A GREAT JOB SEARCH COACH?

Posted on: March 28th, 2017 by
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What makes for a terrific coach to accelerate your career? After over 30 years helping talented professionals in the job search market, these are my suggestions for your checklist:

EXPERIENCE: There are a number of people who are between jobs who think they can make some easy money by becoming a “coach”. Check out how long they’ve been in the business. If it’s less than 10 years, they haven’t experienced enough diverse economic conditions, different functional requirements, or alternative business cycles to be helpful. Remember: The most valuable asset you’re accessing is their experiences.

PAST SUCCESS: A coach that has been unsuccessful with past clients isn’t much good to you. Check out how successful they’ve been, in what industries, at what level. A coach that is helpful to undergraduates may not be able to assist your efforts for a management position. If their field of expertise is sales, how are they going to help you find a financial job? If a coach has only worked the New York City marketplace, how will they help you in Dallas?

REFERRALS: Who has the coach successfully worked with? Can the coach give you names of people in your field and organizational level? What has been other people’s experience? It has to be enthusiastic support in order to be helpful. Faint praise is a negative.

UNIQUE APPROACH: Anyone can put together an unimaginative job search. Unless a coach has a unique approach to your unique situation, beware. Your personal approach to the marketplace has to be distinctively yours and not a template from a textbook.

CREDIBLE: Have a telephone conversation with a few potential coaches. Ask them how they are unique and what they can do differently than all others? Why or how are they successful with past clients? Ask them straight out, “Can you help me?” Have them critique your resume. How can they make your resume compelling? How can you sharpen your interviewing skills?

COMFORTABLE FIT: If you don’t feel comfortable in discussing your career goals, past job problems or concerns about your marketability, then the coach isn’t the right one for you. There’s an essential need for you and your coach to be totally honest with each other: Issues, concerns, alternatives, strength, weaknesses, opportunities and factors that may contribute to success or the lack thereof.

A STRATEGY: After talking with a potential coach about your background, alternatives and prospective career directions, you should be able to answer the six checklist items above. The coach, on the other hand, should be able to outline a number of potential strategies to assist you in designing the most effective path to your career destination. It won’t be in detail, but it should outline some key components for you to consider, based on the coach’s experiences.

An effective job coach can help you accelerate your career, but only if it’s the right one.

For a FREE review of your resume, send it to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


MANAGING A TRANSITION?

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 by
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In my career I have: Moved 14 times, had 7 jobs in different businesses, consulted with15 organizations, lived in 7 states (some twice); taught junior high school, college, MBA’s; was an executive in a non-profit; went from a staff specialist in a for-profit company to Manager, Director, then Vice President of 2 companies, and President of my own consulting firm.

I know a lot about managing transitions. My wife is an expert when it comes to selling houses, finding schools, dentists, doctors, new neighbors, car registrations and all the home-related chores, but that’s another story.

What did I learn? Here are some insights:

BUSINESS: Always leave on the best terms possible. Careers and relationships seem to intertwine in unexpected ways. You never know who will need whom over time. Always ask for a copy of your personnel file so you know what’s in there. You never know how it might change. Upon entering a new organization, always, and I mean always do three things: First, make sure your expectations and your boss’s expectations are absolutely compatible and consistent. Mismatched goals and expectations can mean disaster. Second, do a “Needs Analysis” in a new position. Survey, interview or talk to your staff individually, your internal client, peers, bosses to make sure their needs are understood and expectations are defined. It may determine your ultimate success: Whom you can and cannot depend upon for support and where the major issues will come from. Third, base line your key functional measurements so when you leave you can quantify the results you achieved in tangible terms.

RELATIONSHIPS: Your family relationships will be tested, especially with your spouse. Make sure you make time to relax and talk things through with each family member. But mostly listen.

If your family situation isn’t secure, most everything else will be off balance. One surprise I found was that strong relationships I thought I had with co-workers, bosses and subordinates were strictly job related. With some it only extended to references and what I could do for them: A number of disappointments there. Good off-the-job relationships on the other hand lasted far longer.

PERSONAL: I grew up in a limited opportunity environment. Various people saw the potential in me that I didn’t see, and they either encouraged or introduced me to a new world of opportunity. If not for them, I would be in a different place in life. I spent my first few years in teaching and community service work, and then gravitated to business as a natural expansion of both my passion to achieve success and my expanding capabilities. Once I understood my potential, I moved very quickly with career jumps and gravitated to higher and higher positions, hence the number of relocations. The reason I could achieve my career goals was the understanding and support of those who believed in me.

My advice to anyone: Make sure those around you are in synch with your direction and goals.

Want a FREE resume review? wkaufmann44@gmail.com


5 THINGS GREAT MANAGERS DO

Posted on: March 14th, 2017 by
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I’ve seen good and bad managers over the years as I analyzed organizations, managements, and their performance in a competitive marketplace. What I have found is that there is a direct correlation between organizational success and the quality of its management. Ineffective management produces ineffective results.

So the question is, “What constitutes a great manager?” If one assumes a manager is essentially competent and is in a viable business, the answer from my perspective comes down to five basic requirements: A great manager:

  1. Gives clear goals, objectives, direction, expectations and performance appraisals – Clarity of purpose, strategy and results are the cornerstone of a great manager. Without knowing what the goals and expectations are, subordinates are walking a random path. Organizational goals cannot be achieved unless the workforce has a clear understanding of the outcome desired and their responsibilities in helping to achieve them.
  1. Provides for a high degree of trust and confidence in their leadership. – If you don’t trust your manager, you have a problem: And visa-versa. So much of what goes on in a boss-subordinate relationship is directly related to the level of trust and confidence one has with its leadership and co-workers. A trusting work group has got to be at least 50% more successful, if not more.
  1. They are fair, listens to all input, and then make good decisions based on all the facts. – A manager who listens to their people has a greater chance of making the best decision than those who don’t. It’s usually the lower levels of the organization who are closest to the problem to be solved. The higher up the organization one goes, the least likely to understand the real issue rather than the perceived issue.
  1. Provides support and coaching, builds confidence and develops skills in all staff members. – If your manager isn’t preparing you for the future, helping you develop new skills and creating self-confidence in your abilities, then they are not fulfilling their responsibilities as a manager. A manager should be a builder of talent, not a maintainer of the status quo.
  1. Invests in and empowers staff, inspires teamwork, and helps to make work enjoyable. – Managers must invest part of their time to empower staff to work as a team and create an environment of cooperative engagement toward results. Managers are team-leaders and coaches who are there to provide the support, training and encouragement to succeed, both as an individual and as a team member.

As I look back over my career, the great managers who helped me succeed had these qualities. Who are the managers that you can identify that helped you to become the most productive and successful? If you can name two, you are very fortunate and lucky. If you can name one, you’re fortunate. If none, maybe your mentor-manager is the next one.

For a FREE review of your resume, send it to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


NEVER HEARD OF I.o.T? WAKE UP!

Posted on: March 7th, 2017 by
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For those of you still asleep, IoT is short for the Internet of Things. IoT is a system of interrelated computing devices that can transfer data over networks without human intervention. Simply put, IoT lets device-to-device interaction without your involvement. It’s a machine-to-machine interaction (M2M).

How does it work?   Think of all the things in business, life and your imagination where you can pre-program an event or action without even thinking about it. Simple things like having your car drive you to a meeting, automatically turning lights on and off, and so on. Or complex things like “smart cities” managing traffic, energy, and communications. The implications? No truck, bus, taxi drivers. No need for car insurance companies. Hundreds of thousands of people will need to find other work.

How does this huge wave of technology change affect your future? Let me count the ways:

Research says that there will be from 10 to 34 billion device connections by 2020

$6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next 5 years

Businesses, government and consumers will be the users looking for solutions to:

  • Lower operating costs
  • Increase productivity
  • Expand to new markets
  • Develop new products

JOBS WILL FLOURISH for those who can contribute to this next technology wave. Anything that can be connected will be connected.
The Cloud is the key. The cloud enables the apps to do what you want it to do. App’s will interpret and transmit data coming from sensors in each device.

Jobs will be abundant in IoT solutions, including application development, device hardware, system integration, data storage, security, and connectivity. The supply/demand equation of skills will be grossly out of balance, which gives you time to prepare. Hiring decisions will be made if you have basic skills, then trained to the system

Now is the time to find out more and prepare to be on the front end of hiring

This is a fundamental shift in how things are designed, made, used, expanded, serviced, updated, and modified. It’s as revolutionary as the introduction of the computer. The difference is the compression of time. The computer took longer because of a learning curve. With the IoT, the learning curve is minimal as the app can be changed with a click.

So what’s the downside? Security: How does all this information and device access stay secure? Hackers will have a field day until the technology catches up with the usage. The upside? A world of opportunity for those who get the training in prevention and security: Devices, data, systems, applications, privacy and so on. Companies need to figure ways to store, track, analyze and make sense of the vast amounts of data that will be generated, and then how to protect it all.

If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of a revolution, this is it.

For a FREE review of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


WHAT TOP MANAGEMENT LOOKS FOR?

Posted on: February 28th, 2017 by
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During a major consulting assignment, I asked the CEO what it takes to be successful, no matter what the function or level. His answer was simple yet provocative: SOUND JUDGMENT.

His rationale was that most people show the usual attributes that are required, like skill, knowledge, experience, performance and so on.   But the elements that move talented people up the organization are those that demonstrate an unerring sense of good judgment. Over the years, I’ve found this insight to be true.

I’ve seen talented and experienced managers make bad judgments based on faulty assumptions, incorrect information or a destructive attitude. Most of the judgment calls that negatively affect careers are caused by not understanding the dynamics of change:

  1. A CHANGE OF MANAGEMENT – By far the most common factor affecting judgment within an organization is when there’s a change in top management or boss. When the management of an organization changes, so does many of decisions points and judgment factors that normally formed the base of actions in the past. Judgments that were made before the change may have been applauded, but now those same judgments may be questioned, criticized or even reversed. Example: When a top manager creates a highly participatory organization, and then is replaced with a new executive that has an autocratic and controlling management style, there’s usually trouble ahead. The reverse is also a problem: From top-down directives to bottom-up participatory.
  1. A CHANGE OF STRATEGY – When events negatively affect results, there follows a change in strategy, style or direction. Judgments are affected in that decisions that were simple before are now complex. Example: When in a growth mode, revenue was the primary driver. As operating results begin to slide, cost savings or expense elimination becomes the driver. There may be a need to cut staff or the timing of staff reductions. Waiting too long and those judgments will be questioned. The reverse is also true; moving from cost cutting to an expansion will affect judgments about strategy.
  1. A CHANGE OF STANDARDS – Whether we like it or not, standards of performance for organizations and people need to keep rising in order to keep up with the changing world. Judgments have to be made about staffing, training, technology, financial support, products, services, and many more decision points. Example: When the skills or experiences of employees fall behind the marketplace, new standards have to be implemented. Technology upgrades are one of the many standards of concern, but also growth itself. When a company is growing at 20% or more a year, most all systems and practices have to be redesigned every 3 to 4 years to accommodate a doubling of the company’s size and complexity.

Sound judgment never goes out of favor no matter the industry, function or personal style. It’s the inflexibility of an individual that causes careers to hit the wall. It’s a matter of fit.

For a FREE assessment of your resume, send it to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com