Posts Tagged ‘Getting Ahead’

What Do You Give A Mentor at Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

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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.

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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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How to Turn a Bad Job into a Good Job

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

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Have you recently gone from no job to a bad job?

A lot of people have emerged from their parents’ basement. They are dressed for work that they loathe. You know why. The crazy boss. Lazy coworkers. Angry customers. Too many meetings. Not enough freedom. The air conditioning is too cold. Someone steals your lunch from the fridge.

Even if the compensation is good enough, there’s no “there” there. Nothing that personally means anything to you.

Why? The job is about productivity not people.

Maybe your keystrokes are counted to ensure you meet quota. Maybe your job is to get on and off the phone as quickly as possible.

Or maybe the product or service is deficient. It does less than it could. Less than the competitors do. It’s not the latest in technology, fashion, approach or media.

Or maybe you don’t like the customers. You can’t relate to their problems. You never use your company’s product or service, because you like something else better.

Or maybe, as we used to say in advertising, your job is to “put lipstick on that pig.” The product or service is truly awful. You are embarrassed to tell people what you do.

There’s at least one theory that gets to the root of the reason you actually want to go back into the basement.

That theory is:

You feel like you don’t matter.

You feel like you are not making a difference.

You have been cut off from a part of yourself that is dying to be expressed.

Before you quit or start looking elsewhere: consider what would boost your personal involvement. What would ignite your feel good emotions? What could you do that is OUTSIDE of your job description that would make you happy or proud?

An enlightened CEO or department head knows how important it is to develop your personal investment in the job. And, we know it has nothing to do with the tasks or skills.

When we can create meaning, we retain employees. And that meaning needs to be genuine, and personally gratifying. In other words, meaning is worth more than money to employees. All the studies have shown that.

A janitor who interacts with employees working after hours might find joy in the jokes he tells to his audience of over-timers. A customer service rep who actually meets a tech-frazzled customer, sees that solving her problem really saves that customer’s business.

Whatever you do, see if you can see yourself as a hero.

So your task is to think beyond the tasks you must do. Think about the results you help accomplish, and how it changes lives. Don’t wait for an enlightened boss to do it for you. In fact, if you do this for yourself, you are likely to become the boss.

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The Ultimate Productivity Hack

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Bad day at the officeThis is something you do not want to hear. It’s the opposite of human nature. It is anti-happiness. The only thing good about it? It’s the truth about productivity

The ultimate productivity hack is sticking to a very boring routine. A life filled – at least for a short time – with almost no variety. No choices. No novelty.

Happiness has been dissected by the experts. Novel, fun experiences create happiness. So the highest level of productivity comes down to eschewing anything that is new and exciting.

The anti-happiness regimen is largely about removing any variety, any distraction and any fun for a period of time. That time is when you are able to fully engage in whatever your work or project demands.

I can hear the life balance people moaning.

Take heart. This is not a prescription for living your life. It is the prescription for getting something done rapidly, with the full force of your intelligence and imagination.

How many times in your life do you need to be ultra productive? It depends on your life, your desired ultimate outcome and your ability to pledge allegiance to a burning desire. Without a burning desire, this won’t work.

I just finished writing my third book. It took 32 edits. It is– as each book has been – my life’s work for a period of time. It – like the other books – aren’t my whole story. I work. I teach. I coach. I speak.

Oh yes, and I live. Bathe. Dress. Drive. Work. Teach. Coach. Speak. But mostly I WRITE. READ. EDIT. REVISE. And repeat. (You get the idea.)

The secret of the ultimate productivity hack is to put everything possible on auto-pilot. At the simplest level, I start with what I eat. I make something I call my “writer’s mix.” It is turkey, Brussels sprouts, spinach, carrots, and a huge volume of turmeric and chile paste.

I eat it three times a day. I start out with a huge stewing pot of this stuff. Then, for breakfast, lunch and dinner: I eat it. The goal is simple: no joy of eating. I start out hungry. I eat the mix. I am full.

I do the same with every other task in my life, while I am writing and editing. I do my social media interactions every three hours. I pick up my email while I’m eating. I walk my dogs for an hour, during twilight so it’s cool enough for them and the right time to clear my head. I don’t hibernate nor am I rigid. I went to a wedding of a dear friend last Friday evening. I met another dear friend for lunch on Sunday afternoon. So, part of the routine is two times over a weekend, I have three hours with people I know well and adore.

There’s a religious text with a passage about there being a time for everything. When you have a project that must be done and have a life that must be folded in around it: this is the time for being focused on your purpose.

Promise yourself, you will be happy. Later. For now: set up the rules, routines, rituals and habits that protect you from distraction, confusion, choices and decision-making.

The more boring your life is the better, when it comes to being super successful at getting something important done. Need some tips on setting up your routine? Email me at Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Productivity.

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Top Ten Traits of Creative Leaders

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

40254041_sCreativity, innovation and adaptability are the hallmarks of today’s best leaders. Not CEOs mind you, leaders. Don’t confuse a title like CEO with the reality that most of us will lead from the back of the pack, or somewhere in the middle.

Creativity is a calling. Innovation is a burning desire. Adaptability is personal trait.

CEO, COO, president and general manager are just job titles.

Most top officers find it difficult to be creative. There are too many responsibilities and constituencies to look after. Focusing on squeezing out profit every 12 weeks. Cutting costs to keep shareholders happy. When you are watching your back, it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road ahead.

A job title does not imbue the individual with courage or charisma. Those are personal traits. Creativity takes many forms, so don’t count yourself out because you are in accounting, operations, human resources, logistics, project management or any other field or specialty.

Employees, consultants, coaches, freelancers and suppliers: the opportunity to transform an organization (and with that your own career) is yours for the doing.

How do you start? It helps to hold a deep affection for your company and clients, since creativity is a gift you give. Think about the impact your company could have and the growth your clients could enjoy.

Creative leadership makes your job more meaningful and gives you visibility. Do something small at first – deliver a project early, come up with alternative courses of action, and whenever possible deliver unexpected added value. A bit of qualitative research or sentiment analysis (collecting comments made on forums or social media) is a good example of providing new perspectives that lead to new solutions.

David Ogilvy, one of the original Mad Men, a real ad man, espoused ten qualities he saw in creative leaders. They are:

  1. High standards of personal ethics.
  2. Big people, without pettiness.
  3. Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.
  4. Brilliant brains — not safe plodders.
  5. A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.
  6. Charisma — charm and persuasiveness.
  7. A streak of unorthodoxy — creative innovators.
  8. The courage to make tough decisions.
  9. Inspiring enthusiasts — with trust and gusto.
  10. A sense of humor.

Do you want to increase the reality of possibilities in your career or business? Then pick one of these qualities each week for the next ten weeks. Find every way you can to demonstrate the quality you’re working on. Add them up and in ten weeks you will have transformed yourself, and perhaps the organization and clients you serve.

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Two Ways To Improve the Odds in Your Favor

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

ContinuousImprovement_300Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. Improving your odds of winning – being lucky and landing a fantastic job, well-paying new clients, a sold-out audience for your workshop, a big promotion or bonus depends on preparation and opportunity. AKA luck.

That’s why some people are always lucky. And, some people have no luck.

There is a trap door you may haven fallen through in life’s journey so far. It’s what puts you below our awareness. It drops you off our radar when we are looking to hire. It makes you invisible when we need someone who does exactly what you do. It makes you appear inferior even when you could be in fact, the very best at what you do. It cripples your good intentions.

That trap door is clarity. For you to be lucky – to be prepared and conscious of opportunities that fulfill your dreams – you must be completely and totally clear about what you want. Or what I call: what you really, really want.

Clarity is a synonym for commitment in this case. As you know, many people are commitment-phobic. You might be accustomed to thinking about commitment in terms of romantic relationships. There are self-help books about falling in love with people who can’t commit. The books all end the same way. The best advice: run away from people who are commitment phobic. You can only lose if you stay attracted and attached to them.

That’s how employers feel. How prospective clients feel. How investors feel.

We can feel your lack of clarity. We can sense your lack of commitment. I don’t mean in a romantic relationship, of course. I mean in a business relationship.

This is what a lack of clarity and commitment sound like:

“I hope I can …”

“I think I might …”

“If someone gave me …”

Having met thousands of people talking about their businesses and careers in this way, I now know why employers, and prospective clients or investors run away from the people who lack clarity and commitment.

You appear to want to burden us with your needs. How? You want us to imagine you. You want us to be clear on what you want. You want us to make your luck.

We don’t want to.

It is up to you describe exactly what you want – what you really, really want – in its most minute detail. The first person you should tell is yourself. Then, go about preparing yourself for exactly what you want. Take the classes or workshops. Do the reading. Follow the thought leaders. Practice and prepare. You’ll be amazed how the right opportunities land right in front of you. And how quickly your dreams become reality.

How should you start getting clear and committed? Be able to answer this question. If I called you up tomorrow, and said, “I have an amazing opportunity for you!” What would I be talking about? Just so you know, over ten years I have asked this question of thousands of people. In a decade, only three have been able to answer it on-the-spot.

What would you say is an amazing opportunity for you? Let me know. I might help you find it. Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Amazing

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If You Can Tweet, You Can Eat

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Group of business associates in a line text messaging on their cellphoneThe economy is booming!

Or, the economy is booming?

Several years ago, I wrote the press release read around the world. Carried by 420 media outlets. It got me on CNBC, CBS, Investors Business Daily, San Francisco Chronicle and smaller outlets like Pakistan Today.

The headline was: If You Can Tweet, the Job Market is Sweet.

It was the early years of social media.

CEOs were clueless, even the hardware manufacturers. And, I don’t mean new cabinet knobs.

The New York Times reported that Cisco CEO John Chambers was pressured by his interns to learn how to put 144 characters together. Remember back in the day, we didn’t realize 122 is better, because it saves space for RT.

There was a rumor that companies should have a “two way dialogue!” with ACTUAL consumers.

Investors understood social media even less than management. Investors were lots of middle class folks (yes, there was a middle class!!!) who were learning how to email stale jokes to one another. Facebook was for college kids.

But, “new media” turned out not to be Miss American Pie. It did not die.

At that magical moment: if you could tweet, boy (or girl) was the job market sweet!

Interns became social media managers, and were actually PAID! They were PROMOTED!

This famously includes Eric Kuhn, who as an intern led CNN into social media. He quickly ascended to Vice President of United Talent, and I spoke to the Screen Actors Guild Foundation members; warning them that the so-so actor with 300 followers was more likely to be cast than a more talented actor with 30.

Of course, those days are gone. Your sixth grade cousin has 3,000 followers (if he’s not popular).

The current boom in the economy is largely about the recording breaking Dow Jones and NASDAQ.

But for whom does this economy toll?

Investors are no longer middle age or middle class. They aren’t young families tucking money into mutual funds to pay for their kids’ college or their own retirement.

Investors are the uber wealthy.

Millennials would be driving for Uber, if they could afford to buy a car.

Boomers who hung on can’t afford to retire.

Gen Y is getting the stink-eye or flat out laid off.

Tweeting is no longer the ticket to a big deal job. It’s a job requirement. Lots of companies consider the number of your connections, friends, fans and followers in their hiring decisions.

And we join together to celebrate the minimum wage, in those cities where it soars. That means you can pay for weekly groceries and a bus pass to get to work since you can’t afford to live nearby.

I rarely write anything that is not PRO-business, because business is my not-at-all secret crush.

So this is not an anti-business rant.

It’s just that I spent this entire weekend leading the Personal Branding Boot Camp on the UCLA campus. For two solid sunny Southern California Spring days: a phalanx of amazing, intelligent, innovative, kind, resourceful people came to up their game. They worked for it. They killed it.

All we are saying is give Millennials a chance.

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Can You Tell These 10 Stories?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Getting Ahead, interviewing, nance rosen, Personal BrandingOften times in a meeting with a prospective client or employer, you want to tell a success story. You want to speak about something that you have accomplished. You want to have it directly connect to their issues, products, services, or something they can relate to.

What if you don’t have anything?

What if you are talking to someone in an industry where you have no experience?

What if you have never done anything great – or anything at all – that communicates how they could anticipate you would perform for them on their specific issues?

When you freeze up and you’ve “got nothing,” what do you say?

You tell the truth. You tell the truth about who you are and what you have done. No, you don’t say, “I got nothing.” You don’t have “nothing.” You have a lifetime of everything you have done.

When I ask candidates a question about their experience, sometimes I see this wild, fearful look in their eyes. In that moment, I know they have forgotten the most important thing about everyone in the room (or on skype or by phone).

They forget we are all just people. Real people, speaking to real people.

Here’s the ideal thing to say.

“I am concerned that I don’t have a direct example to give you. Would it be all right if I shared an experience that I think is relevant, and would you tell me if I am making a connection that makes sense, given this position (or project)?”

You are going to get encouragement to share your experience. It’s up to you to have stories in mind, prepared in advance, that get to some core issues that are almost unavoidably involved in any type of work. This would be where your personal intelligence and personal brand development work will win the day (or the project or the position).

What could be relevant? Your ability to

  • Identify the root cause of a problem
  • Sift through resources to find relevant data and findings
  • Use information to develop different solutions
  • Model implications or consequences, positive and negative
  • Set up decision-making rules and use them
  • Present choices to decision-makers
  • Cooperate with others to implement a decision
  • Test and measure results
  • Capitalize on positive results and re-purpose successful programs
  • Bounce back from failure and persevere by revisiting your initial work

That’s ten stories you’ve got to have “on trigger,” ready to articulate with details that make your experience come alive, especially when you have no direct connection. Worst case, you might not be the fit they are looking for this time. However, you will have made an indelible impression, and be top of mind when you do fit.

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