What Do You Give A Mentor at Thanksgiving?

November 25th, 2015


Mentors are an uncelebrated group of devoted individuals, who often give their time in return for nothing more than your carrying on their legacy of giving back. If you have a mentor, you know the advice, conversations, guidance, interest and encouragement may be the single greatest determinant of your success. A mentor can help you keep a good job, gain a promotion or help you transition to a position more suited to your nature, your personal brand and your skills.

Isn’t it wonderful to have someone not just rooting for you, but acting as your advocate, sounding board and trusted advisor?

Every year I choose two people to mentor, although if you looked at my calendar, you would wonder why. Or more directly ask: how do they get fit into such a demanding schedule? I ask myself the same question every week. But, somehow the time gets set aside and the sessions take place.

The two people I mentor are simply and truly wonderful.

They are hardworking, self-motivated and put into practice everything we cover. We have a terrific dialogue, where we raise questions, go over details, discuss potential strategies and end with a list of tactical changes for them to put into play.

The best part is they report back their progress.

Sometimes I get a text that shares the triumph of their actions. I get to hear them crowing about their latest achievement. Sometimes I get a urgent text that asks a need-to-know-right-now question. I tap back some alternatives, with some predictions about how they will be received.

I welcome these short interruptions as much as our mentoring sessions, because they reflect how seriously these individuals are taking our time together.

That’s all the thanks mentors need.

You might not have a formal mentoring relationship, like the ones I have with my mentees. You might not have the same magnitude of access, attention or advice from a mentor. But you may have quite a number of people who have taken an interest in you, answered some questions or provided some direction for you.

Those less formal relationships are the ones that you might want to honor at this time of the US Thanksgiving holiday. Send a card, an email, make a call or text the people who have helped you out this year. Let them know what you’ve done, how far you’ve come and if you’ve passed on their legacy, by doing a little mentoring of your own.

Yes, now is the time to give thanks to all the people who have done at least a little something to guide you, been a shoulder for you or in some way made your life better. I have a long list of those people, since being a mentor does not mean I know it all – I just know some of the finest people in business, and they have made my journey easier, safer and richer.

You are one of my informal mentors. Each week, you give me a destination; a time to reflect on what’s important and what I have to share about it in a blog that’s read by people all around the world. Without that responsibility, my life would not be as rich or filled with the connectedness I share with 4.5 million people who read my blogs, books, posts or attend my learning programs.

So two words from me to reflect on now: thank you.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on

How Do You Make Facebook Enemies?

November 18th, 2015


With every attack on innocent people everywhere: we try not to lose faith in humanity. We urge each other to believe that good triumphs over evil. We propound that we will continue to go out, to shop, to go to school, venture out to work, eat in cafes and attend concerts.

We say that to stay at home and hide, means the terrorists win. They terrorize even those of us who are still safe and uninjured, because our safety seems tenuous and we begin to doubt our freedom and second guess where we should travel.

Terrorism is the enemy of freedom.

But there is a bizarre number of angry personal statements that erupt with each event. What seems to spark this outcry is when other people show sympathy and unity with the attacked.

Of course, this most recently happened when apparently ISIS killed and maimed hundreds of people in Paris. Several of my friends on Facebook changed their profile photos to the colors of the French flag. Several displayed art that re-interpreted the peace sign into the Eiffel Tower.

Unbelievably, this set up a war of whose death matters. Some posts I read in reaction to the terrorism in Paris:

“Facebook doesn’t have a Kenya flag update on people’s profiles!”

“Nearly 2,000 Civilians Were Killed in a Single Terror Attack in Nigeria—Where Was Facebook?”

“Where is the Facebook flag for Syria?”

It’s unbelievable, but each tragedy sets up a war about profile graphics on Facebook.

I always wonder about what such admonishments say about the personal brands who hurl them.

If your grandparent dies, and someone gives you sincere condolences do you condemn that person as mean-spirited or disrespectful for not sending condolences to everyone who lost a grandparent?

I don’t know about you, but I did not seek to overlook, deny or avoid the importance of tragic events in any place; in any of 196+ countries on the planet. Violence against innocent people, enslavement, beheadings, and all manner of horror have been part of the world events I attend to and grieve.

There is not a country without violence, inhumanity, and terror.

But it is not a competition. Nor a time for aggression against mourners.

If you are moved by events of any place and you wish to change your profile photo – you do not need Facebook’s graphics team to give you a flag to transpose over your face.

You can do that yourself. And, when you do: you will perhaps inform those who know less than you do. Or, you will affirm your solidarity with those who know what you know.

But, don’t use the most recent tragedy to start a war of words, or attack on anyone’s character. Not all of us wear our grief on our profile photos. Most of us bear the sadness of the world’s inhumanity in our hearts.

There is no flag for how I feel, although I respect those who post one. There are lyrics by John Lennon that seem to sum up what I imagine might eventually come to pass to save us all.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on

Is There Really Cross-Cultural Communication?

November 11th, 2015

7066445_sAs a corporate director of global marketing, a former Coke executive (in 190 countries around the world) and an instructor of Global Marketing at UCLAx: I could not be more cross-culturally inclined. So, with all the authority that I can muster, I tell you this.

There is zero communication between people of different countries or cultures.

To be successful, you must start with the belief that you are not just talking a different language than the other party: you are talking about concepts that you in no way share with anyone from another country or culture. Of course, culture means you don’t have to step outside your own office or Skype to dust up the differences.

What differs between cultures? The meaning of everything.

“Funds are being wired to you today.” That has no meaning whatsoever.

Neither do documents they sign. Leases. Contracts. Approvals.

Nor conventional business practices like paying employees. Paying rent. Paying any bill. Bank accounts having money in them. Reimbursing expenses. Having reasonable inventory on hand. Gluten-free, fragrance free and sulfate-free.

None of those concepts are universal.

In fact, the violation of what may seem like really basic business 101 procedures, or illegal business practices and ethics to you? Not even close to what the other party believes the definitions or boundaries are.

Hence, among the questions I ask most in global business right now is this.

How MANY is amazing? This in response to:

“We had an amazing response at the trade show.”

“We have an amazing number of products in our line.”

“The media coverage was amazing.”

Once again, I ask. How many is amazing?

Because, as a classically trained and practicing marketer: I have metrics on my mind. Simple ones like: we need a specific number of qualified prospects to sign up as actual customers, to generate measurable income to sustain or grow a business.

Of course, growth is anther concept that is not universal.

For me, growth means more revenue and profit. Increasing the product line, when you see evidence of sales from other products. Expanding to other countries as your current markets generate the income to do so.

Silly me.

Because metrics don’t mean a thing if the other party simply rages at vendors who want to be paid. Not apologetic. They get righteously angry at an unpaid vendor who won’t ship more? Who knew? They want you to convince the vendor, landlord, or clients that zero is one million dollars? Apparently this is done in other lands, just not one on planet Earth as I know it.

So fair warning. Do not believe anything from anyone. Do not think you heard what you heard, even though you recorded the conversation (with everyone’s permission). Listening to that audio over and over to see what went wrong? It will only drive you insane.

In order to have any communication, you have to believe you have nothing in common: not language, not meaning, and not intention. It’s exactly as Jim Camp says in his book about successful negotiations among any two parties, Start with NO!

As the distance between us all grows smaller, because WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime and jet airplanes make the world seem like we are all in this together: you realize one thing.

How far from each other we truly are.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on

Evil Does Exist. It May be One of Your Coworkers.

November 4th, 2015

14383290_sNarcissists are among the most interesting coworkers. They are also repugnant, disruptive and poisonous to a business, and potentially to your career. That is, if your narcissist sees you as anything except a reflection of his or her greatness. So, you must interact with your narcissist as if everything she does deserves nothing but positive regard and appreciation. Otherwise, expect that your narcissist will attempt to destroy you.

Actually, no matter what you do: your narcissist will attempt to destroy you.

Our office narcissist has picked on everyone except me. That is, until Friday. Then, she pointed her ugly, crazy, manic, depressed, stressed-out-because-I-don’t-have-enough-work-to-do-but-I-have-too-much-work-to-do tantrum in front of me. This came right after it took me 30 seconds to find an important corporate contract that an investor said he needed. It had been created long before I arrived. Our narcissist said the document didn’t exist. After all, she had spent 5 days “looking for it.”

So there I was holding it in my hand after near-zero effort to get it. And my ease of finding it tripped the venom in her mouth to spew. At one point there were words like “you never had a friend” and “you think you know everything” coming like projectile vomit at me. “Stop,” I said. “Go away. I have to get this document to the investor.”

Ten minutes later, she walked by my office and stopped in the doorway. “Oh,” she said. “You’re still working? It’s after hours – do you want me to stay and help you?”

A dead calm hit me.

And in that moment of pure serenity, I had the epiphany.

OMG. She’s a malignant narcissist! A rare breed.

These are people who work to make trouble and cause distress, then reverse on you to suddenly become helpful and appear goodnatured. M. Scott Peck does a great job of describing malignant narcissists in his book, People of the Lie.

The thesis of Peck’s monumental work is this. These people are the evil in the human race.

They have a self-image of perfection. Excessive intolerance of criticism. Scapegoating. Disguise and pretense. Intellectual deviousness. Greed. Coercion and control of others. Symbiotic relationships. Lack of empathy.

So it took two months to actually “diagnose” her, just in time for our malignant narcissist to give her 30 days notice. When we gratefully accepted? She changed her mind. After all, as a malignant narcissist: you believe giving and taking back your resignation would be your right.

This will be an eventful week. We anticipate lots of (false) accusations, blaming, crying, sick days, and precision attacks on the character of others. That is, after all, how we went from “Isn’t she amazing?” to “What’s wrong with her?” At least now we are over the confusion – which is the first sign that you have an malignant narcissist.

She’s not crazy. She’s not suffered any misfortune. She is simply a bad apple, as organizational psychologist Adam Grant calls these folks. Or evil, as the renowned psychiatrist Peck calls them.

For the rest of us good eggs, it’s been a startling realization.

So, if you have been confused, aggravated and disrupted by a co-worker, subordinate or superior: wow! Isn’t it nice to know there’s a diagnosis for these folks? And, as a boss I find it reassuring to learn there is no amount of training, no amount of support and even no magnitude of praise that I could muster to help her.

I had a plant like this in the outer reaches of my property at home. The plant is called poison ivy. It makes you itch, blister and scar. It looks benign, even nice. But, it’s poisonous. Just have to cut it out. Then the rest of the plants can blossom.

And so we will.


More from Nance…

You can find Nance on

Are You the Office Trick or Treat?

October 28th, 2015

36096388_mOrganizational leadership guru Adam Grant recently commented on what spoils a workplace culture. It’s surprisingly simple. It takes just one person to obliterate a collaborative, supportive and positive environment. It doesn’t have to be a person at the top. One mean-spirited, conniving, credit-hogging, work-shirking colleague will ruin your day, your week, or however long you can stand being employed in the same organization.

One rotten apple spoils the barrel.

But one good egg does not make a dozen.

It’s unfortunate to learn that one super-generous, caring and helpful colleague does not cancel out the dirty trickster.

In other words, an organization can’t neutralize a bad apple with a good egg.

That frustrates a lot of workers who enjoy their work and each other. No matter how large the group that gets along and happily produces great work, the impact of a negative, slacking, tattletale telling lout is an unstoppable, sickening virus.

In a client company that I consult with now, there is a really bad apple. In fact, he is a poison apple. He fakes illness. He doesn’t return emails. He verbally attacks junior staff. He demands help when he simply doesn’t want to do his own work.

This was an open secret before I arrived. Now it’s exploded – because he has finally lost the few allies who personally liked him despite his behavior at work.

There is only one answer. It’s a choice, really. He either gets fired or the company will devolve: making less profit, generating less revenue, getting less worker productivity and lots more errors because caring is wearing thin among the minions.

Company layoffs, financial belt-tightening and vulnerability to competitive threats are often laid at the feet of various departments. What went wrong? Did finance manage cash poorly or fail to secure the right financing? Did marketing make bad decisions about buyer behavior and preferences? Were sales reps not filling their prospecting funnels or selling upgrades and add-ons? Has R&D missed the category roadmap, or built when it should have acquired?

“WHAT went wrong?” is commonly asked; however, “what” is the beginning of the wrong question.

WHO went wrong? That’s the question few companies ask or address. Why?

It’s nearly impossible for top management to imagine that ONE person – something so granular in an organization – could be responsible for organizational dystopia or even its demise.

It’s difficult to imagine one person can infect an entire organization.

But, come off an airplane where one person coughed and sneezed throughout a five hour flight, and within the week you have a former planeload of passengers who are now just a bunch of sick people unable to work.

As Adam Grant advises: fire the taker, the faker, the bad seed and the trickster.

Like pruning my beloved rose trees so they can flourish again, I made that recommendation this week.

Watch this space. More will be revealed.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on

What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?

October 15th, 2015

43215499_sSome people fill the world with silly love songs, wrote Paul McCartney. As a career coach, I wish they did not, at least when it came to falling in love with a certain company. I am alarmed by the number of clients who come to me with certainty about how perfect a specific company is for them. How magical it would be to work for that company. How no other company could come close.

Welcome to the “company crush.”

It could be Google, Apple, Tesla, Coke, Disney, Zara, and the list goes on. It’s the weirdest epidemic I’ve seen among job seekers. I have one client who literally stalked a CEO of a boutique urban planning firm. She met him at a museum fundraiser and then waited until every last handshake had been made, before telling him she was madly in love with his company.

He graciously gave her his business card and said, “Call HR.” Apparently, that meant they were engaged (her and the company, that is). After doing everything short of flame throwing, she finally got put off firmly and permanently with a formal letter telling her there were no openings and not likely to be any…ever.

When she got an offer from a giant in the same industry? Nah. She was not really interested.

That’s the problem when you think there’s “the one.” You feel let down when you get let down. And, it’s as hard to recover from a company crush, as it is when a personal one says no.

Whether it’s a life partner or an employer: I promise you. There is not one. There are many suitable, exciting, and lucrative ways to go about fulfilling your dreams.

Don’t get stuck on one anything until you have a contract for life. Not one cereal. Not one company. Not one career.

You will have between five and seven careers in your life – not jobs, careers. You may live as long as 125 years, if your DNA, sleeping habits and science are on your side.

There’s a lot of living to do.

Don’t get stuck.

Don’t fall in love with one version of yourself.

You have many dimensions, some actualized already and some you don’t even know about yet. Explore all the avenues possible, as your career and job seeking take you past your comfort zone or what I now call your “know-zone.”

Don’t rely on your imagination, because it’s likely too narrow and uninformed about the whole world of possible places, accomplishments and success you can enjoy. Feed your imagination by reading investment sites and academic publications that cover subjects and industries you don’t already know about.

Don’t just dream big. Don’t just dream deeply.

Dream wide.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on

Do You Fail the Invisible Job Interview?

October 11th, 2015

NRBimageDisneyland may be the happiest place on earth, but the Disney store is not. The miserable experience of that retail environment at Santa Monica Promenade in California is remarkable for its consistently angry retail clerks and harsh restrictions on purchase. Nothing about the Disney brand gets you ready for it.

As a business owner and now the Global Marketing Director of a luxury cosmetics brand, I am ALWAYS looking for great people to hire at all levels. My favorite way to find a new employee is to get great service at a store or restaurant, and then invite that magical person for a “second interview.”

No, I don’t tell people I am interviewing them when we first meet in the retail setting. I don’t talk about the jobs I have open – and neither do the thousands of employers who use exactly the same technique as I do. We simply look for happy, proactive and engaging people, and then watch them solve problems or just do their job with a can-do attitude.

You are a candidate in an invisible job interview like that several times a week. It might happen on a phone call you make, one you take, or just doing your survival job while you wait for something better.

Within three feet of you is probably every opportunity you ever need, no matter what level of experience, education and interest you have. After all, 85% of why we make a hire is related to personal traits, and only 15% is actual skill. Most skills can be earned on-the-job or during a quick course of study.

We are hiring attitude.

We are hiring good people.

You’ve got to ask: what are we getting when we have the opportunity to interact with you when you aren’t doing active job seeking.

It’s like candid camera. Most employers are silently watching for great service and a positive attitude. It’s the way 75% of my clients and referring network have actually brought on a new employee.

At the Disney store on Sunday, I attempted to buy some Star Wars toys and it was an epic battle. Five employees roamed the store, assiduously avoiding eye contact with consumers who were also roaming the store. It wasn’t near closing time. It wasn’t packed. It was just ridiculous.

There was no one to check stock (because they were too busy looking at the floor and chatting with each other). One clerk I finally found actually said, “I cannot be bothered with this right now.” Checkout was so difficult with a scowling cashier who counted my Star Wars toys like a TSA employee checking my carry-on.

I was so relieved to leave with my purchases – including a bag I paid for at the counter, so I did not look like I was looting the store when I finally made it out the door. Apparently, the cashier would not or could not dispense a free bag to go with two toys that cost about 25 cents to make/ship/stock and retailed for about $25 each. If Disney retail is going for The Nightmare Before Christmas, they have met their corporate objective.

Don’t let an opportunity for an invisible job interview find you goofing off, angrily ringing up purchases or in any way being rude when you should be helping. You never know who’s watching, and what career lottery you may win.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on

How You Can Profit From Being Kind

October 1st, 2015

36062000_sThe single most important aspect of business is the finesse you exhibit when you are with your “audience.” In coaching and teaching communication leadership, I often remind learners to “be kind to your audience.” And I constantly remind them to, “Take responsibility for your audience’s experience of you.”

Who is your audience? Everyone around you.

Whether you are sitting with your boss having a one-on-one conversation, texting a friend or standing on stage in front of 10,000 people: you are with your audience.

Consider how profound your silence is, if you aren’t active on social media. Consider the cost to you, if you are not treating other people like your audience.

Consider the consequences of being aggressive, withholding, menacing, lazy, jealous, insensitive or crazy (even momentarily).

Consider the power of communication with the intention to help your audience move forward – while you are also serving your own goals. Consider how that gives you a competitive advantage in a job interview, the chance for a promotion, and a referral from someone who simply knows you online, or any other situation that matters.

The terrible truth is: every word, every image, every frame of video, and even silence lifts you up or tears you down in the eyes of your audience.

This might include the people who share air with you, like at the office. It includes all your social media posts and comments, all the book reviews or LinkedIn messages you write and all the Periscope, YouTube, and Sooth you create. All the Skype, Facetime, and other relatively real time communication channels you use.

Got it? Anyone who can hear you, see you or otherwise catch your drift: those people are your audience.

The good news is: your greatest, fastest, and most profitable way to reach your desired outcomes is completely in your command. Your success depends on the next word you say, and the word after that, and so on.

Finesse in communication isn’t something tricky like it is in billiards, baking bread or doing anything that demands extraordinary skills.

Communication done with finesse kindly takes into account the ability of your audience to understand and focus on your message, and responsibly putting it in words your audience will embrace because they see evidence you are trustworthy and caring.

With everything you might do to create wealth and profit, consider how simple and productive it is to be kind and responsible.

Those two qualities drive offers and referrals to you, give evidence you are the most attractive candidate or partner, and give people the faith to sign contracts and do deals with you.

If you would like to become a communication leader – and you will be in Southern California on October 10 and 11: join me at my Personal Branding Boot Camp at UCLA Extension. Use Promo Code: W7199 to get 10% off PLUS an hour with me one-on-one (a $495 session FREE).

If you have a question I can answer: email me at Nance@NanceRosen.com, and I will do my best to move you forward. Just put Boot Camp in the subject line, so I know to look for you.

More from Nance…

You can find Nance on