NETWORKING – 8 STEPS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SUCCESS

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

Networking can work for or against you, depending upon how you manage the process.  Too little or a timid approach will yield little help.  Overuse or pushy networking will reduce the number of people willing to help.  Either way, you lose potential opportunities to connect.  Here are 8 guidelines to help you connect with the right people in the right way:

  1. Develop your list – The people who know you best will be your greatest supporters and understand your abilities.  Make a list of at least 100, going back in time, with everyone you know, have worked with, grew up with, went to school or socialized as neighbors.
  2. Prioritize by category and potential – Create categories within the list (family, friends, work associates, neighbors, school, and so on.  Select each individual within each category and prioritize them by potential (high, moderate and low) of those who can assist your efforts the most, either by contact within industries, by level or connections.
  3. Develop your approach – Identify the best approach for each individual:  Email, letter, telephone, or through someone else.  Your objective is to find the most effective way to connect with each individual based on your relationship.
  4. Seek informational meetings – The easiest way to connect is to say, “I’m in the process of testing the marketplace and I’d like to talk about your industry and which of the various companies are growing”.  Always do your research so you are knowledgeable about the industry and companies.
  5. Anticipate warm engagement or rejection – Some of your contacts will embrace you and your search while others will not respond energetically.  Expect both responses, but don’t let rejection affect your journey.  Sometimes the people who you don’t hear from immediately will pop up later with information about an open position.
  6. Prepare your “pitch” – Stay true to your request for information about their industry or company.  Don’t ask them directly for a job.  They will ask you why you are testing the marketplace.  Have your rationale ready, what you’re looking for and why.
  7. Ask for referrals – Toward the end of your discussion, ask who might be a good connection for you to approach.  Hopefully there will be 3 or 4 names mentioned.  See if it’s OK to use your contact’s name or if they would mind making a phone call to them, or send your resume on to them with a quick note.
  8. Keep them in the loop – When you make connections with referrals, keep your original contact in the loop with feedback as to your success or not.  In this way if there is a follow-up necessary, your contact might be receptive to become more involved.

If you’re not making at least 5 contacts a day your networking results will come up short.

Get more insights at mygreenerfuture.com.  Send questions to Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net


WHEN TO CALL IT QUITS…

Posted on: May 7th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

There are 3 primary signs that tell you when to start looking for another job:

  • Your job results seem good but for some reason your appraisals and pay aren’t
  • You are subtly excluded from meetings, emails, or planning sessions
  • You find it difficult to go to work in the morning.  You sense something isn’t right.

Here are some telltale signs to look for:

Values are mismatched –  Values are usually hidden when interviewing for a job.  You only experience the organization’s operating values when you’re inside:

  • Your values of right or wrong are different from management, in policy or practice.  You find yourself at odds with decisions that you see as questionable.
  • The management style is inconsistent:  Bureaucracy versus engaging.  You are more participative and feel constrained by dictates or autocratic decisions.
  • Your decisions or methods are questioned without information or alternatives.  The plans or decisions you make are reversed without a chance to review your rationale.

Assignments are diminished The difference between what is written in your position description and what you’re actually asked to do may be vastly different:

  • You’re given tasks that are well below your abilities or rank.  Whenever assignments are handed out, you seem to get the less meaningful ones.
  • You are not invited to the strategy phase of a project, but are an afterthought.  Management will always go to the people they see as up to the task.  Is that you?
  • You always seem to get the “clean up” tasks where you can’t show competence.  You are never chosen to lead a project.

A sense of “doom” Many times you can’t put your finger on the issue causing you to question your “fit” in the organization:

  • Sometimes you don’t agree with decisions or methods of the boss.  Your performance appraisals are non-existent.  You never have meaningful discussions with your boss.
  • Your peers don’t see you as part of the inner circle.  There is a small group of people the boss always goes to, at the exclusion of others.  Which group are you?
  • Your projects are geared to your weaknesses, not your strengths.  You’re not given the opportunity to demonstrate your qualities in a favorable light.

So, what do you do about it?  There are basically three alternatives:

  • Have a discussion with your boss about your concerns and desire to perform
  • Stay the course and hopefully work your way through it over time
  • Quietly begin to put your job search strategy together

Contact me and we’ll set up a time to talk about your issues, at no cost.

Get more insights at: mygreenerfuture.com   Send questions to: Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

 


NO INTERVIEWS?? REDO YOUR RESUME!!

Posted on: May 1st, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future
If you don’t have a compelling resume, there’s no reason for companies to interview you.  Why should they interview an average applicant with no added-value strongly positioned in the resume?  Here is how to diagnose and fix your resume to get a telephone screen.

What’s your response rate? At a 2% response rate you equal junk mail.  At 10% you’re minimally adequate.  At 50% you’re “hot”.  Your resume must be compelling.  You must be compelling with both your resume and interview to become a primary candidate.

You get very few screening interviews. That means you’re not meeting the minimal requirements of the job, or everyone else is better than you.  You may be shooting too high and falling short.  Readjust your target, industry, level or compensation.  Something is off.

You get screening calls (that’s good) but no interviews (that’s bad). Your not hitting the key points they’re looking for in a candidate.  Practice short powerful responses about the results you’ve achieved rather than long-winded monologues about activities.

Your contact list isn’t providing you with great leads. Find out why your contacts aren’t working.  Revisit who you know that can refer you to knowledgeable people.  Ask those contacts for a few of their connections to talk about what’s happening in their industry.

SOME ISSUES AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM.

Your resume is a “random walk”.  No target.  No focus. Key in on results.  Match them to the position description or ad.  Use an Executive Summary to put your best foot forward.

You are using a narrative form and give your life’s story. Define actions and outcomes, not just animation. Use bullets to highlight contributions in short, powerful ways.

No juice.  Your resume is boring. Differentiate yourself from all others.  Show your unique qualities or experiences that parallel the job to be done for today and tomorrow.

Put the most important things first. Use power words.  Use metrics.  Don’t highlight items that are less important, like community activities, unless they’re critical.

Make your resume easily readable.  Crisp. Clean. No mistakes. Use spell check and a contemporary font rather than a dated font.  Use “white space” to give a clean appearance.

Eliminate non-essential verbiage. Focus on the goal.  Figure out what they want, not what you want.  Get rid of peripheral add-ons unless they’re requested.

If you can’t put together a compelling resume, you’ll not get an interview.  It’s that simple.

Get more insights at: mygreenerfuture.com   Send questions to: Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net


PARACHUTE QUESTIONS AS YOU ENTER A NEW ORGANIZATION

Posted on: April 24th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Whenever you change jobs (up,over or out) you must first understand how to succeed in your new position.  The questions that will help you are called “Parachute Questions”, as you are parachutting into a new situation.  You need specific answers in order to perform at your highest level.  These 25 questions are about your environment, objectives and strategies:

What is the environment like?

  1. What is the primary mission of the organization? Sales? Production? Technology? 0ther?  Is my function critical to that mission, secondary or remote?  Implications?
  2. What are the critical variables (3 – 6 max) that will determine my success?
  3. What are the perceptions of others to the function within the organization?
  4. What are the key outputs (accomplishments) that the function must produce?
  5. What are the key inputs (resource support) can I depend upon?  Are there weak spots?
  6. What are the external forces, outside of my control, that will impact performance?
  7. What are the critical performance standards?  Are all expectations within my control?
  8. What is an acceptable deviation from standard performance?  How much leeway?
  9. What are the key performance indicators?  How do I measure my results?
  10. What are the controllable variables?  What can I directly make happen?
  11. What are the uncontrollable variables?  What are outside of my influence?
  12. How are resources allocated? Who decides those allocations (staff, capital, etc…)?

What are my business objectives, expected results and time-line?

  1. What is my ultimate goal and first year objectives? What results, by when?
  2. What is critical that I personally do/not do?  What can be easily delegated?
  3. Who are the key resources on my staff that guarantee my success or failure?
  4. What are key result indicators that must be benchmarked, in what time period?

What should my personal strategy be?

  1. What will get me fired?  What’s the history of predecessors?  What happened to them?
  2. What will get me promoted?  Who can I use as a role model for advancement?
  3. How do I identify and get the information I need? How do I test its reliability?
  4. What feedback should I give my boss?  What is the boss’ requirements for success?
  5. What changes do I need to negotiate with my boss? With subordinates? With peers?
  6. Are there external personal forces that will affect my strategy? family? social? political?
  7. What key information is essential that I learn quickly?  From whom?  How do I do it?
  8. How do I identify points of diminishing returns?  How do I get a “win”, quickly?
  9. How should I allocate my time between priorities, resources and expectations?

Let us help you succeed in the marketplace. We can be your secret weapon.

Our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net


WHAT’S YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL SWEET SPOT?

Posted on: April 16th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

The simplest definition of an organizational sweet spot is that it’s the kind of place in which you’re the most comfortable and have the highest probability of success. That could mean a lot of different variables along a number of decision points.  For instance:

Size: Are you better suited in a large complex organization with multiple subsidiaries, a large single product organization, a mid-sized company, or a small entrepreneurial business?

Industry: The mining industry is a far cry from consumer products.  An industry selection will constrain your alternatives if you stay in it for too long and make it difficult to jump to another.

Vertical or Horizontal: A vertical organization has many layers and fewer direct reports. Horizontal organizations have fewer layers with many direct reports.  Which do you best fit?

Product or Service: Product-driven companies are focused on making and distributing a physical item, while a service company is focused on providing a customer benefit that is not product driven.  Both are customer oriented, but the service sector is much more highly attuned to customer service.

One location, multiple or field: Is the business in one location or does it have multiple locations? A field organization tends to be fragmented into smaller pieces and requires travel.

Management style: Are you more comfortable with a strong central direction or are you highly spontaneous wanting more individual freedom? Which style do you excel or shrink?

Business cycle: Do you thrive in turn-around organizations or do you want the security of a slow growth organization.  Performance is dictated by the requirements of the business.

Domestic or International: Global companies are run differently than domestic companies due to culture, language, laws, and distribution-channels. You’re affected by all of these.

Primary or secondary driver: Is your function connected with the main business line or a side business within the main driver business?  Is your function the “Big dog” or “little dog”?

And so on: The variables are almost endless.

Which variables are most important to you and how does it affect your search parameters?

Some people do better in an entrepreneurial environment while others thrive in a big bureaucratic corporation. Neither is good or bad within itself.  It either fits your comfort zone or it doesn’t.  Which do you prefer and why?  The answer will help you sort out job opportunities where you have a higher probability to succeed.

Take control of your destiny. Be a candidate rather than an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.  Find more information, articles and mini-webinars at our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com