DIFFERENTIATORS THAT SET YOU APART

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Why should a hiring manager choose you?  Is it your charm and wit?  Nice try.  Maybe it’s your past experiences?  Now we’re getting a bit warmer, but not quite.  What are the differentiators that set you apart?  If you don’t know, you better find out.

There is only one reason why you get hired and the others don’t. You must have something that no one else has to offer.  What are they?  Results!  You must have a pattern of achievements through your past experiences that demonstrate a level of results to set you apart in a way that the hiring manager can visualize higher performance to accomplish organizational objectives in the future.  Let’s parse the words in a way that’s meaningful to you.

You have a pattern of achievements…  Make a list of accomplishments that succinctly summarizes your contributions at each stage of your career and life.  What have you achieved?  List those things that you are most proud at each stage of your career to date.

… through your past experiences…   Begin with your schooling and move forward until today, but spend the most time and emphasis on the most recent two or three jobs.  Show progression of knowledge, skills and expanded responsibilities.

… that demonstrate a level of results…  Focus on the outcome and less time on the activity.  Anyone can implement a project, but it’s the measureable results that count.  Define the metrics of your performance before and after your engagement.

… to set you apart…  It must be unique enough that few can match.  What is significantly better because of your involvement?  Separate out your individual performance first, then add in your work team, department, or company.

… in a way that the hiring manager can visualize a higher level of performance…  Connect your performance to the function they’re looking to fill. Electrify/excite/stimulate/energize the hiring manager’s view of what’s possible if you’re hired.  You have to project your potential value.

… to achieve organizational objectives in the future.  This is a key to crystalize your uniqueness.  If you can’t add value to reach their objectives, you’re not going to be hired.  Look both short-term and longer-term.  The future is now.

What does that all mean to you?  Even before the interview, identify their key issues.  Develop mini-pitches around those issues.  Market your potential value to the hiring manager, based on the needs of the business, supported by your past achievements.  Those are your differentiators.  Use them well.

Take control of your destiny.  Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

Our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com

Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net


UNDERSTANDING OPERATING ROLES

Posted on: February 14th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Each of us has a primary operating role.  However, if everyone in your work group had the same operating role very little would get done.  The question is, “How does the mix and balance of these operating roles affect your job search strategy?”  Let’s look at just three of them.

  1. The Eagle – Primarily a solo or individual-contributor role, one who acts on their own
  2. The Team player – Primarily an organizer for results through groups of people
  3. The Stabilizer – Primarily a detail person within the group, once direction is defined

Let’s take a look at them one at a time:

  1. The Eagle usually is a sole contributor who works best on his or her own.  Give them a task that is not highly dependent on others’ interaction, and then leave them alone to produce a result.  In sales, give them an area that needs development or create new business and turn them loose with specific expectations. Be careful if you make them a manager. They need to be given a degree of free rein, but within the direction and objectives of the organization.
  2. The team coach or player interacts up/down and across organizational lines and can participate or lead groups around complex tasks. They make the best managers. They provide the interaction between functions and tasks that are critical to the performance of the business. All companies need a number of these types of employees, well placed and competent in their function.
  3. The stabilizers follow the work plan and are good at what they do.  They need a manager who can communicate effectively and has high standards. Don’t expect great insights or new improved processes, however. These are important contributors who usually form the backbone of the business.  These are the “doers” within the organization.  They get the details done while others move on to the next step.

Of course, we all have attributes in all three categories, but usually we gravitate to one or the other. So, which one are you?  By the way, all three are needed in any organization. It’s the balance of where they are and what they do that’s important. The decision-maker, however, has to figure out how to put together a high performance work group given each individual contributor.

Why do you need to understand this insight? When you’re interviewing for a new position, the group is already established and set. The question is how and where will you fit in?  If you’re working with a group of Eagles, the issues will be very different then if they are mostly Stabilizers.

Take control of your destiny.  Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

Our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com

Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net


WHAT TO EXPECT DURING “RIGHTSIZING”?

Posted on: February 11th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President, My Greener Future

A business owner or manager needs to understand the steps and implications when “Rightsizing”.  They’ll need to design and implement a smooth and successful transition not only for the business, but also for their employees.  Here are insights into the stages of transition for employee’s, both as a group and for each individual.

AS AN EMPLOYEE GROUP

Employees as a group tend to respond to major change in somewhat predictable ways.  A great deal of their response is dependent upon how the change is managed. The following stages tend to be in sequence.  How management approaches the change will determine when employees move to the next stage.  Each business is unique and needs a tailor-designed strategy to best fit the situation.  However, if management doesn’t implement a well thought out strategy, STAGE I will remain for a very long time. 

STAGE I:  RESISTANCE TO CHANGE  (I’m against these new ideas. Why do it differently?)

STAGE II:  CONFUSION AS TO THE DIRECTION OR THE LEADERSHIP  (Where are we going?  I don’t know who is in charge or if they know what they’re doing.  I’m unsure of the future)

STAGE III:  PROGRESSIVE STEPS LEADING TO GREATER ACCEPTANCE  (I’m beginning to understand the necessity for the changes, but I need more information and training)

STAGE IV:  COMMITMENT AND LOYALTY  (I’m on-board and can see the value of the changes)

WORKING WITH EACH INDIVIDUAL

Individuals will behave in different ways depending upon factors such as their perceived vulnerability, personal survival, competence, marketability, and so on.  However, there are common stages that most all employees will move through.  If managers understand these stages, are flexible and have a good plan in place, they can effectively manage each key employee and move their performance and productivity to a higher level more rapidly.

Whether an employee stays in the business performing at a higher level or is being helped during outplacement, employees tend to move through these steps:

STAGE I:  SHOCK/DENIAL – (This can’t be happening to ME !!)

STAGE II:  ANGER – (Who do they think they are!!)

STAGE III: DEFENSIVENESS/ DEPRESSION – (I don’t know lf I can do this)

STAGE IV:  RATIONALIZATION – (Maybe it won’t be that bad if …)

STAGE V:  ACCEPTANCE – (This may turn out better than I originally thought) 

Management, with the help of professionals like My Greener Future-Business, can minimize disruptions and put in place an effective plan of action.

Call now for a free consultation and we’ll explain how we can help.  No obligation, just objective input!  Contact Bill Kaufmann, President, My Greener Future at the email: mygreenerfuture1@cox.net.  Our website is:  mygreenerfuture.com


“READING” YOUR INTERVIEWER

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

All interviewers have a primary style or approach.  If you can determine the style, you can influence the outcome. All you require are some telltale signs for the best approach.  It’s relatively simple, but very powerful when done well.  Here are some insights:

  • Results/Action Style – Questions come quickly and are targeted. Impatient.  Assertive,  
    • Quick, short questions on accomplishments, achievements and future contribution
    • Little time for chitchat.  Will drive to the core questions. They take charge immediately.

Response:  Answers should be short, accentuating the outcomes of past actions, but be ready for the “how did you do that?” question.  State the issue, action, and results.

  • Thoughtful/reflective Style – Wants facts, analysis, numbers “talk”, measurements, ratios
    • Focus is on “my” area of responsibility, “issues that affects me or my group”
    • Typically are more comfortable with numbers, not personal or social relationships

Response:  Answers can be more expansive, but relate the rationale behind the decision.  Why one option over another? Focus on the thought process and how you measured results?

  • Relationship oriented Style – Social, feelings, group emphasis, compatibility, team orientation
    • Focus is on “fitting in”, being a part of the support network.  A productive part of the “team”
    • Will try to put you at ease, increase your comfort zone and theirs. Wants a relationship.

Response:  Emphasize the “we” not the “I”.  Look for common values and consensus views. Involvement of others is important even though the decision may be theirs.

  • Get-along Style  – Provides support but doesn’t lead, avoids controversy, seeks balance
    • Focus on the neutral, “no big changes that will upset my world”.  A rebel is to be avoided.
    • Stability is important, status quo, change should come in small doses

Response:  Reinforce the positive approach/results of the past, the need to add value, but on a planned incremental strategy over time. Seek their ideas and positively reinforce past outcomes.

 What to look for to determine which style is prominent:

  • Their offices and external signs:
    • Strong action-oriented: Spartan.  Functional. Few personal items or nick-knacks.
    • Thoughtful/reflective: Degrees on the wall. Nick-knacks. Reports or papers piled high.
    • Relationship oriented: Personal pictures, boat or hobby. Chairs grouped around a table.
    • Get-along: Pictures of family, dog, a bucolic sunset. Neutral office in both color and décor.
  • Their behaviors:
    • Strong action-oriented: Few social niceties. High intensity. Short meeting. Looks at watch. 
    • Thoughtful/reflective: May overanalyze details. Thinks about alternatives & implications.
    • Relationship oriented: May talk about themselves. Longer meeting. More casual.
    • Get-along: More passive. Least formal. Looking for connections. Seek out your views first.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.  The higher the level of manager the more difficult it may be to assess a style.  If you’re in a conference room there are far fewer clues to “read”. Good luck.

Take control of your destiny.  Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

Our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com

Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net


DOWNSIZING, RIGHTSIZING…. THEN UPSIZING

Posted on: February 6th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President, My Greener Future

Keeping a small or mid-sized business in balance and profitable is not an easy task in these economic times.   The following are some guidelines that may be helpful as you review the past, manage the present and prepare the strategies for the future.

DOWNSIZING –The goal when downsizing is “hang on”.  You want to create a business model that will endure the buffeting of the marketplace in times of chaos or uncertainty.  Survival will depend upon understanding and managing the core elements of your business that will keep you above the marginal lines of profitability.  You will need to identify the key functions that must be performed to keep the business running at a minimal cost level.  Next is to define the skills and experiences required to keep those functions operational at a high level.  Staff will need to be sorted to those who meet those requirements then refocused and trained.  Others will need to be separated, but provided the skills and strategy to find another job.  These steps should be a smooth and planned strategy to maintain the dignity and integrity of the business and all its employees.

RIGHTSIZING – The goal when rightsizing is to stabilize and balance the business.  The model is to meet the needs of the current business, while maintaining its equilibrium as results may shift higher or lower than expected or planned.  Rightsizing will then focus on the functions that are needed to maintain business while you set the stage for planned incremental growth.  Staff may need to expand their responsibilities but not to expand in numbers unless it’s imperative.  Adding staff at the wrong time can undercut your efforts, add to cost but not return a great deal to the investment. Use overtime, part-time or family members if needed.  If staff is to be added, it should be those functions that increase revenue and not those that only add to cost. 

UPSIZING – The goal of upsizing is to accelerate a growth momentum while maintaining the cost control that you have already established through your downsizing and rightsizing efforts.  Staff additions should continue to be a last resort unless and until you are able to expand revenue through new products/services and new customers.  These new products/services and new customers will always be the drivers for added revenue and profit.  It is very difficult to grow without it unless there is a great demand from your current customer base.  Upsizing should also be funded “from behind”.  This means that costs should only be expended once it’s demonstrated that the cost to benefit value is heavily in your favor.  Avoid funding cost items from the front-end, if possible, as your costs will always outstrip your benefits and may not reach your expectations.

My Greener Future – Business has experts to assist your business move from Downsizing into Rightsizing and then Upsizing for a growth strategy.  Email for more information at mygreenerfuture1@cox.net, or call our President, Bill Kaufmann at 757-220-0774.  More information on the website:  www.mygreenerfuture.com