Your Results are Great, But…

Posted on: November 24th, 2015 by
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Sometimes, results are all you need. Most times they’re not. Why? Your results are only part of the overall performance equation. Other factors must be considered if you’re looking for an excellent performance appraisal, a pat on the back, or a promotion.

There are times when less talented or lesser performing people get opportunities that you should have gotten. Other than the owner’s grandson getting the promotion that you deserved, what have you observed in other situations that have elevated those with lesser results than you? Promotion-in-step? Politics? Length of employment? Favoritism?

Let’s look at some of the considerations that may sway your performance beyond results:

1- Are you creating visible value for the company and your manager? The word “visible” is important. If your contribution is invisible, than someone else is getting the credit for the outcome that you achieved. You can solve this issue by making sure your boss is kept up to date on your objectives, strategy, and results, then measure the outcome in dollars, percent increase or decrease in cost, through a summary report, in writing.

2- Make sure that the project you’re working on is in parallel with the priorities of the organization and your manager. If you’re working on a project that is very low in priority, your efforts may not only go unnoticed but may be detrimental to your credibility. You never want to be viewed as extraneous to the primary goal of the organization. This question of priority can best be answered by checking with your manager. Get your projects aligned.

3- Does your boss know that you can be trusted to support his/her efforts. Nothing will make your future more difficult than a boss who believes that you aren’t in his/her corner, or worse, working against them. Solution: Ask the boss if there’s anything else you can do to help achieve the department’s objective? Put yourself in a position to add value in the eyes of the boss.

4- Help others to want to like you. Create an atmosphere of teamwork, of people working together toward a common goal. Create a team approach that each member can count on the other for support. Nothing can damage results more than an ultra competitive, self-driven, hostile work group. Management will ultimately find it and stop it… cold!

5- Think of your job in terms of how it contributes within the total context of the organization. Those who only see their function as an isolated segment cannot contribute in an optimal way. Understanding how your function contributes to the whole is an important step. Show management that you’re looking at the total picture through your functional responsibilities.

In summary, your results, while sterling, may not be enough unless they are visible, measurable, a priority, and part of a working team with a common goal that contributes to the total enterprise.

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What To Look For In A New Boss?

Posted on: November 17th, 2015 by
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If you’re about to interview for a new job, congratulations for getting this far in your job search. The interview should give you some insight into what to expect in a new job. Your whole world changes: New function, new location, new peers, new challenges and a brand-spanking new boss. What will the new boss be like? You can partially answer that question during the hiring interview. Choose your new boss carefully, as it will affect your future more than you can know.

1- Does your potential new boss hate going to work in the morning, or do they love their job and the people they work with? It’s hard to learn from a boss who dislikes what they do, as they won’t train you well, develop your skills or assist your move upward in your career. You should be able to sense during the job interview what kind of boss they will be. Are they excited about the work to be done, your ability to add value to the “team”, or your potential future? Is the interviewing boss animated, smiling every so often, share a story about what they are trying to achieve or compliment the people they work with every day? Mr. Grumpy doesn’t cut it.
2- Look for a coach or mentor in a potential boss. You want a boss that can provide you with the opportunity to succeed in your current job, but also prepare you for additional responsibilities in the future. If you can’t learn from your boss, then from whom are you going to learn the skills and knowledge you’ll need as you progress?

3- Is there a vision for the future? Can your potential boss articulate where he sees the function or department going in the next 12 to 18 months? Is there a role for you? These are questions you need to ask. Since the boss alone can’t achieve performance improvement nor reach growth goals, a good boss will need quality people to help achieve the organizational objectives. Who does the boss see as helping get those results?

4- During the interview, if the boss is focused on numbers only, and not the people side of the business, then think twice about your place in the organization. Are subordinates only a means to an end, or are they the valued resources that will help the manager achieve results? One way to gain insight into the boss is to count the number of times they say “I” versus “we”. Are the questions they ask substantive questions about you, your goals and experiences, or are they mechanical questions seeming to come from a script?

5- Lastly, at the end of the interview, you get a chance to ask your questions. Make them meaningful about the culture of the department, expectations for results and the style of management the boss prefers. How the interviewing boss answers your questions will give your more insight into your future than the position description will ever provide.

Your sense of comfort is your best guide.

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How to Interview the Interviewer?

Posted on: November 10th, 2015 by
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Most job interviews will be about you and your prior experiences. As we’ve said in previous articles, make sure you focus on the top five responsibilities on the position description, along with the parallel experience that gives you the ability to take the function to the next level of performance.

Usually, toward the end of the interview, there comes a time when you’re asked, “So, what would you like to know about us?” Now is the time to show your business acumen and laser focus on results. These are the three questions that will move you from being an applicant among the many, to a top tier candidate among the few:

1. “What are the immediate issues of the job that require solutions within the initial 6 months?”
2. “What are the long term issues over the next 2 to 5 years that requires a strategy to solve an impediment that is preventing the results you are looking for?”
3. “What are the performance expectation for the new hire during the first year?”

These three questions and the ensuing discussion with the hiring manager will separate you from all other candidates. When the hiring manager begins to relate to you the short and long term issues and expectations, you can begin to discuss alternatives, pro’s and con’s of approaches, implications, and so on. What usually happens during these discussions is a working relationship begins to form between you and the hiring manager. When your interview extends over the allotted time or when the hiring manager says, “We need to find more in-depth time to discuss these alternatives!” you know you’ve hit a home run.

While many applicants will ask the ill-timed questions like: “What are the benefits like?”, “Will I get more than two weeks vacation?”, “How does your incentive system work?”, or “Does the company pay for relocation?”. All are good questions, but should be asked much later in the interviewing process, not during the first or even second interview. Your objective should be to get the hiring organization to want you as their employee, achieving the results that they need. Initially focus on their needs, not yours.

Another outcome from this approach is you get an inside view of what is expected when offered employment. You can then gauge your potential success level, whether you are under or over prepared for the tasks at hand, plus have an overview definition of the results required in the new position.

Few candidates can predetermine their chance for success. But this model has been highly successful for my clients over the past 8 years with a 97% success rate. Use it to your advantage.

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Why Leave a Good Job?

Posted on: November 3rd, 2015 by
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If you’re happy in your job, satisfied with your pay, see an opportunity to move up, and have a good boss, why would you be thinking of leaving for another job? It seems counter intuitive, but there may be valid reasons why you may be better off somewhere else. So what are the reasons why up to half of all employees who are happy are thinking of changes. Here’s a few:

1. The industry that you’re in is not the industry you want to be in
2. Your company or function is not in your “sweet spot”, by training or education
3. Your company is in a spiral downward, creating a vulnerability for you
4. The company is not keeping up with the changing nature of the business
5. The technology is second rate, which means your skill sets will begin to lag
6. Lack of confidence in the top leadership of the organization
7. The business direction or decisions about the future doesn’t make sense to you
8. Your state-of-the-art skills will leverage you faster and higher somewhere else
9. You may see yourself as an entrepreneur, owning your own business
10. The rumor mill heats up that a bigger firm will acquire your company.

Should you be concerned? Only you can answer that question, but the number of employees who are seriously considering leaving their employment is rising. There are economic reasons for checking out the marketplace:

1. Over the past 7 years, raises have not moved you ahead of your costs
2. The growth of the economy, your industry or your company hasn’t provided the opportunities you were expecting when you hired in
3. Your last performance merit increase was uninspiring even though the actual results you achieved on the job was excellent.
4. The changes in healthcare costs, taxes, college for your kids, the need for a new car, or other financial expenses have caused you to dip into your reserves

So what do you do about it? Here are some thoughts:

1. Figure out the balance between a happy, satisfying job and good relationships against the concerns you have. Which one has the strongest pull currently?
2. Ask yourself how will it be different in 5 years? Will your current position or the marketplace break open more beneficially for you?
3. Keep your resume updated and compelling at all times. You never know.

There’s a big difference between a good job and a great job! It’s a risk/reward question.

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Steps to Land Your New Job

Posted on: October 27th, 2015 by
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This email was sent to me from a talented individual I’ve been working with:

“Bill, I wanted to let you know tonight I have officially resigned from Xxxxxxx.  I truly feel that without your help I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity.  To put into perspective how good it is for me” – …. I won’t have to move, I’ll be… “furnished a company car and a 48% increase in my salary.  Feel free to use me as a testimonial. D.“

What were the steps that we took to land this opportunity? Here is a summary of what I did as a coach to help “D” make it to the next level:

1. Designed a tailored strategy, based on what function and level he wanted to be and why
2. Tested the marketplace to make sure he had the skills and experiences required
3. Learned what hiring organizations are really looking for, why, and how to get noticed
4. Developed a Matrix of connections in order to network into the marketplace
5. Designed a compelling resume that guaranteed he would get a telephone interview (only about 10 out of 100 applicants will receive a telephone interview)
6. Developed the critical skills for a highly successful telephone interview (only the top 2-3 will be asked to interview face-to-face)
7. Discussed the 4 common types of interviewers. Practiced how to impact each one
8. Developed a “mini-pitch” for each and every line-item on his resume
9. Since his compelling resume is the only document that hiring organizations have, we reviewed 90% of the questions that will be asked, and practiced powerful responses
10. Reviewed the “tricky questions” that may be asked with the remaining 10% of the questions
11. Practiced his mini-pitches so they are succinct, natural and impressive
12. Prepared for a second interview, which is 100% different in approach and content
13. Discussed how to optimize his compensation in the most advantageous way
14. When he had an offer in hand, we designed an entry strategy: What to do and how to do it

Once “D” accepted the new offer, these were his “Entry Strategy” steps:

1. Discuss with his new boss the need for a successful way to impact short term results
2. Identify, then meet with the key people with whom he must work successfully as a team
3. Define their needs, wants and expectations from their perspective (his “customers”)
4. Map out his preliminary objectives, steps and potential outcomes for the first 12 months, using the information from the needs analysis he had compiled with his customers/team
5. Bring the preliminary results to his boss. Mutually develop a “road map” for success.
6. Benchmark key events and time-lines so changes can be made as he moves forward

All these steps look easy but they’re not. Each individual strategy is uniquely different. Can you be guaranteed a 48% increase in compensation? No. But you should be guaranteed that you will be a finalist candidate and will have the opportunity to advance. You, like “D”, should have a 97% success rate.

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