Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What's Your Crazy??

I recently did the "What's Your Why" session with some of the folks on our team. If you've never done this exercise with your team, I highly encourage you to take the time to do so because they've always been eye-opening for everyone; those writing down their list and for me learning what motivates each person.

Understanding what drives someone, what gets them out of bed to do what they do everyday, is an incredible journey in understanding. When you're truly invested in someone...when your personal philosophy is "Your Success Is My Business"...helping someone achieve their "why" list takes on a whole new meaning.

Being "truly invested" in someone, though, isn't always as easy as we'd like, is it? We often find that personality...errrrr, let's say differences...can sometimes make us hesitant. I'm sure you have someone that comes to mind who rubs you the wrong way a little, maybe acts and/or talks in a way that is off-putting to you.  Yep - you're thinking of that person right now aren't you.


I was pondering about this...about some folks that I know, that could be seen by others as "more challenging" to get along with, and realized that, not only did I know them, but that I actually liked them...a lot!

Why is that? I pondered.

I believe the answer comes from the fact that I not only know their "What's Your Why" but that I also know their "What's Your Crazy".

"What's Your Crazy" you're pondering?

We all have some crazy about us. Yes. All of us. Some something about each of us, sometime during our life that, whether self-inflicted or impacted upon us by others, or both, had a major influence on who we are and how we act.

I'll provide you some more specific examples: grew up in a dysfunctional family, abused (mentally and/or physically) by a relative or friend, bullied during youth, un-diagnosed mental challenges, addictions with drugs or alcohol or pornography, poverty/financial challenges...the list goes on, but I think you get the idea.

Reaching out to someone to understand "What's Your Why" is easy. In fact, I'd go as far as saying it's fascinating! But reaching out to someone to discover and understand "What's Your Crazy" is tough. Getting someone to open up about extreme difficulties in their life requires trust. But keep this in mind: You may be the very person that can provide the healing they need.

We all arrived here - this place in life - because of the combined experience of everything prior to this moment. Everyone's story is uniquely special, full of ups and downs. Our "What's Your Why" is often directly related to our "What's Your Crazy".  If you really care, be sure you're taking the time to discover both.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Play with all your heart 'til the very end...

“Sometime around 2:10 a.m. as the Titanic began settling more quickly into the icy North Atlantic, the sounds of ragtime, familiar dance tunes and popular waltzes that had floated reassuringly across her decks suddenly stopped as Bandmaster Wallace Hartley tapped his bow against his violin.   Hartley and his musicians, all wearing their lifebelts now, were standing back at the base of the second funnel, on the roof of the First Class Lounge, where they had been playing for the better part of an hour.  There had been a few moments of silence, then the solemn strains of the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee” began drifting across the water.  It was with a perhaps unintended irony that Hartley chose a hymn that pleaded for the mercy of the Almighty, as the ultimate material conceit of the Edwardian Age, the ship that “God Himself couldn’t sink,” foundered beneath his feet.  As the band played, the slant of the deck grew steeper, while from within the hull came a rapidly increasing number of thuds, bangs and crashes as interior furnishings broke loose, walls and partitions collapsed–the Titanic was only moments from breaking apart.”¹
I’m sure you recognize the story that is told here.  The band, while employed on the ship, were not crew members of the ship.  They were in fact employed by a Liverpool music agency who was employed by the ship.  Thus, the musicians were just ‘passengers’ like everyone else outside of the ship’s crew.  They could have left at any time they wanted, just like the passengers were leaving.  Note that the entire band perished in the icy North Atlantic waters that morning along with 1495 fellow passengers and crew.
When you look at the lives of these men (short descriptions here), you don’t find anything that would have caused you to believe that they would possess such courage. Yet, when the time came, the gave all.
When you stop and think, I would say that our survival instincts would prove to be one of our highest, so knowingly going to your ‘grave’ just isn’t something the overwhelming majority of people would ever do. How was it that Wallace Hartley was able to lead his team in a way that caused them to stay and play (work) when everyone around them was panicking?  They obviously saw something in this leader that caused them to follow him, to the very end.
So as you lead your team today, ask yourself these questions:
o   Am I hiring top talent for the positions I’m filling?
o   What culture am I instilling within the team concerning the customer experience, comradery, and the company mission & vision?
o   Am I a leader that people believe in and trust?
o   Do I lead by example?
o   Am I a leader that people willingly follow?
o   Am I a leader that inspires?
o   Am I seen as a servant leader or a task master?
o   Everyone leaves some type of legacy – what will mine be?

“A man who wants to lead the orchestra
must turn his back on the crowd.”

~Max Lucado

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This Is How You Apply For A Job!?!?!?

There are so many people trying to find/start a career.  The majority of them are fully capable of performing the positions they are applying for.  I was pondering on why many are having problems gaining employment.  From my long experience in finding top talent, here are the road-blocks I see for these folks receiving an interview, much less an offer letter:

o   Seeking Employment
This is the hard part.
ü  On-line job boards:  Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com are the biggest and the best.
ü  LinkedIn.com is a great place to search/post
ü  Local papers
ü  Craigslist (believe it or not)
ü  Company websites often have a “Careers” page where you can search opportunities and submit
ü  Though companies still accept hand-delivered resumes, most prefer on-line submissions.

o   Submitting Resume’s without a Cover Letter, or a poorly crafted Cover Letter.
Here’s an example (verbatim cut/paste) of one I just received:
I know I don't have many qualifications for your position, but I am will to learn. I an a fast learner, and very outgoing, I will push to be better, and if given the chance I believe I would be a great asset to your business. I like to hear from you, and be given the opportunity to show you that with, slight training, their is no one better fit for your company.
What HR or Recruiter is going to respond to that???
Many that I receive have no Cover Letter at all.
ü  Add a Cover Letter as a general summary of what you're after and why you are the best person for the role
ü  Understand that grammar and proper spelling are of the highest importance
ü  If you’re applying for multiple positions with different businesses, be sure to update the information in the letter to be specific for the position and the company.  Don’t state, “…seeking a position as a Bank Teller…” when applying for something in the health industry (yes, I got exactly that this week).
o   Resume’s
I can’t tell you how often I receive a resume for a position and the person submitting has ZERO experience for the position.  One example recently I have is for someone looking to fill my open Finance Manager position.  Reviewing the resume, there was not the first reference to any financial background of any kind, nor any involvement in even the smallest way with even some type of financial bookkeeping or related activities.  Then I receive additional resume’s from the same person for everything I have open.  This is blatant that this person is strictly looking for work – any work – and most employers are not looking for “top talent” from this pool of unemployed.
On top of this, resume’s full of mis-spelling, bad grammar, missing employment time periods, and copy/pasted details from job-to-job are red flags and typically don’t get a person any follow-up other than that “thanks but no thanks” e-mail.
ü  Make sure you're using a good e-mail address in your resume. Recruiters notice this type stuff. I've actually seen bobsfourthwife@example.com as the e-mail address to use. UGH! Act professional and use a worthy e-mail address.
ü Submit for only what you’re capable of doing
ü  Submit your resume as a .pdf document, this comes off more professional. Don't simply provide a word document.
ü  Properly name the document. Don't submit "resume.pdf". Your resume often goes into a folder with dozens or even hundreds of others. Be creative even here and stand out from the crowd.
ü  Understand that most employers are willing to train, but not to the extent that it consumes all their time (no babysitting!!!)
ü  Accurate spelling, grammar and no missing time periods are a must
ü  Keep the resume short – absolutely no more than three pages (one friend of mine who does a lot of hiring refuses anything over one page long).  I recently received a fifteen page resume.
ü  If you don’t know how to create a Cover Letter and/or Resume, do some homework and search on-line.  There a literally hundreds of sites that help and/or provide examples.

o   Communication with the Potential Employer
Constant phone calls, e-mails or verbal message relays sent by current employee’s do not help someone get in for the interview process.  In fact, it often creates the opposite effect.  Don’t call, e-mail and send messages constantly.  If the employer is interested because they’ve seen a compelling Cover Letter and Resume, they will be sure to reach out.  The same holds true for after the interview.
ü  Submit a compelling Cover Letter & Resume and let your accomplishments/experience do the talking for you.
o   Interviewing
Way too many horror stories to post here, so I’ll get straight to the advice:
ü  DRESS APPROPRIATELY!!!!  If you were not provided the proper attire during the interview invite, ASK!
ü  DON’T BE NERVOUS.  Employer’s want to see the real you.  So many people fail to gain employment for this simple reason alone because they come off un-excited, lack of communication skills, un-able to think on their feet, etc., etc.
ü  LEAVE YOUR CELL PHONE IN YOUR VEHICLE!  You can’t take any calls or messages during the interview, so why create the embarrassment of having your device go off during the interview.  Though the person interviewing you might state it’s alright if you forget this and it happens, it’s not.
ü  Always be sure that you SHOW UP ON TIME! Don't be too early and never, ever be late. If you're late, don't even bother to go in - you're already doomed. The rule-of-thumb for this is be about ten minutes early.
ü  KNOW THE BUSINESS!  You should have done your homework about the company you’re trying to go to work with.  When asked, “Who are we and what do we do?”  Answer!  With the correct answer!!!
ü  You provided a resume which got you this far.  The resume was your bragging sheet.  COME PREPARED to prove what you wrote.
ü  An interview is going to be somewhat difficult.  Companies are looking to hire the best talent they can get.  You're going to be presented with challenging questions - not necessarily looking for the right answer, but to see how you think-on-your-feet. So, be mentally prepared for questions to be challenging.  NEVER HAVE A DEER-IN-THE-HEADLIGHTS-LOOK when asked a question.
ü  NEVER LIE!  It’s obvious.
ü  ASK GREAT QUESTIONS!  Sometime during the interview, you’ll be asked, “Do you have any questions?”  Employers mentally move those who ask great questions up in their finalizing candidates list.  Asking about salary and benefits are NOT great questions.  That’s what everyone asks…which makes it seem like your attempt to join the team is simply, selfishly motivated.  There’s more to a career than that, and a company looking for top talent isn’t impressed by that.  What are great questions?  Here are some examples:
Ø  “Is this a new position?  If not, what did the previous employee in this position move on to and why?”
Ø  “Is there room for advancement?”
Ø  “When can I expect to hear back from you?”
Ø  “Is there anything else I should know about the position?”
ü  If you’re attending an interview via phone call, DON’T HAVE DISTRACTIONS.  Children/animal/road noises in the back-ground are extremely frustrating. You don’t need to add frustrations in an interview.  If you’re on a cell phone, make absolutely sure you have great signal coverage.  There’s little worse than fading in and out of signal with the person interviewing you, who’s time is extremely important.  Failure in any of these comes off as a lack of preparation on your part, which translates to your potential employer as how you’ll conduct business with them.  Not good.
ü  PROVIDE REFERENCES at this time.  Don’t wait to be asked.  No family/relatives, close friends or your pastor in your references.
ü  PROVIDE TESTIMONIALS.  Nothing makes more of an impression than at the end of the interview handing over three-to-six testimonials from past employers, vendor partners and/or clients.  Want to get noticed? Do this.
ü  If you really want to impress during your interview:  Before you leave, also PROVIDE 30-, 60- and 90-day GOALS outline of what you want to accomplish when you get the position.  Major WOW! factor!
ü  Finally – BE EXCITED!  HR and Recruiters want to talk with people who are excited about the opportunity.  I’ve not moved people to the next level before because of lack of excitement on their part.

o   Some More Pointers
-    Have a LinkedIn.com account.  Even though you submitted a resume, 
      employers are searching for a LinkedIn account too in order to see what business
      groups you’re associated with, how many on-line recommendations you have,
      and many other items that LinkedIn offers.
-        Be absolutely aware that employers are web stalking you.  Your social media pages are, for the most part, viewable to the world.  All your party-animal posts, all your ex-employer slams, all those wild and crazy pictures you thought no one would ever see are in fact seen, and helps to paint a picture of whether you’re the right fit for a company.
-        Due to HIPAA rules, CPNA, Homeland Security, etc., etc., know up-front that there is going to be a background check.  Unfortunately sometimes our mistakes from the past catch up with us and cause problems.  Be aware that a back-ground check is most likely going to happen and could potentially cause issues.  This is dependent on the business/industry as to whether it will be a road-block to employment or small bump in the road.
-       Ask to “shadow” someone at the company in the role you’re applying for if you’re being seriously considered for the position.  It’s in the best interest of everyone involved that you fully understand the role and expectations.  You, nor the company, wants to go through a lengthy on-boarding process and investment in time/energy/finances only to find out you don’t like the position and/or will not be successful in it.

I’m sure there are more, but this is the VERY BASICS of what someone seeking employment show KNOW AND DO.  When you don’t have a job, your full-time job is finding a job.  Be great at that too!
I hope this was of value if you're seeking employment.  Best wishes to you!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Marketing Genius!

I'm always interested in seeing small businesses promote their services. I find it incredible how some are so creative in their methods.

Check out this short video of what a local small business owner did to promote his services.

What small businesses do you know of that have some creative marketing presence and how are they promoting it?

[Note: You can contact Frank to get your land survey - here. You can hire Jeff Vickery by finding him here.]

"Your Success Is My Business."™

pondering - "to think about : reflect on"

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Oh No It Didn't!

Well, it happened...its official.


How did that happen - to me? I always remembered him as (and I hate to say this) an old man. But I don't feel like an old man. In fact, I often get this question asked to me: "How old are you?" (with some sarcasm added I might emphasize).

Well, as I ponder on this realization for today, I will keep this in mind above all:
I'll never grow up and will always be young at heart!!!


[Note: top photo from http://www.elderoptionsoftexas.com/ and bottom photo from http://croutonboy.typepad.com/]

Your Success Is My Business.”™

pondering - "to think about : reflect on"
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lessons I Learned - From a SunBurn

It was Memorial Day...must have been around 1989. I went out on a water skiing trip with some friends and in about a two hour time frame, became so sun-burnt that I had to miss a week of work and take (internally and externally) so many medications. It was without a doubt the worst pain I've even been in throughout my life (so far, no broken bones!).

As I ponder on that, with Memorial Day quickly approaching, I thought about the leadership lessons I learned from this event. They are:
  • Always be sure to consider the consequences of your decision. I often discuss with my son that every decision has a consequence - some positive, some negative, but there's always a consequence. Our job is to try to make as many decisions that will produce positive results as possible.
  • Go into the action prepared. I should have known better than to go out on the water, in the middle of a hot, cloudless sunny day, without sun-screen. Anything you're going to do needs a plan, regardless of how simple or how meaningless you believe it is.
  • Have a "replacement" plan in affect. You are never guaranteed another day. I had no plan for being out unexpectantly for a week. You never know when something is going to happen, possibly even good (a promotion or the career of your dreams comes along), that will cause you to not be able to perform your current role. All great leaders are always working to replace themselves so that they can move on to the next challenge. Create a program that immediately begins to fill your role...in case.
  • Set your team up for success. I've seen so many micro-managers in my life. They're the leader who has to have their hand in everything. They work from the philosophy, "If I want it done right, I'll do it myself." This is the worse path you can create for your team, and for the success of what you do. Prepare your team every day to work, decide and to lead as if you were not there. Then, when/if something happens, the team can continue to be successful.
  • Be accountable. When something happens to you, the majority of the time it's because of some decision you've made. Just like with me going to the river in the middle of the day without sun-screen...that was my decision to do, regardless of whether I thought about it or "forgot it". My actions, my accountability. I couldn't blame anyone else for what happened to me that day. I hear so many people, and unfortunately a majority being the younger population, blaming others for things that happen to them. Be accountable for your actions...you'll learn more in the long run when you do.

So even though I went through a very painful, very memorable event, there were valuable lessons learned (again, the eternal optimist in me). And this isn't the only event that's happened to me where I've learned something (here and here).

My question: What personal event has lead you to do life a little differently, with more focus?

[Note: photo from http://www.philarockgym.com/]

Your Success Is My Business.”™

pondering - "to think about : reflect on"

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Motivation for Enduring the Pain

I saw something that caused me to ponder and I wanted to share it with you:

(Note: As for the "...this happened before..." mention at the end of the video, here are the details about it.)

My question: What motivates you to keep going?

[Note: photo from http://www.thecrosshairstrader.com/]

Your Success Is My Business.”™

pondering - "to think about : reflect on"

Please share with others: