Arizona employers, are you ready to comply with proposition 206 by July 1, 2017?

As most readers are aware, I generally write about business related issues as opposed to legal issues. Today I am writing about a legal issue that, in a few months, will be a business issue for all Arizona employers. On July 1, 2017, Arizona employers will be subject to a new law on Paid Sick Time Off Policies. This is thanks to Proposition 206, which was passed last year.

I know you are thinking “I have a PTO policy, I must be good to go”, but you are not. Existing PTO policies do not comply with the requirements of. Prop 206, no matter how generous the policy is.

Instead of explaining more myself, I am providing you with a link to the answers to the top questions you will and should have regarding what is required of your business to comply with Prop 206. The information is provided by Kraig Marton and Jeffrey Silence of my firm and is a must read. This is the link you need:

http://www.jaburgwilk.com/news-publications/eight-questions-about-arizona-s-new-paid-sick-time-law

If you have any further questions or want to discuss having a PST policy drafted, please let me know.

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Credibility and Trustworthiness

Be honest; don’t lie. And say what you mean. This seems simple, but too many people have trouble with what are to me qualities that we shouldn’t have to strive for. I mean talk about a low bar: be honest and forthright. And be this way all the time to everyone you deal with. You want people to believe in you.

The alternative is being two faced and dishonest. Can anyone honestly say that is the reputation they want? I hope not, because reputation is everything. People remember.

If you do right by saying what you mean and being honest, people will know they can trust you. Trust and respect are the foundation for all meaningful relationships, whether professional or personal.

This is not something you want to take for granted. When the time comes for you to jump off a proverbial cliff, there will be more people there to catch you, i.e. help you get to where you want to go, if you are credible and trustworthy.

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Teamwork is necessary

No one really makes it on their own. Everyone is part of a team, whether internally at their business or with partners at other businesses. Anyone who thinks their success is only attributable to their own actions is mistaken and myopic.

You need to know your colleagues. Does this mean you have to be best friends with everyone and know everything about them? Of course not. But it does mean you need to know more than their name and which office they are in.

For what I do, I need to know the practice areas of other attorneys at my firm. If not, how do I serve my clients and referrals generally and when they have needs outside of my practice area? I can’t, and then I lose and my firm loses, because I can miss valuable cross-marketing opportunities.

It sounds so simple: you need to know the services your business provides. It is easier in some businesses than others. In mine, it means I need to remember a lot of information or be organized enough to access it or know who to asks in a given situation. And when I need to ask, it is another time being on a team helps.

Internal teamwork also fosters trust and collaboration. Sometimes you are the quarterback running the offense and sometimes you are the receiver catching the ball from a leader or supervisor and running with it. If you do not have an effective team, there is a better chance the ball is dropped, which reflects badly on your business.

Of course teamwork can lead to situations where some people get more credit than others, even where other members of the team were necessary and did the actual legwork that resulted in the credit or accolades. Good leaders recognize those who lift them up and enable the recognition. Most of the time you see someone getting recognition or an award, there is a group of people behind him or her who are responsible. And without their teamwork, the project being recognized likely would have gone nowhere.

So remember that every member of your team is impactful and has a role to play because team work is the rule, not the exception.

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Networking v. Connecting

Networking is about knowing more people. Connecting is about knowing people more. The distinction is obvious. You know a lot of people professionally and personally, but you are connected to only a fraction of those you know.

When you are at a business, social or charitable event, you likely will run into many people you know. But with many, you will know them “socially” or “professionally”, which is a way of saying you know them, who they are, but are not deeply connected with them and have no investment in their successes or failures.

I think a good example is a small town of say 1,000 people. In a small town, you are likely to know everyone else who lives there. At the same time, you will not be connected with 999 other people. Maybe you are connected with 40-70. This is because connection requires a deeper connection than simply meeting someone. It involves time, mutual respect and participation in the relationship by both people to become more than mere acquaintances.

Another good example is LinkedIn. I have 2,184 connections on LinkedIn. But it would be more truthful to say I am networked with 2,184 people because it is not possible for me to be connected to that many people. If I went through that list, maybe I am actually connected to 50 or 75 or 100 of those people, maybe more, but nowhere near 2,184. It’s just not possible.

True connections make up your community. People in communities care about their connections’ success and have a relationship built on mutual respect and trust, which have to be earned before someone in your network becomes an actual connection.

Once you have a connection, you are interested in transfer of knowledge and information and each other’s successes (and failures). When you reach this level you add another layer to the community you are building. So network with many to find the few solid people you want strengthen the foundation of your community and help you build the type of community you want to be a part of.

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Do things for others and expect nothing in return

One thing I have learned is to do things for others, yet expect nothing. That’s right, you need to rely on karma. Do good deeds and you will be on the receiving end in the future.

Connect people. Refer people. Forward that article you know your colleague, friend or family member will be interested in. Send a card or a letter – you know, the way we used to keep in contact before email and texting – and handwriting it may be good for bonus points too, i.e. know your audience. Or send a gift just because or just because you saw something you knew the recipient would appreciate.

And when other do these things for you let them know you appreciate it. It both closes the circle and starts the circle anew again.

Try it and see what happens.

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Say thank you like you actually mean it!

We live in a fast-paced transactional world. With the speed everything moves people sometimes resort to a text, email or similarly transactional electronic thank you. But if you resort to relaying a thank you by email, text or social media flavor of the month it is destined for the electronic scrapheap and likely will not be remembered. Be different and either write thank you notes or call.

It takes more time, and, yes, you may have to buy stamps if you write, but it leaves a lasting impression. I remember when I receive a letter or card thanking me for something much more so than a quick email, text or LinkedIn message.

The same goes for making a call. It doesn’t have to be a long call, just long enough to say “thank you.” You would remember that kind of call, wouldn’t you? The answer is of course.

You want people to remember you. The few minutes to write or call do this. Thank you letters, cards and calls never will go out of style. So are you willing to invest a little time in yourself?

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We all are salespeople

I wanted to go to law school, but knew for sure after an interview with Pitney Bowes. The interviewer asked me to sell him widgets. I never tried to close the deal, so you can imagine the result of the interview. In addition to thinking law was interesting, I thought I was going into a profession that didn’t require selling. I was wrong.

In law you can sell or not. But if you don’t, others will control your destiny, not you. It is the same in many professions and businesses. It is the difference between leaders and others.

I learned to sell through sheer force of will and the help of many great mentors. All these years in I continue to listen to others to try continuously learn how to do it better.

So set goals and takes steps if being better at selling will improve your career. If I can figure out, so can you.

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Know who we are because you need a network to succeed

That’s right. You need to know others to succeed. You need to know and have guides or mentors. You need to know your peers. You need to know your competition. And you need to start knowing these people from day one. Or if you did not start then, start today!

There are many ways to go about this. You can network with others alone or at events, collecting business cards and email addresses. You can build your online and social media presence. These methods can be the first introduction people have to you and what you are about.

And this takes work. It takes effort. It takes learning how to reach people. If you don’t know how, it is like making phone calls without a phone book; You may get someone to answer, but it will be treated like a wrong number, not helping you move forward professionally.

So get to know us because not only is it important over time, but it makes life more interesting.

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Do you have inspiration?

Isn’t the real answer to that question “Yes, sometimes.” That’s because the source of inspiration mostly is unknown. That is why it can hit you at times that seem unlikely, such as the middle of the night or when you are in the shower.

It is not conscious and sneaks up on you instead. That is why you have to be open to it and embrace it when it comes. If you don’t, it is at your own risk of missing inspiration or letting it slide out of your mind. It reminds me of a line in the Bob Marley song Trenchtown Rock: “When it hits you, you feel no pain.” In the song he is speaking of music, but it works for inspiration too. It is the idea that it can come to you at any time.

So embrace inspiration whenever it is there. This may mean having paper and a pen on your night stand or walking out of a shower dripping wet to write an idea down. The idea is to be open to and accept inspiration when it is there so you remember and can act on your thoughts and ideas.

And then see where it can take you.

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The 2016 version of why it is time for an annual “checkup” for you and your company

Over the past few years many of you probably read my blog regarding having a checkup for you and your business. This does not involve the doctor, but it does involve all the other professionals in your personal and business life. Since that time, I decided to make this topic an annual tradition. This is based in part on the range of feedback I receive every year.

Some of you said “What a great idea. I am definitely going to do that.” Other said “Sounds like a good idea, maybe I will look into that.” Most of you were busy with the holidays and all that it entails, and probably ignored my advice. To be honest, any of these responses is okay and ignoring my advice may not have had detrimental effects to you or your business.

The point of the advice is that you only know what you know. If you do not check in with your professionals and, for example, make sure contracts or your estate plan remain enforceable and up-to-date, that is where the risk comes in. For example, I always check in with my accountant at the end of the year to ensure that all is right with taxes, i.e. to find out whether my wife and I need to send the IRS a check before the end of the year.

This year I had a reminder related to a different item you should check in on annually, auto insurance. My wife and I added a teenager to our auto insurance. Yes, yes, I knew it was going to have a significant impact on our premiums. And it did. Luckily, before I could call to ask my insurance person to shop the policy around on rates for policies with similar coverage, he did so and we already have switched insurers.

With the time constraints of life, it is sometimes hard for me to move beyond the higher-level checkup, but when I do I usually end up with some benefit. Unfortunately, in our time-crunched world, the question of who to check in with at year end is expansive, from your estate planning attorney, to your investment person, to your insurance person, to vendors you may use such as a yard or pool maintenance company, or your cell phone carrier or your Internet provider. You may be surprised what a company will do in lowering monthly costs to satisfy a current or longtime customer. Try it and see what happens.

I know, I know, who has the time? None of us do, which is why the choices yours. Are your contracts up to date? Did you pay enough estimated taxes or withholding? Are you paying the cleaning service at your office or your lawn service for your home too much? The choice of what professionals to consult, what costs to check or compare and what services to put out to bid is yours. Choose wisely!

And for those of you seeking a reminder or who did not see it in years past, here is my original blog post on getting an annual checkup:

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of where you are personally and professionally. This can be checking in with your personal accountant to make sure you have withheld/paid enough taxes during the year or planning for deductions to planning for large corporate expenditures on things such as upcoming projects, planned corporate initiatives or planned equipment purchases. But the one thing that is a constant is that we all should be doing this.

In the past I have mentioned why it is good to sit down with various professionals you or your company work with just to check-in, be they attorneys, accountants, insurance professionals, financial planners, investment professionals, etc. The list depends on you and your business.

This does not have to be a formal appointment unless you think that is appropriate depending on the nature of the planned conversation. Instead, it can be you offering to buy them lunch or a drink. The point is the better the professionals you work with know you, the more they are able to make recommendations aimed to benefit you or your company.

So don’t wait, start making plans today to meet with these people this year, or at least first thing next year. We all are busy this time of year, but if you take these actions it will help you now and in the future.

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