Archive for October, 2015

Are You the Office Trick or Treat?

Wednesday, 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.

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What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?

Thursday, 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.

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Do You Fail the Invisible Job Interview?

Sunday, 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.

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How You Can Profit From Being Kind

Thursday, 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.

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