What Do High Performers Do?

Posted on: February 2nd, 2016 by
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Measuring performance is a tricky thing. Measuring “high” performance is easier because most people know it when they see it. Rather than focusing on a definition, let’s look at how high performers behave: What do they do differently than the average performer?

My observation from over 40 years of engaging in performance as an employee, manager, corporate officer, international consultant and MBA Adjunct Professor, there are basically four areas of differentiation between the average performer and the high performer:

1. How they work with others– High performers spends more time with others than do the average performers. This may be due to their incessant curiosity, wanting to learn more, or the desire to form team consensus, but the time spent with others is much higher. Their time may also be spent outside of the usual circle of boss, peer, subordinate. The alone- time of high performers is spent sorting out and consolidating data, forming alternatives, or considering potential solutions.

2. Their relationship with others – While they are working on a specific issue, high performers are constantly asking questions. Their questions are wide ranging but will come back to the issue at hand. The discussions with others may start out on non-work events, because the objective is to continue to build a stronger relationship with those around the high performer. When engaging in conversation, the topics are seldom on a single question and almost never on a “yes” or “no” answer. The relationship seems to be just as important as the discussion.

3. Style of working – High performers try not to dominate or force their opinion on others. They are subtler. Their style is more of an “influencer”. They don’t usually give orders, but rather try to “sell” their ideas through the information they have collected. By providing alternatives to a solution, they seek out the opinion of others then try to rationalize it into what they already know, or may develop another alternative. Through this process the high performer simply evolves different potential solutions for further analysis and direction. At the same time, high performers are continuing to shape the relationship with the people with whom they work.

4. Time spent – Because the high performer spends much more time with individuals and small groups, their total work time is greater than the average performer. The high performer will spend less time on telephone or computer communications and more time in personal face-to-face or small group interactions. The high performer also thinks about the issues, alternatives, potential solutions and strategies while in a “non-work” environment: In the car, at home, or at a little league game. It’s continual.

High performers are special people. Treasure them as if the organization’s future depends upon their performance. It does!

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… But the Recruiter Said…

Posted on: January 26th, 2016 by
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There may be a difference between what people say and what they mean. Well it’s no different with the job search process. At times the verbal job description and the written job specifications can be different from what you expected. Why is that?

First, you need to understand the differences between what the hiring manager is looking for and the communications between human resources and the recruiter. Each may interpret differently the job specifications and ultimately an offer to candidates. Here are some examples:
“A college degree in business or equivalent”. What is an “equivalent”? 5 years direct experience? 10 years indirect experiences? How about a college degree in accounting or an Associate degree and two years experience?
“A salary of $75,000 with the potential of a year-end bonus”. This is a very slippery one. “Potential” does not mean guaranteed. Is the “year-end bonus” annual? Is the bonus potential 5% of salary or 20%? Is the bonus automatic or contingent on what?
“Salary plus benefits”. Some benefits start at your date of employment others do not. Which of your benefits are determined by time-in-service? Don’t get caught with a gap in health care.
Is there a signing bonus? Are performance reviews tied to merit increases? Is there a minimum time before a promotion? Is there a salary range for the position? Where are you within that range? (If you’re at the top of the range, don’t expect pay increases)

Most all conditions of employment are found in three basic documents:
Policy statements (relocation, incentives, bonuses)
Benefit statements, (health care, individual/family insurances) and most importantly,
The Letter of offer / employment

Here are some guidelines to follow:
Get copies of all policy and benefits statements: Understand the fine print and how they work!
During interviews, take notes to what each says about key elements of the job and anything related to compensation: Position description, reporting relationships, title, base salary, grade/range, bonus and/or incentives, rules of each and conditions that must be met
Note differences between an external recruiter, corporate recruiter, human resource and the hiring manager. Get clarity with any discrepancies.
Note any changes or differences between the verbal offer and the written letter of offer, including any email documents you have received. Get clarity and definition.
Put in writing any questions you may have about the employment offer. Request written responses to your questions. Note: Any changes from a written policy must be signed-off by an officer of the company.
Document your letter of acceptance, noting any changes from the letter of offer.

Some of these steps sound obvious, but better safe than sorry. It’s very difficult and awkward to try and change a key element of a job offer after the fact. It shows you weren’t paying attention.

I’ll provide you with a FREE assessment of your resume. Send it to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com
Help a colleague to find a new job? Refer them to me at: Mygreenerfuture1@gmail.com

Play Percentages to Your Advantage!

Posted on: January 19th, 2016 by
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Would you bet on a horse in a race with only a 2% chance of success or one with a 50% chance of winning? Silly question, I know. But some people looking for a new job will focus all their attention on the very large Internet websites to reveal the job of their dreams. The percentages of being discovered are low because of the extremely high volume of traffic. The large computer sites are impersonal, can’t differentiate between candidates with talent or potential, nor can they determine organizational fit.

The highest percent of success in connecting with a hiring manager is through the people who know you, your capabilities, plus know the location of job openings. These are the people who should be in your network: Past bosses, co-workers, associates, family, friends, trade association members and about 100 more. These are the people who can speak positively about your past work, who can vouch for your contributions and become your advocate within a hiring organization.

It’s estimated that more than 50% of hires are through referrals from networking. In fact, a referral that gets an interview has a significantly better chance of getting hired than other candidates. Why? Because a hiring manager will trust the opinion of a valued associate when there’s a few finalist candidates. Wouldn’t you want to interview a candidate who is recommended by a trusted co-worker who has performed at a high level with them?

Actually, your percentage of getting an interview goes up dramatically when all of your job search strategies are put into action: Networking, on-line job sites, executive recruiters in your field and association members. Another overlooked way to get your message out is to publish an article about an innovation, idea or results from a project. The exposure in an alumni bulletin, trade organization or general field-related material can go a long way for an interested organization to contact you to learn more.

Another source are those direct or indirect contacts through LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media vehicles. You can also use these same Internet applications to research the people who will be interviewing you about a job opening. Their bio’s are available for you to see and any connection you might have with them: Schools, companies, mutual business associates and so on. Knowledge is power. You want to know more than your competitors for the job you want.

Last suggestion: When you have your job search strategy in place with all of your alternatives sources, roll out your plan in progressive steps, rather than all at once. Minimize your overlap, duplication and confusion.

Remember: You want to be discovered as a valued contributor, not as a commodity like everyone else.

For a free assessment of your resume, send it to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com
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Market Yourself In 10 Seconds!

Posted on: January 12th, 2016 by
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“Why do they take so long to make a point?” so says a hiring manager while reading a resume. When you’re listening to a boring speaker or reading a dull passage, you “tune out” when they can’t make a point. The same is true with your resume. You don’t want the hiring manager to “tune out” before you make your point.

So, where on your resume do you place your best qualities, high performance results, or major contributions? That’s right: At the beginning, up front and center! The reason? If you can’t engage the hiring manager within the first 10 seconds of your resume, you’ve missed an opportunity to make an excellent first impression.

The resume becomes a word-picture for the hiring manager to decide: “Given what I read on the resume, will this person contribute to my results?” Once the hiring manager believes that your resume is worth further investigation, you receive a telephone interview. A long, detailed narrative on your resume about your activities will seldom get a telephone interview. Why? Because important points get lost in the volume of words that camouflage your key results. Here are two examples:

Using the narrative form #1: “As a sales executive, I developed a strong sales record in my territory by increasing revenue by 15% while achieving multiple sales awards for new business”

Using the bullet form #1:
15% revenue increase by expanding the customer base for new business growth

The bullet form did three things:
It puts the results up front and in bold to bring the reader’s eye to the 15%
Hiring managers want to know “how” you got those results: “Expanding the customer base”
It tells the hiring manager that you not only got results, but you got growth in new business
…. And all in 11 words and one number!

Using the narrative form #2: “After 10 years as an accounting manager, 4 years as an Assistant Controller and 6 years as Controller of a small manufacturing company, I am seeking a Controller’s position for a medium sized corporation”

Using the bullet form #2:
12.5% reduction in operating costs as a Controller and financial business leader

Hiring managers are looking for professionals who can produce the results that will meet their objectives. If you can’t demonstrate through your word-pictures the experiences and results to contribute to those objectives, you will fall short as a potential candidate.

Make your key points early in your resume to make the right impression to get the interview. Create a resume that compels the hiring manager to say, “I need to talk with this person”.

Want a free assessment of your resume? Send it to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com
Ready to test the market? Email: Mygreenerfuture1@gmail.com

Help Your Own Job Search

Posted on: January 5th, 2016 by
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Money magazine (December 2015 issue) had a series of interesting articles about the job search process and what others are doing to succeed in the marketplace. Here are my comments:

Your greatest chance to find a job is from company’s you might have left months or years before. Assuming you left under favorable conditions and maintained positive relationships, there is a 15% return of past employees. Why? There are new openings, expansion plans or accelerated growth. You are already trained and have a track record. Make sure they’re not in a downturn, looking for replacements who have bailed-out of a bad situation.
The average number of days (or weeks, months or years) to find a job? Depends upon:
The function – Hospitality roles may take 36 days, retail takes 40 days, health care, 65 days
The level of the position-The higher the position the longer it takes: VP’s? 6 months or more
The pay of the position – The lower the pay the shorter the time and higher the turn-over
The supply/demand equation – Software developers are in demand; news reporters are not
While the unemployment rate is “only” 5%, those that continue to be unemployed but out of the statistics is much, much higher. Jobs are still at a premium but are opening up.
Many employers are hiring part-timers instead of one full-time employee, or hiring contractors on a project basis without benefits (benefits costs may be up to 40% of salary)
More employers are keeping salaries lower but adding incentives at a higher rate to keep recurring salaries down. Incentives have gone from 7.5% of payroll to almost 13% today.

So what should you do, given this information? Here are some thoughts:

Contact a helping friend in your old company. Ask if they can help you connect again: Where are the openings, the greatest demand, fit, and who do they know to whom they can refer you?
Be open to contractor, part-time, or project jobs. Becoming a full-time permanent employee is greatest when you can demonstrate performance and results.
Focus on measurable results. Saying you’re expert in developing new business is lame. Say, “I increased new business by 12.5% through new product introduction within 18 months”.
Lay out a 60 to 120 day strategy.
Temper your expectations with the marketplace reality. You may not be able to secure a position that is equal to title or compensation of the past. Gauge your potential longer term.
Consider a position just outside of your “sweet spot”. Your comfort zone may be too narrow.

Only you can decide how long to wait for the ideal job. My experience tells me that the perfect job only comes when you go through a job that ultimately gets you there.

I’ll provide you with a FREE assessment of your resume. Send it to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com
Help a colleague to find a new job? Refer them to me at: Mygreenerfuture1@gmail.com