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


WHEN TO CHANGE YOUR CAREER FOR A NEW ONE?

Posted on: April 9th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Are you unhappy with your career?  If yes, is it the job itself or something else? No one can answer that question for you, however these insights may be helpful:

  • If you had a more effective boss, with you doing similar work, would that help?
  • If you were with a new company, doing similar work, would your satisfaction be greater?
  • If you had a new location and co-workers, doing similar work, would that solve the issue?
  • If you were promoted to supervisor over your current position, would that be better?

The problem could be the work itself, your career direction or the company or industry.  Here are some real examples of people in the wrong position, level, company or industry.

  • 50% of the MBA’s I mentor have worked in their undergraduate majors and are unhappy.  Most said what they studied was totally different from what they actually did.
  • A technology whiz-kid is gifted in designing new applications and systems but is in a job that only maintains current programs. He needs a new function and/or company.
  • Sally loves to work with numbers and would be perfect in the accounting or tax world.  However, she’s a Supervisor of Customer Service in retail where everyone with a problem goes to her. This is both a career and job problem.

It seems so easy to see other people’s issues. Not so easy when looking in the mirror:

  • Do an honest assessment of your strength and weaknesses. Describe the things that give you joy.  Are you a people person or not?  What areas of work do you excel?
  • Ask yourself what should you really be doing in a career?  Be honest but realistic.
  • Talk to people who are already doing what you think you’d like to do.  Find the good, bad and ugly parts. Identify the industry where you would be the most productive and passionate.
  • Find out how to qualify for your new direction.  A 50 year old in sales, becoming a CPA is not in the cards. Test out your ideas to see if your goal is possible.
  • Put a workable plan together. Test out that plan with the people who are already doing it.  They can tell you whether it’s a fit or not for you.
  • Find a way to experience the function where you can thrive.  Do small consulting jobs, part-time work, or even volunteer at a non-profit organization where you can “test” your skills.  Usually a non-profit organization can find a place for a volunteer to show their stuff.

No single answer can solve all of your problems, but a good strategy will help.  Leaving a career is like a divorce.  It may be painful. However, there may be a rationale not to change:  You may be too young or too old, too many personal impediments, too much to lose financially, lack of abilities or skills for any other type work.  You need to sort that out.

On the other hand, you should talk with someone.  You need a person who is objective and experienced in these matters.

Contact us now for a free consultation and objective input!  Contact My Greener Future at the email address: mygreenerfuture1@cox.net.  Our website is:  mygreenerfuture.com


WITHOUT A MAP, ANY ROAD WILL GET YOU SOMEWHERE

Posted on: April 3rd, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

No one can design your Career Map for you.  In fact no one, including yourself, can foresee the ultimate direction your career will take.  What is a Career Map?  It’s a continuing review of where you think you want to go with your career against the steps you believe are necessary to get there. Here are some elements to start your own Career Map.

You’ll always need two points of reference to start:  First, your ultimate career goal.  Second, where you are now. The rest is filled with plans, hopes, dreams and some luck. It’ll always be a working model, never static.  The map will look something like this.

Don’t try to make your map perfect, as the time frames are 5, 10, or 20 years out.

First step is to pencil in your ultimate career goal at the final stage.  It may change however, over time.   Reality will dictate the end point as time goes by.

Second step is to identify where you are now.  This is your starting point. You may find that your starting point may influence your ultimate career goal.  Adjust it accordingly.

Third step is the tricky one.  Lay out the successive steps you need to move between those two points.   This sounds difficult, and it is.  You’re looking for step-stones that may or may not be obvious to you now, but will emerge as time goes on.

Fourth step is to designate the time line between each step. The time-line is flexible because there are times when you’ll jump over a step, take a detour or find an alternative.

Once you have sketched-in your preliminary outline, work backwards from your ultimate career goal and ask yourself, “Where do I need to be (title or function) in the step before I achieve my ultimate career goal?”  Then, “Where should I be in the step before that step?” And so on.  Always work backwards. If you don’t know the steps required to reach your ultimate career goal, then maybe you should rethink your Career Goal.

Once that’s complete, work forward and apply a time-line from where you are now to the next step, then the next step, and on and on until you reach your ultimate career goal.  Once you have the outline of steps, then you can move forward with inserting the variables.  What are they?  These are the detours or alternatives along your career that will help accelerate you to the next step.

There are an endless number of variables.  Some of them are:

  • Will you need an advanced degree?
  • What professional association should you join?
  • At what age should you be at each step?
  • How many steps are there, given where you are now?

Look at your emerging Career Map as a “work in process”.  It will modify over time, but the plan can keep you within a targeted direction.

Let us help you with your job search strategies to advance your career.  Contact us.

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


WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOU!!

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

I DIDN’T KNOW THAT!

  • 58% of hiring companies check social networking sites to research job candidates.  Of those candidates researched, 33% were not hired based on the information found!  Reformat your social networking information so your not eliminated before you begin.
  • Over 50% of communications is non-verbal experts say.  But over 80% of screening interviews are over the telephone! How do you make a positive impact when you can’t “read” the interviewer.  Your goal is to get a person-to-person interview?
  • Finding jobs… LinkedIn 10 million. Facebook, 18.4 million but the latter site helped almost twice as many people find jobs than the former, through networking
  • 71% of candidates fail the question “Why do you want to work here?” (see Tricky Questions in a prior article)
  • Only 5 out of 1000 online job applications ever make it to the hiring manager’s desk
  • Spending time online is one portion of your search effort, but only a part.   Talking to people over coffee about their industry or company makes a greater impression.
  • Sometimes a lateral move is the key to your career success.  It should fit into your Career Map strategy.
  • 80% of top managers ** say that communications is one of the top skills for advancement.  But only 38% of those same executives see communications as better than average in their own organization.  Learn the “soft skills”.
  • You need to find out what the hiring manager’s biggest problem is, and how to capitalize on it with potential solutions during an interview.  How do you do that?
  • The higher you move up in an organization the more important the soft skills become.
  • Critical thinking (73%), collaboration (72%) and innovation (66%) were all rated as skills that top managers are looking for in a new hire.  But they rate their own employees at 52%, 47% and 37%.
  • Do you become invisible when your organization is moving through a major transition, like a merger or reorganization?  Bad move.  Decision-makers may see you as irrelevant.

Join My Greener Future to develop a job search strategy and Career Map.

Find more information, articles and mini-webinars at our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com