AMERICA IS THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY, EXCEPT FOR THE UNPREPARED

Posted on: March 4th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

I had one of those AH-HA moments the other day that led to a question.  The question is:  “Why don’t we do something about it?

Let me give you the list of precipitating facts and see if you can figure out a better answer.

  • 15% of the workforce is under/unemployed in the U.S. (some say it’s much higher)
  • More than half of U.S. employers said they were having trouble filling job openings because they couldn’t find qualified workers.
  • Silicon Valley and other technology application centers have unfilled job openings and are recruiting in other countries.
  • In the U.S., there is a major shortage of electricians, plumbers & medical technicians
  • A majority of undergraduates are liberal arts recipients with many unemployed
  • Advanced degrees in math & science by foreign-born students is significantly greater than American-born students, by a very large margin
  • There are unfilled jobs for $80,000 a year oilfield jobs workers in North Dakota
  • In past recessions, companies hired workers in anticipation of the upturn.
    Now, companies want to see the upward demand before hiring employees.
  • Companies can identify their specific needs faster than people can develop their specific skills to match the job, causing a skills mismatch
  • When companies know exactly what they need and when, they are looking for skills or experiences that comes the closest, not generic knowledge that requires training
  • A Master Plumber will earn four times the income as a waiter who has a history degree
  • Companies are looking for applicants that can improve performance or productivity, not someone who needs training to be effective two years from now

In order to develop an answer to the question, one needs to figure out the issues.
I see the issues as follows:

  • The supply of qualified people is overabundant in some fields and undersupplied in others. The compensation in fields of demand will rise when the supply is scarce.
  • Americans shy away from the hard sciences and prefer the easy courses for a degree
  • The momentum of the past (to take liberal arts programs and let the company give you the training) is not working.  The reality is to get an earlier jump on the opportunities.
  • Maybe everyone shouldn’t be a college graduate, especially in a field where there is no demand.  An educated employee at $10 an hour doesn’t make much sense.
  • Hiring too many non-U.S. born employees will become counterproductive in the long run if Americans cannot produce a qualified workforce to fill the vacancies
  • Yes, America is the land of opportunity, but maybe less so for unprepared Americans.

Let me know your thoughts.

Take control of your destiny.  Let me help you succeed in the marketplace. Want some answers to you questions?  Contact me by Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

Check out the website:  Mygreenerfuture.com


WHAT THE HECK IS A PURPLE SQUIRREL?

Posted on: February 28th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

The phrase “Purple Squirrel” is a book by that name written by Michael Junge.  The term refers to the “absolutely perfect” candidate for an open position, one who meets all of the exact qualifications desired by the hiring organization.  Why is it called a Purple Squirrel?  Because the absolute perfect candidate doesn’t exist!  Or if they exist on paper, they don’t exist in real life.

Just think about all of the exact experiences, qualifications, skills, industry segment, location, education, organizational level, compensation, and anything else needed to fill an open job.  What are the chances for an absolutely perfect fit?  None!  So how does that affect you and your job search strategy?  If the purple squirrel doesn’t exist, how can you come as close as possible to become a clone of one?

Hiring companies understand that they must compromise or bend some of the unrealistic combinations of qualifications for an open position.  The question is which are the rigid ones from those that are more flexible.  Here are some strategies to consider.

How to become a Purple Squirrel:

  • Form a template listing all qualifications from the position description or ad write-up
  • Parallel your experiences and qualifications, shaping it around the template
  • Construct a resume paralleling the template as close as possible
  • Create a cover letter and include those 3 or 4 items you believe are most critical
  • When you receive a screening interview phone call have all of the information handy
  • Respond to the questions as best you can, focusing on the template experiences
  • Make sure to ask your own questions at the end, seeking answers to key questions
  • The targeted questions you must ask are called Showstopper Questions:
    • “What are the key issues
      within this function that need solutions?”
    • “What are the performance
      expectation for the new hire during the first year?”
  • Answers to these questions will give you the information you’ll need for an interview
  • When interviewing with the hiring manager, provide alternatives to the key issues
  • Engage the hiring manager in a discussion of these alternatives

The goal of these steps is to get you as close as possible to become a candidate rather than just an applicant.  While there is no such thing as a purple squirrel, you’ll come as close as possible.

Take control of your destiny.  Let me help you succeed in the marketplace. Want some answers to you questions?  Contact me by Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

Check out the website:  Mygreenerfuture.com


CONSIDERING A BUSINESS EXPANSION OR MERGER?

Posted on: February 25th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President, My Greener Future

If you’re considering an expansion or merger, sit down, take a few deep breadths and read this article.  You may thank me later to either move ahead, or not.  These are some of the things to think about.

WHY DO IT? Make sure your rationale is clear, objective, understood by all, and feasable

  • Critical mass? – You want to make a bigger footprint or imprint in the marketplace
  • Diversify or balance the cycles? – Convert a limited or seasonal business to full year-round offering
  • Dominate an industry or market ?– Create a major position over your competition
  • Reduce the cost of doing business? – Improve the productivity, efficiency
    or effectiveness
  • A blocking strategy? – Prevent your competition from moving in or expanding

WHY IT MAY NOT WORK? Does it really make sense?  What is
the compelling rationale?

  • Inadequate due diligence – Somebody didn’t do their homework, deep enough to surface problems
  • Lack of a compelling strategic rationale – Longer term, does the strategy
    accelerate your growth?
  • Unrealistic expectations of possible synergies – What looks good on paper may not work in reality
  • Costs too much – Are the financials being “hyped” by hopes and dreams?
  • Conflicting cultures – Size changes the culture: Styles, plans, structures, direction and egos
  • Failure to move quickly enough to meld the business – Integration must move in a timely manner

WHY “RIGHTSIZE” QUICKLY? – The longer you wait the more difficlt to achieve the objective

  • Turn-around – At least one segment of the business usually needs to be
    shored-up
  • Accelerated growth or future expansion – If you’re going to grow quickly,
    rightsize immediately
  • Strategic redirection – Prepare to redirect your assets and resources for the future
  • New markets, products, distribution, customers – No one is going to wait for you. Get there first.
  • Improve staff – Now is the time to “cherry-pick” top performers.  Give the rest to the competition.

THE “PEOPLE” PHILOSOPHY IS IMPORTANT – Getconsistency!  All these factors arecritical.

  • “My people” – Those I can trust, can work with, and will lead by example
  • The best people – Those that can achieve the best performance over time
  • The “drivers” – Those who can move the business in the direction I want, quickly
  • The next generation – Those that can take over and accelerate my “dream”

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS?

  • Up to 50% of management may be replaced over time. Business needs may outstrip their abilities.
  • Consolidation of locations and staff is inevitable.  Make sure you have a professional to help you.
  • An average 10% of jobs are lost due to the transition.  Have a plan in place.
  • 75% of expansions/mergers fail to achieve the expectations.  Be very conservative with your goals.
  • Whatever the plan, it may take three-times the expected time-line and twice the cost. Be prepared.

Whether you downsize, rightsize, upsize or contemplate a merger, bring in a pro who has done it many other times and places.  You’ll end up more successful, quicker, than trying to fix the problems while moving forward.  It’s like changing a flat tire while driving 60 miles and hour.

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


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