Drinks Conference, in which case the shots may be acceptable). And don’t just limit your socializing to the formal events. The more open you are to striking up conversations, the more doors you’ll open.
  10. Follow up. If you follow these tips, you’ll collect dozens of business cards at the conference. But that’s just the beginning. On the plane back home, write a personalized email to every contact. Briefly rehash what your company does and why it could be interesting for that contact. Send emails that are friendly, personal and short, and watch the replies fly in.

Happy hunting! Looking forward to seeing you at a conference soon.

David Adelman is the Head of Business Development and Growth Strategy at Snagajob, America’s largest marketplace connecting hourly job seekers and employers. Prior to Snagajob, David founded two video startups- Reel Tributes and ReelGenie. David graduated with an MBA from Wharton and an AB from Harvard, and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Melissa and Shih Tzu puppy Samson.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

TIME Business School

5 Things You Can’t Learn in Business School

Howard HBCU
Jonathan Ernst—Reuters Graduates celebrate during the 2014 graduation ceremonies at Howard University, a well-known HBCU, in Washington on May 10, 2014.

An MBA will help your career but some skills you need to learn outside campus

Let me start by saying that I have an MBA and am proud of my alma mater. Business schools provide a valuable education and professional network, but there are some skills they can’t always cultivate:

  1. Ethics. Teaching ethics as a course is difficult to begin with. As a result, business schools often focus on how ethical behavior can help companies improve their profits, which makes sense. But while honest business practices are definitely essential to the well-being of a company, real ethics require taking the profit motive out of the equation in order to be genuine. Outside of the MBA program, students themselves need to recognize that ethical behavior is its own reward instead of a cost-benefit equation.
  1. Humility. Business schools, especially those that turn out high-octane bankers and executives, can fail to balance the confidence that they inculcate in their graduates with humility. This breeds arrogance, which can harm businesses. Like ethics, humility is challenging to teach in a classroom, but the result of ambitious people exerting authority in organizations without recognizing their limitations can be disastrous. MBA programs could do more but companies themselves are better positioned to address this issue; they can engender humility by putting employees through the paces and emphasizing self-awareness before giving them more control.
  1. Diplomacy. The ability to navigate volatile situations or people at work, to negotiate with your peers or boss without creating an argument, and lead an organization without resorting to a draconian management style is an invaluable asset. In its simplest form diplomacy is tact, in a deeper form, true empathy with others. This can enable you to disagree with your co-workers or build consensus with minimum friction and maximum effect. But since this is more an art than a professional skill, business school students should make an effort to learn it outside. Today’s workplace, populated by millennials who demand more respect and empathy from companies than previous generations, requires diplomacy more than ever.
  1. Deconstructive thinking. Deconstructive thinking is about breaking a business situation into its component parts and reassembling it in an optimized fashion. For example, the CEO of a bakery chain looking to enter a new market might modify his company’s supply chain so that he can deliver bread to retailers from the closest distribution points, thereby minimizing transport costs and ensuring freshness of the product. Lengthy analysis can lead to the same result but the real skill is in being able to rapidly see the full picture with all its intricacies, and adapt. An MBA can help develop this faculty only partially; most of it comes from prolonged work experience.
  1. Judgement. The modern business world, with its heavy and fast-paced workload, requires constant prioritizing and the aptitude to differentiate between the important and the irrelevant. Yet many business school graduates enter the workforce seemingly without the judgment to do effective triage. The likely reason is an overemphasis on ‘productivity’ instead of ‘efficiency’. Think of it as working hard rather than working smart. MBA programs, probably responding to the rigorous demands of today’s job market, are more concerned with developing reliable workhorses than in cultivating thoughtfulness in how those people perform their jobs. But students can pick this up on their own by asking the simple question: ‘what’s really important?’

As business schools increasingly require prior work experience for new students, you may gain some of the above skills through interaction with your peers, and an MBA will still help you further your career. But recognizing the limits of a classroom education is also important for rounding out your professional skill set and setting you on the path to success.

Sanjay Sanghoee has an MBA from Columbia Business School. He has worked at investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, and at hedge fund Ramius Capital.

Read next: 10 Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You a Job

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TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Behaviors That Strong Leaders Do Not Display

business-meeting
Getty Images

Being a strong leader requires equal amounts of self-awareness, self-management and humility

Most people associate a weak leader with being docile, deferential, timid or meek. While that may have some merit, weak leaders can also be bombastic, egocentric, domineering, dictatorial and imperious. Even if you are successful at adding to the bottom line, bringing in new clients or developing new products and services, if people are not seeking you out or jockeying to be on your team, you are a weak leader.

Here are seven behaviors that beset a weak leader:

1. Your team routinely suffers from burnout.

Being driven and ambitious are important traits for successful leaders. However, if you are excessively working your people or churning through staff, than you are not effectively using your resources. You may take pride in your productivity by doing more with less, but today’s success may undermine long-term organizational health.

Crisis management can become a way of life that reduces morale and drives away or diminishes the effectiveness of dedicated people. With any business, there are times when you have to burn the midnight oil but it should also be accompanied with time for your team to recharge and refuel.

Related: How Google’s Marissa Mayer Prevents Burnout

2. You avoid making the tough call.

A decision needs to be made and you are dancing around the situation. This can stem from the need to be 100 percent certain or not having confidence in your abilities. So you keep sending people off to find more facts in order to get as close to 100 percent as possible. Routinely you wait until the last possible moment so if the decision turns out to be off the mark you can say “we” ran out of time or “we” did not have all the information. In the meantime, you hold up the process and have people spinning their wheels searching for certainty (that more often than not does not’t exist) while other work is not getting done.

3. You do not provide adequate direction.

You are in a rush to get a project or assignment underway but you have not thought through what you want. You gather your team together for a quick kick-off meeting and start thinking out loud. Your meandering unfocused thought process leads to divergent tangents that are contradictory and leave people confused. At the end of the meeting, you still have not clearly communicated concrete goals and objectives and many murky areas are left open to interpretation. Ultimately, you’re leaving it up to the team to figure out and take the “I’ll know it when I see it approach”. As the team leaves the meeting they quietly whisper, “Here we go again”. Knowing the assignment will be a chaotic mess.

4. You belittle your team members in a public setting.

Dressing down someone on your team in a meeting or public setting is a fast track to a bad reputation as a leader. You may think that what someone did or said was stupid. Making a point of it in a meeting only demonstrates that you are unstable and a loose cannon.

Weak leaders will habitually demean others as a way of making themselves look or feel better. If someone is deserving of constructive criticism, do it in private. Creating a spectacle in a meeting in which you make everyone uncomfortable does not put you in power position. Quite the contrary, good people will not tolerate such actions and you will be left with a feeble team that will deliver mediocre results because they are afraid of you.

Related: 3 Questions to Ask to Determine If You Are a Good Leader

5. You make commitments but do not follow through.

You routinely swoop into an important client meeting, and to assert your position, you seize the moment with grand gestures and assurances that you will personally see certain actions through. This makes you look good for the moment but once you have received your glory with the client there is no follow through on your promise(s). You move on to the next big thing and the rest of the team is left to pick up the slack and figure out how to address what the client thinks is a done deal. Over time, this is will diminish your credibility and people will view you as all talk and no action.

6. You ask multiple people to work on the same request independently.

This may seem like a good idea since you will have more to choose from and a greater probability it will get done to your satisfaction. However, when people find out, they will feel angry and frustrated because you have pulled multiple people away from their regular assignment to work on your special project. This is especially damaging if you do not use someone’s work. It will signal that you do not trust either of them enough to do the job. Or it will mean you take a scattershot approach to managing the business hoping that something will stick. In either case, it will begin to erode your leadership position.

7. You don’t provide honest feedback.

In order not to hurt someone’s feelings, or to keep them happy, you do not provide truthful actionable feedback. This can be about their performance, likelihood of being promoted or whether you see them as a long-term player on your team or with the company. By skirting the issue you create unrealistic expectations for the person on your team and confusion when implied promises are not kept. Left unchecked, people will place little credence in what you say assuming everything that comes out of your mouth is a half-truth. Providing tough, yet fair, feedback is a hallmark on a strong leader. In the long run, people will appreciate your candor.

Being a strong leader requires equal amounts of self-awareness, self-management and humility.

Related: Turns Out, Humility Offers a Competitive Advantage

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

TIME Next Generation Leaders

Mark Zuckerberg Has Advice for Young People Who Want to Change the World

Mark Zuckerberg attendes Mobile World Congress 2015
David Ramos—Getty Images Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference during the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 2, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

The Facebook founder and CEO knows experience isn't everything

Advice is a valuable commodity when it comes to learning leadership. But according to Mark Zuckerberg, sometimes listening to yourself is the most important advice.

The Facebook CEO held a town hall-style question and answer session at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Mar. 4, where he addressed topics such as his hiring practices, the ideal team size and working with Sheryl Sandberg.

But one of the most insightful moments from the Q&A came when Zuckerberg was asked what advice he had for young people with world-changing ideas. The 30-year-old billionaire said, “The most important thing is to just have faith in yourself and trust yourself. When you’re young, you hear that you don’t have experience to do things, that there are people that have more experience than you. [But] I started Facebook when I was 19.”

“Don’t discount yourself, no matter what you’re doing,” he continued. “Everyone has a unique perspective that they can bring to the world.”

Read next: The One Question Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Asks About Every Potential Hire

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