Key Point: regardless of where or what you’re doing, proactively work on your next career move now! I’m not kidding; I don’t care how good or indispensable you think you are superstar.
A friend of mine, Colleen Aylward a nationally renowned recruiter, has written a great book called From Bedlam to the Boardroom. It is about how job search has changed dramatically in the last 24 to 36 months and what you should do about it. Some data points:
- A job placed on Career Builder or similar sites can generate 1500 plus resumes in three days. A keyword filter can churn out a short list in minutes, 20 killer qualified candidates!
- Over 2.5 million business execs announced themselves unemployed a year ago; it is likely a much higher number based on those too embarrassed to take unemployment checks or who are seriously under-employed. The estimate is 5 to 7 million top execs are looking for work.
- With LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media sites employers can target exactly who and what they want and search on referrals alone.
- Try this: put your job description in Google, do a search, and note how many applicants come up. That should set your toes a jingling.
Character Move: future employers have the following questions, and you have to have a heck of a fact-based story to tell in answering them:
- How have you contributed to increasing revenues and profitability?
- How have you contributed to decreasing costs?
- What problems have you solved and how?
- How creative are you?
Be great at developing personal case studies right now, as you are working, and read Colleen’s book for a lot more insight!
Competing in The Triangle,
Key Point: many organizations have great marketing spin about “customer care,” loving their customers, blah, blah, blah. It cannot happen in a sustainable way if people in organizations don’t treat each other that way first. Are you real or just another phony bologna part of the big BS and marketing spin in your company?
Customers do not care about what department people work in. In the extreme case, do you think the passengers desperate to get off the sinking Costa Concordia cruise ship (off the west coast of Italy) cared if they were being helped by customer service, engineering, or catering? Of course not. Products and services flow across departments and positions, and end up in the hands and heart of the customer. However, the entire customer experience will not be consistently and sustainably great without every person and process in the chain inside an organization working together. The point is – we have to sincerely care for each other first before we can achieve exceptional customer service. It takes huge amounts of personal energy and commitment.
- Great customer care starts with you. Are you working in a tight link with your team in a way where you deeply care about each other and your respective processes?
- It starts with what you do and how you do it. Depending on your position or role, you will have more or less power to influence your entire company culture.
- And it starts by really listening and getting to know the people on your “left and right” and building from there. One day the customer experience crosses over from inconsistent offerings and marketing spin to real customers shouting out (through social media) about how great you are.
Together in the Triangle,
Key Point: each of us will walk out of a place of work for the last time. When we close the door and turn to leave, what will we have left inside? What is our mark or legacy? What are we taking with us? What would be yours if you left tomorrow?
You may have seen the art posters showing photographs of many different types and colors of doors. When I look at those doors, I wonder what’s behind each of them. It reminds me that each of us will open and close workplace doors many times in our careers. The current data suggests we will do so 10 to 12 times throughout a working span… perhaps even more in the turbulent work world we currently compete in. Each time we close a door we end a chapter in our personal work story. That storybook is, of course, our resume. Being clear about what we have given and received is vital in writing a story with meaning. I recently had to look at my resume and “paint each door” with a picture to describe what I gave and received, an interesting and reflective exercise. Overall I’m proud of the “art poster” I’ve created, but some doors look better than others. I would like to be able to do a touch up here and there but… Each of us has more doors in front of us. It is better to think about painting with the brush still in hand.
- Consciously think about the legacy you have left behind, the work doors you have closed. Identify two to three things of lasting value you have given, two to three things you have received.
- How are you doing painting the door of the organization you’re currently with? What can you do to more of, or less of, to have that door become worthy of being on a metaphorical poster of art?
Painting doors in The Triangle,
Key Point: a winning professional football team puts in 40 hours of practice for a 2 hour game, including going over every possible scenario. Renowned symphony orchestras follow a similar pattern. Great speakers do the same. If you want to be great at anything you need to practice with purpose over and over until you can be fully and consciously competent.
A CEO friend runs a company where a year’s business relationship and contract hinges on about 24 hours of intense activity. He supports inventory services for tier one companies. The “moment of truth,” including all his company brand promises, is focused on this intense period of time. The company delivers or not, all in a real time basis. The only way to stay sane and ensure success is to purposefully practice all the way up to “game time.” This includes covering every situation where something could go wrong and having a contingency. Everything is a process (to get desired results) and the process is everything. People who complain about process like to rely on blind chance (good luck). But even the greatest poker players follow a reliable, practiced process.
- Determine what competencies you want to purposefully practice.
- Define your “moment of truth” (i.e. where your competencies are exposed and tested)?
- Practice, practice, practice doing it right. Develop contingencies.
- Then, practice more.
Purposeful Practice in The Triangle,
Key Point: in our humanism, we are all likely to have a “fall” or two as we complete a life at work. Hopefully it is a small scrape with a pretty quick bounce back. Sometimes the fall is very painful and recovery a steep climb. This is often the case for team mates who struggle with addictions. I’ve worked with a number of addicts during my career and wish I was better at helping them help themselves. When we accept our fall, the action for healing and learning begins. In that context the Leigh Steinberg story is an example and inspiration. He is in the process of his recovery.
Leigh Steinberg, the famed sports agent, has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. He has represented many successful athletes and coaches in most major sports including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times. His clients have included Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie Jerry Maguire.
The following is a quote from Steinberg as reported recently in the online magazine Postgame,
“I have struggled with alcohol for a number of years. In the past five or six years I began to check out episodically for short periods. My judgment and oversight of my affairs was not consistent and was at times impaired. I am responsible for my own addiction — no one forced me to drink — and in revealing my struggle with alcoholism, I am in no way justifying or excusing my circumstance. But I discuss it to provide context as well as understanding and inspiration to those who also battle addictive behavior. I surrendered to the reality that I was an alcoholic and my behavior was impacting family and associates in March 2010. I surrendered to the concept that until I tackled alcoholism, other priorities needed to be put aside.”
- Be honest. Accept the fall!
- Have the courage to put ego aside and begin recovery.
- It is necessary and strength to get help. Don’t go it alone.
- Recovery will be an inspiration to others. Everyone likes a comeback story.
If you know of someone in addictive trouble at work, strongly encourage them to take advantage of the employee assistance programs available. Don’t close your eyes and hope they get better.
Recovery in the Triangle,
Key Point: you and I, if we’re lucky, will be in a position to kick a “winning field goal” in work and/or life. We will miss sometimes. It will be heartbreaking. It is how we react and get ourselves ready to kick the next one that’s important. Spending too much time on the past miss will distract us from the next opportunity in front of us.
This year’s college football bowl games have involved kickers missing critical field goals. Even if you are not a sports or football fan, you can likely appreciate the kicker in front of a huge crowd and television audience, falling to his knees in agony after a big miss. After all, the entire team and all fans are impacted by whether the kick goes through the goal posts or not. This year’s kickers who have missed have had to close off their Facebook pages and hide out. Death threats and derision spewed from fans that likely couldn’t kick a ball ten feet as these kickers become posting patsies. Ironically team mates normally are very understanding.
- Remember you and I only trip when we’re moving. We are all destined to miss sometimes.
- We have to leave behind the misses we make, try to learn, and keep practicing and focused on the next one.
- You and I can’t fear failure or it will turn us into the people that want to judge from the sidelines rather than play the game.
- Just keep kicking!
Through the goalposts in The Triangle,