P: 866.989.5099

  • 28/03/2014

    Leadership Lessons from Winnie the Pooh: What Leaders Can Learn from a Fictional Bear

    Created by English author A.A. Milne in 1926, Winnie the Pooh is not only a beloved children's book character, but also a noted philosopher. No, it's true! The teddy bear with a taste for honey has been the subject of several serious books that examine the deeper meaning of his simple sayings and ideas. One author even concluded that Pooh has a lot to teach us about leadership. Pooh

    Published in 2011, Winnie-the-Pooh on Management was written by Roger E. Allen as a primer for business leaders. Why them? According to the author, failure to master or even grasp the basics of management is the ultimate undoing of most businesses. Using our favorite bear's simple, homespun phrases, he is able to cut through the jargon and establish clear objectives, which are the hallmarks of strong leadership. What does Winnie have to teach us? We're glad you asked!

    Attitude is Everything

    Why do people follow their bosses in the business world? Believe it or not, it's not only because they sign their paychecks. A good leader has the uncanny ability to get the most out of those who work under them, often because they have a positive attitude that's downright infectious. And as we will see from this brief exchange between Winnie the Pooh and his best pal Piglet, he had it too:

    “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

    “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

    “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

    “It’s the same thing,” he said.

    He might not be as introspective or articulate as his friend, but Pooh is a consummate optimist who takes life as it comes. He is seldom nervous or apprehensive about anything, which is his defining character trait. Business leaders would be prudent to follow his fine example, since a positive attitude can go a long way at the office.

    Listening is Imperative

    The wisest character in the Pooh books is Owl, a friend who often gives Winnie good advice. Here is one popular passage that speaks volumes about Winnie's mindset:

     Pooh Quote“Well, said Owl, “the customary procedure in such cases is as follows.”

    “What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?” said Pooh.  “For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain and long words Bother me.”

    “It means the Thing to Do.”

    “As long as it means that, I don’t mind,” said Pooh humbly.

    As you may have noticed, Winnie is not threatened by the fact that Owl knows more than him--just as bosses should not be threatened when their workers have a greater grasp of a certain subject. Instead, they should use that knowledge for the benefit of the team, rather than letting their ego get in the way of a golden opportunity. At the end of the day, leaders must realize, like Pooh, that they don't and can't possibly know everything. That's why they have employees!

    The above was but a brief sampling of the sage advice and modest wisdom of one of the world's most famous bears. There are, of course, many more kernels of truth hidden within the pages of his books. We invite and encourage you to look examine them all.

  • 07/03/2014

    The Team that Volunteers Together Stays Together: 3 Ways Your Workplace Can Give Back

    Ask any human resources manager what their single biggest challenge is and they're sure to say it's keeping their staff intact.  In the age of job-hopping, when the average worker stays with a company for only a few years, employee retention has become a critical issue. The never-ending cycle of losing and replacing workers not only hurts efficiency and the bottom line, it also can damage employee morale. What are business leaders to do?Volunteering

    Altruism to the Rescue

    It might surprise you to learn that most job applicants want to work for companies with a reputation for community service and engagement. Even the youngest generation in the workforce, the so-called Millennials, say that volunteering at work is important to them. In fact, a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 88% of Millennials gravitate toward companies that have good corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Here are 3 ways your business can help itself while helping others.

    Click for Charity

    The easiest and most efficient way to give back is to go online and donate directly to the charity of your choice. Websites like charitynavigator.org let users search for and contribute to both local and national charities. The main advantage of this virtual strategy is efficiency, since you can give as much as you like, as often as you like, in a matter of minutes.Charity Navigator

    Although this method should make your staff feel better about the work they do because it helps those in need, it will not provide the meaningful one-on-one interactions and experiences that come with donating time rather than money. However, this is a great option for larger companies that want to give money to multiple charities across the nation and around the world.

    Sponsorship

    Philanthropic organizations are always in need of fundraising sponsors for the events they coordinate. While most businesses donate because they believe in the cause, they also receive good press when their company's name is attached to a charity or fund-raising event. This can go a long way on the local level and should serve as a source of pride for your entire staff.

    Although most sponsorships are one-time, short-term commitments, it is possible to partner with a charity that shares your values for a much longer period of time. Depending on the arrangement, this may allow your workers to take a more active role in the philanthropic organization, including volunteering and organizational assignments.

    In-Kind Contributions

    You don't always have to give money to contribute to a charity. An in-kind contribution is defined as a non-cash donation that involves goods, services, and non-monetary transactions. Here are a few common examples of in-kind donations:

    • Loaning out company space for charity auctions, fundraising, or special events
    • Devising a marketing plan for a philanthropic organization, free of charge
    • Allowing a charity to use your office equipment, supplies, and space at no cost

    In-kind contributions are great for local businesses that want to give back to their community without having to donate large sums of money. It is no wonder they are extremely popular with small businesses that want to get involved but can't write huge checks like the major corporations.

    No matter which option you choose, donating time and/or money can help improve job satisfaction by keeping employees interested, engaged and connected with their colleagues in a shared effort to help others. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving to all involved.

  • 11/02/2014

    6 Spontaneous Ways to Boost Morale: How to Inject Your Work with Fun

    You spend 1/3 of your life working and, if you’re lucky, 1/3 of it sleeping.  Between all the things you have to do in the other 8 hours, you probably find yourself having little time to fit in fun.

    PizzaWorkplaces tend to fall into routines that leave you feeling a bit like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.”  Don’t despair though; we’re here to offer you some ideas that will help you liven up your team and bring a little sunshine to the daily drill.

    1.  Pizza Party

    Never underestimate the value of pizza.  Though the idea of a pizza party may seem juvenile, we challenge you to just try to think of a time free pizza wasn’t a welcomed sight.  If spirits are dragging, surprise your team with some hot, delicious pies for no reason at all.

    To sweeten the deal, encourage everyone to hang out and enjoy lunch together instead of retreating back to their desks.  It’s a fun way to take a quick break while also expressing your appreciation for everyone’s work.

    2.      Quote Board

    If your workplace is anything like ours, people say some pretty quote-worthy things from time to time.  For whatever reason, everyone in the vicinity breaks down in giggles and someone even posts it on Facebook.

    SO, why not go old school with a dry erase quote board? Keep it in a high-traffic spot (like the coffee machine) and encourage people to write down funny comments they say and hear.  It’ll provide a laugh as you mix your cream and sugar, while also strengthening team bonds.

     3.  SEAL

    Stop Everything and Laugh.  If things are too quiet and it seems like everyone needs a lift, call a mandatory SEAL.  Send out a link to a funny video and take a few minutes to watch it together.  It may take 5 minutes out of your day, but it will leave a smile on faces all day.

     4.  Fee Compliments

    During your next weekly meeting, take 20 minutes to give everyone a personal morale boost.  It’s easier than it sounds – just tape a large piece of paper with each person’s name on it around the room.  Ask everyone to walk around, silently and leave an anonymous compliment on each poster.  At the end, you all walk out with a lovely reminder of why your team values you.  Chances are, you’ll see them displayed proudlyBreakfast near many people’s desks.

     5.  Breakfast Club

    Start a weekly breakfast club by inviting the whole group to sign up, on a volunteer basis.  Put everyone in pairs or small groups, assign each group a date and have them bring breakfast for the rest of the club on their designated morning.  You’d be surprised how much it can brighten your Wednesday morning to walk into a kitchen filled with free breakfast.

    6.  Awards Show

    Without announcing it beforehand, the next time you have everyone together, present funny paper awards.  They don’t even have to be related to work performance.  Try categories like, “Best Homemade Lunches,” “Funniest One Liners,” or “Best Copy Machine Fixer.”  You can even make it a weekly or monthly tradition if you need to build in time for fun.

    The people with whom you work often end up becoming your second family, and some of your best friends, so it’s important to make sure that environment remains healthy and happy.  The best surefire way to do that is to consistently make time for laughter, bonding and fun.

  • 23/01/2014

    The Argument for Delegation: Why Great Leaders are Master Delegators

    Behind every great leader is a great team.

    That may not be a common saying, but it ought to be.

    Even the most capable, intelligent and experienced leaders cannot accomplish much on their own; from the person who makes the coffee all the way up to the boss’s right hand man, everyone helps get the job done.Leader

    When leaders fail, it’s often because of a failure to properly delegate and manage their team.  The best leaders know how and when to tap the skills and strengths of those around them.  These are the golden rules when it comes to doing it well.

    #1:  Plan, Plan, Plan

    Master delegators take a big job and break it up into reasonably-sized pieces, which then get distributed amongst the team.  When some people hear the word, “Delegation,” they think it’s just a fancy way to say that you’re passing off your work to someone else when you can’t handle it.  Not so.

    Skilled leaders don’t just delegate as needed; it’s part of the plan from the start.  As soon as a large task comes down the pipeline, they start their attack plan.  The first step is breaking it down and creating realistic deadlines for each piece.  This big picture overview is crucial before diving down into details.

    #2:  Know Your People

    When delegating, you don’t just grab the arm of the person closest to you and shove a file in their face.  No, this is panic-driven delegating and it’s not recommended.  Good leaders know how to best utilize all of their employees.  This starts with really knowing them well – both their personalities and their professional skills.

    Consider carefully how your team works with deadlines, the types of tasks they like and are best at, and whether they work best individually or in groups.  This is the benefit of a diverse team:  each person plays to their strengths, which results in the best possible outcome for everyone.

    #3:  Seek Support

    Pretending to be strong all the time is actually a weakness.  When leaders take on more than they’re capable of, failure is inevitable.  Certainly, it’s great to push and challenge yourself to do more, but know your limits.  And, as soon as you discover that your eyes may have been bigger than your proverbial stomach, get down to delegating. Team

    Putting on a façade of complete control, when it’s all crumbling beneath you, is a surefire way to communicate ineptitude.  Plus, it tends to become a harmful cycle.  The longer you go without admitting that you need help, the more scared you feel about reaching out or delegating.  Eventually, however, it will all come to light and you’ll regret not involving the capable people around you before things got out of hand.

    #4:  Check Early, Check Often

    You never delegate it and forget it.  If you are the one who assigned a task, you should also be the one who checks up on its progress.  Your first check should be done soon after the task is assigned; make sure everyone is getting off on the right foot and understands the expectations in the early stages.

    Coming up with a check-in schedule will help you to manage the tasks you’ve delegated.  Keep notes on what each person is working on and when they should be finished.  This way, even though you don’t have your hand in every pot, you have a view of the big picture.

    Some natural-born leaders have a hard time relinquishing total control.  They may feel that delegating means diminished power or a show of weakness.  When done well, however, delegation helps leaders accomplish much more than they could on their own.

    The next time you wonder how you’ll possibly get it all done, stop wondering and start delegating.

  • 10/12/2013

    10 Awards that Make Great Holiday Gifts: Why You Should Award Your Loved Ones This Year

    Teacher award

    You may be lucky enough to have a family full of people who are easy to shop for – they love everything, so your only problem is deciding which great gift idea to go with.

    What’s more likely is that you’ve got several people on your list who are impossible to shop for – you struggle every year trying to find something they’ll like that they don’t already have.

    This year, instead of falling back on a generic gift certificate, choose a beautiful, customized award that shows how much thought you put into their gift.

    Here are 10 awards that would make perfect presents for the award-worthy members of your inner circle.

    1.  The Teacher

    If you have any teachers in your life, you know just how hard they work, and how rarely they may feel recognized.  Show your child’s favorite teacher that you see and appreciate what they do with a personalized crystal apple, or this vibrant apple paperweight.

    2.  The SpitfireFire Award

    Who is the spicy spitfire in your family?  You know the one:  the person who always plays devil’s advocate, attends local protests and sparks debates around the dinner table.  Give your family’s
    firebrand this striking blaze of an art glass sculpture that stands in contrast to its black marble base.

    3.  The Graduate

    I don’t know about you, but when I pictured my first post-college job, I imagined having a fancy desk with an equally fancy nameplate.  That’s what travel awardit looked like in the movies!  Though your favorite graduate might just be working in a tiny cubicle,
    you can make it feel a little more special by giving this beautiful glass nameplate, which will surely
    be displayed with pride.

     

    4.  The Traveler

    Most of us have at least one wanderlust-filled world traveler in our midst.  You know the type – always just returning from or about to head to some exotic locale they can’t wait to see.  Show your admiration and respect for their globetrotting lifestyle with this elegant globe atop a stately column.

    5.  The Artist

    The art world may not award its best as much as the corporate world does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t award your family’s resident artist yourself.  Regardless of their medium, they will love thisArtist Award unique, asymmetrical metal sculpture that speaks of design and balance.

    6. The #1 Mom/Dad/Aunt/Uncle/Grandparent

    Does anyone tire of being told that they’re #1?  That’s a rhetorical question – the answer is “no.”  Surely, you have a family member who is super-committed to their role as a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle.  Make it clear that you think the world of them by presenting this simple, glass number one award.

    7.  The Musician

    Maybe your nephew is a budding guitarist, or your sister is a moonlighting violinist.  Whoever your favorite local musician is, they’d appreciate this sophisticated fluted crystal award that resembles an old-fashioned gramophone.

    8.  The Craft Beer Connoisseur

    Beer aficionados have become as ubiquitous as wine lovers these days.  Get big gift points this Beer Glassesyear by giving your favorite beer enthusiast a set of personalized beer glasses that double as shot glasses and candle holders.

    9.  The Athlete

    The beauty of this stylish crystal sports award is that it’s just as fitting for your 10-year-old, baseball-obsessed nephew as it is for your tennis-loving sister-in-law.  It references athletics while still being an elegant display piece for any room.

    10.     The Family Historian

    Our custom artwork makes a big statement – you decide what you want it to say.  Several types make great gifts for the family member who loves delving into family trees.  Deco casting is a perfect way to immortalize an influential ancestor.  And our water jet technology allows you to have a family home set in stone…or glass or crystal or several other materials.Custom Art

    Sometimes the best gifts are those that show how well we know the recipient and how much thought we put in to finding the perfect thing.

    These are just a few of the hundreds of awards that can be customized to fit the unique qualities of your friends and family members this holiday season.

  • 03/12/2013

    Leadership Lessons from the YouTube Job Quitter: What You Can Learn from a Very Public Resignation

    Leaving a job is never easy, no matter how it happens.  It can involve awkward conversations, intense emotions, and a lot of uncertainty.  Marina Shifrin, however, made quitting fun.

    A couple of months ago, she posted a YouTube video in which she dances to a Kanye West song while subtitles explain her reasons for leaving, most of which involve the Taiwanese animation company’s failure to recognize her efforts or value her free time.  To date, the video has gotten nearly 17 million views.  Obviously, she hit a nerve and lots of other people relate.

    Though this is obviously an exaggerated and all-too-public way to express displeasure with an employer, Shifrin does make some valid points that could teach all business leaders a thing or two.

    1.  Reasonable Hours

    Shifrin created the video at her employer’s office at 4:30am, just after the rest of her fellow employees had left the office.  There are very few professionals who should be working at such an hour.  Of course, we realize that working after hours is sometimes necessary in order to get the job done, but your employees shouldn’t feel that working into the wee hours is expected.

    We all know those workaholic perfectionists who will keep working if you don’t kick them out of the office.  Kick them out.  If you want productive, healthy employees then you sometimes need to be the one who tells them it’s OK to stop, go home and get some R & R.

    2.  Respect Personal Lives

    One of the first subtitles that appears on the screen says that Shifrin sacrificed relationships, time and energy for her job.  While it’s normal for professionals to make occasional personal sacrifices for their job, it shouldn’t become a routine.  If work requires so much time and energy that employees are unable to see friends and family or do personally-fulfilling activities outside of work, there’s a problem.

    More than likely, one of the reasons you hired your employees was their personalities – the unique experience and perspective that they brought.  This probably included a positive outlook.  As you probably know firsthand, the more we neglect personal relationships and the things that make us happy, the less we embody our true selves and the less joy we bring to what we do at work.  Become a guardian of your team’s personal lives by encouraging them to leave work at a decent hour and by genuinely inquiring about their lives outside of the office.

     3.  Quantity vs. Quality

    Shifrin worked at a company that produced videos.  According to her own video, the company valued the number of views each video got much more than the quality of the videos (we’d be willing to bet that hers got more than any of the videos the company created). Most business leaders can probably somewhat relate to her numbers-driven managers.  In the majority of industries, measurable indicators of success are pretty important.

    The key here, however, is balance.  While employees’ performance must be measured and assessed with some form of data, it’s important not to forget the real people behind the numbers.  Some jobs may take longer than others, some employees may work more slowly but create very good work, and some forms of success just can’t be measured in numbers.

     4.  Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

    Though Shifrin didn’t mention her employers by name, it didn’t take long for people to do a bit of internet research to find out where she worked.  This could have been a PR bomb for that company, but it wasn’t.

    Instead of making a public apology or cowering quietly, they created a spoof of Shifrin’s video, in which they delivered a light-hearted response to her complaints and ended by telling viewers that, incidentally, they were hiring.

    Marina Shifrin was smart to know when enough was enough.  She used her creativity to send a message to her employers, and this resulted in overnight fame and a whole host of job offers from companies who prize unconventional thinking and risk-taking.

    Make sure that you hold onto intelligent, inventive employees by rewarding their success and by making it clear that you see them as whole people who exist outside of the four walls of your company.

    Make sure that you hold onto intelligent, inventive employees by rewarding their success and by making it clear that you see them as whole people who exist outside of the four walls of your company.

  • 29/10/2013

    Donor Wall Design Process

    Recognition Donor Wall Designs and Materials

    Donor walls are an important part of any donor program.  Positively reinforcing donations is simple and will keep your donor program moving forward and growing strong!  You can positively reinforce donors making donations by adding their name to a proudly displayed donor wall.  Creating a donor wall might seem like an intimidating process, but it is actually quite easy.

    Getting Started

    Simply contact an awards vendor (like Corporate Awards Source) of your choice, and provide them with the following information:

    1. 1.  Estimated size you would like the donor wall to be
    2. 2.  Estimated number of levels/donor names you would like the wall to have
    3. 3.  Materials you want the wall to be made of
    4. 4.  Theme/design suggestions
      • -do you want the wall to have lots of imagery? text? photos?
      • -all in color? or black and white?
      • -how many panels? 1, 2, 3..?
      • -traditional square panels? or curved modern designed panels?
      • -layered panels?
    5. 5.  Description of the space it will be in, perhaps email the vendor an image of the area
    6. 6.  Send the vendor any text, logos, or layout files that you have
    7. 7.  If you don't know any of the above, just call and start brainstorming! Vendors are there to assist you and your needs, sit back and relax

    Production

    Once the vendor has all of the preliminary information, they will then be able to put together a custom rendering and quote.  The first rendering may take a few day to put together, any revisions needed after that will take 1-2 days each depending on the vendor.  Once a final layout is approved, production will take up to 3-4 weeks; shipping time is extra.

    The process is long, but in the end you will have a donor wall worth proudly displaying in your building!

     Final Steps

    Once you receive your donor wall, it must be installed by a professional.  Either call a handyman in the area, or if you place the order with Corporate Award Source and we are within driving distance, then we will come and install it for you!

    After your custom donor wall is in place, the choice is yours what to do next.  To enhance the impact of a donor wall program, some companies and organizations choose to un-vale the new wall at a banquet, annual dinner, or perhaps even a black tie event! The possibilities are endless when it comes to the impact of a donor wall design and program.

     

  • 23/10/2013

    How long does it take to produce awards?

    So, you've just been asked by your boss to do some research and find a vendor with an amazing award for your next awards ceremony...and the event is next week! You're probably a nervous wreck wondering if it is even possible to get an award produced and shipped within that amount of time.  You need an award, and you need it now!

    In such a short amount of time, ordering and receiving a personalized award IS possible.  However, here's some more information to better understand how production times work...

    Standard Production Time: 7-10 business days - This means from proof approval. So, before you even start counting the 7-10 days, you must have already sent in your artwork to the vendor and approved their pre-production layout.  The 7-10 production days also does NOT include shipping time. So, depending on where you are located, tack on 2-5 days for ground shipping; 3 day, 2 day, and overnight shipping options are always available.

    Quick Ship Item Production Time: 3 business days - Quick Ship items are a new breed of awards that the awards industry has developed within the past two years.  It is a series of items that are able to be produced and personalized within 3 business days.  This is a great way to meet rush orders, without rush charges!  However, keep in mind that the 3 days doesn't include shipping time.  Shipping is always in addition.

    Rush Order Production Time: 2-3 business days - Rush orders can be done on almost any item if it is in-stock.  That means, instead of 7-10 business days for production, you get a major upgrade to only 2-3 days for production!  But wait, there's a catch - rush orders usually have a rush charge of around %35 of the cost of the item.  (Having the perfect award in a pinch, unfortunately, isn't free.) Don't forget about shipping time!

    So, with that said...if you are in need of awards, it is important to plan ahead.  If you are able to order your awards enough in advance, then you won't be limited to only a certain selection or get hit with unwanted rush charges.  For any award or gift item, try to contact a vendor 3-4 weeks in advance (before your presentation date) and you won't be sorry.

     

  • 12/09/2013

    Corporate Award Source -Unique Corporate Gifts and Great Customer Service

    Here at Corporate Award Source, we love to make our customers happy.  Providing quality and unique corporate awards and corporate gifts is important to us, as well as great customer service along the way.

    Here is a great testimonial from one of our customers:

    "We received the 25 lucite gifts for the Stayer Dedication and they are beautiful!  Thanks so much for actually exceeding our delivery deadline AND providing us with a beautiful product.  It was a pleasure working with you and we will be in touch again when we are looking for more recognition gift ideas.

    Thank you!"

    From Teri V.

    To get started on your corporate award order, start searching or contact us at 866.989.5099 now!

  • 09/09/2013

    Stunning Choices for Colored Crystal Awards

    When recognizing an individual who has gone above and beyond the rest, awarding them with a deserving recognition piece is important.  Some of the most exquisite company and employee awards available are made of crystal.  Crystal awards have always been a popular choice, not only are they rich and beautiful, but they are timeless.

    Now, crystal awards are available with colored crystal.  Colored crystal awards are unique; they come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.  The most popular award colors right now are blue and green.  By choosing a stunning colored crystal award, engraved with our top quality etchings, you will surely please your recipient and awe the crowd!  Crystal awards make a lasting impression and are appropriate for any event.

    Below are just a few of the colored crystal awards that we offer; all of our crystal awards may be personalized with your choice of inscription and company logo.  If you have any questions, please call us at 866.989.5099 or contact us with a message.

    6409_96772_96473_9