Saturday, November 26, 2011

'Fire The Slugs'—That's Good Turnover

"Fire the slugs," says management expert Jeff Cortes. That's good turnover and also it's good for retention—all of your other employees have been wondering when you would act.

"There's good and bad turnover," says Cortes, author of the book, No Nonsense Retention, which he characterizes as a collection of no-nonsense ways to retain your best people.

Firing a non-performer-a slug- is good turnover. But when a top performer leaves to go elsewhere and your organization is left with a huge void, that's bad turnover. It can affect the performance of the whole organization.

Turnover is very costly, Cortes adds. Depending on the study you look at, the impact of turnover ranges from three months of salary for a low level
employee, to as high as 400 percent of the annual salary of an upper-level person.

"If you are going to maximize your organization's performance you have to make a conscious, top-down management commitment to develop a no-nonsense approach to retention," Cortes says.

Here are his top must-do actions for retaining the human assets you've worked so hard to acquire:

1. Fire the Slugs
Hold your people accountable for their performance, Cortes says. If they don't solve the problem, then terminate them with respect and dignity. And here's the big bonus from firing slugs-your good performers will love you. For sure, they've been stewing about having to carry most of the slug's load.

2. Start at the Top
Assess your supervisory and management team, says Cortes. Seventy percent of employees say that the worst thing about their jobs is their boss. Find out what's wrong and fix it, Cortes urges. Identify the prima donnas and micromanaging control freaks, the whiners, complainers, and blamers. Get them basic supervisory training and improve their performance continuously.

If you are the boss, take ownership of this process, says Cortes.

3. Clean Up the House
Identify the non-performers. Identify the poor managers and supervisors. If they do not respond to training and show significant improvement, remove them from an influential role and replace them with someone that does what is truly desired and required for the role and position they are in, Cortes says.

4. Manage Visibly
Get out of the ivory tower. Begin each day by walking around. Stroll around the floor several times a day. Meet the customers, talk with employees, visit with the supervisors, greet the vendors, help the delivery trucks load and unload. Get out of your office. Let people know you are there and that you care. The point here is that you set lead by example, Cortes explains. If they like you they are less likely to leave you. Visibility drives retention.

5. Care About Your People
If you don't really care about your people, your business is doomed. Caring is the reason why people stay. Get to know your people. Learn what each person likes and enjoys. Listen to them and learn about their interests, families, and hobbies. Protect your people from harm and from others in your organization. People are loyal to those who care about them and care for them.

6. Keep Your Door Open 80% of the Time
Let your people know you are accessible to them, says Cortes, author of the book, No Nonsense Retention. Avoid telling people to make an appointment or come back later. Make sure the time you do spend with your people is quality time, he adds.

7. Actively Focus onEmployee Assistance
Sit down with the other managers in your organization and identify the problems that are faced by people in your workforce. Develop innovative ideas and deploy specific new plans to provide employees with more flexibility in their work, support for their common needs, and help for dealing with personal issues that impact their life.

8. Treat Everyone with Respect Always
Every leader and manager and supervisor must set the standard that respectful behavior and sincere open appreciation are expected with no
exceptions, Cortes says. Investigate and take immediate action of all non-respectful behavior incidents. And take an active step: Have the managers
and supervisors bring food to be shared on a regular basis. "Break bread with your people regularly instead of forcing people to eat baloney," -Cortes says.

9. Ask Your People What They Want
Also remember to ask people what they want out of their work. Identify what they want to grow, to develop greater control, autonomy, and responsibility for the work they do for you. Help them achieve these goals specifically and incrementally. "Meaningful engagement in their own future drives commitment and loyalty," Cortes says.

10. Tell Your People What You Want of Them
Be specific, clear, and make sure you explain what you expect of them. Give them the tools, support, and the time they need to get the work done. If they do not meet your expectations-assuming the expectations have been clearly communicated and they had the resources to accomplish the task-bring them in and talk with them and find out what it will take to get them on track.


10 Signs Your Interaction Style Is Messing With Your Career

There's an old saying that goes like this:

"Everyone thinks they have taste and a sense of humor."

Well, as a career coach for the last 10 years, I can tell you that phrase should be adjusted to:

"Everyone thinks they have taste, a sense of humor, and good communication skills."

I am continually amazed at the number of people that have no idea how their Interaction Style is impacting their career. (Take this FREE quiz to learn your style.)

If you've ever had an issue with a co-worker, boss, or client, then I can tell you with 100% certainty your Interaction Styles had something to do with it. More importantly, if you've ever felt out of place in a company, or as if you can't seem to get the respect you want in your career, then I guarantee your Interaction Style is guilty. Here are 10 signs your Interaction Style is messing with your career:

  1. You feel like nobody is paying attention to your requests at work.
  2. Colleagues have informal meetings without you and then tell you the results and how they directly impact your job.
  3. Your boss dismisses EVERY idea you present to her.
  4. Co-workers always agree with you when you voice your concerns, but then you hear they said something entirely different to your boss.
  5. You have no close friends at the office.
  6. You've been told you aren't "management material" yet.
  7. People get really quiet and don't have any answers or comments when you speak.
  8. You don't get selected for any team projects or special assignments.
  9. People love to tease you about how "honest" and "funny" and "shameless" you are at the office.
  10. You've been fired.

What can you do about it?

It's time you took a class on the basics of Interaction Styles. You need to learn:

A. The strengths and weaknesses of your style.
B. The best way to leverage your Interaction Style in your career.

Good news – the class is next Tuesday, November 29! Join me for a session that will provide deep insight into how your Interaction Style can be used more effectively. As 2012 fast approaches, are you willing to let your Interaction Style continue to hold you back from the career success you want and deserve? Give your career a gift this holiday season! Take this class and learn the secrets to really communicating like a pro.

P.S. I'm offering an AMAZING special deal if you sign-up for this webinar this week. See here.

J.T. O'Donnell is the founder of and CEO of, a web-based career development company.

Thanks to J.T. O'Donnell / Careerealism


51 Tips For Sales Leaders From The Sales Consulting Industry

This post is written for sales leaders who describe themselves as students of the craft.  You do not have time to comb through hundreds of blogs, books, magazines, articles, podcasts, tweets, etc. to find that one nugget that you can use today.  Yet, you are competitive and want to know more than the next guy. Our sales consulting firm can play the role of "curator" and net it out for you.

The origin of this post was a journal containing the most commonly requested topics to be written about on our blog. As our subscriber base has increased, so too have the requests, making it difficult for our sales consulting firm to keep pace.   The most logical way to respond to each request is the Tip List.

Here it is.  Enjoy.

51 Tips for Students of the Craft from the Sales Consulting Industry

  1. Make sure you have channel ready content before launching a channel enablement program.
  2. Convert your Ideal Customer Profile into Buyer Personas.
  3. The most effective sales process reinforcement tool is the win/loss review.
  4. Prioritize recycled leads over all other leads sources.  Third time is a charm.
  5. Fill lead development rep positions before filling sales rep positions.
  6. When qualifying a lead, understand the difference between interest and intent.
  7. Have both commissions and bonuses in your comp plan.
  8. Properly weigh comp plan variables.  You are signaling to the field what is important to you.
  9. Match web form submissions to 3rd party databases to see if they are real people.
  10. Keep the lead scoring algorithm SIMPLE.
  11. Tie quotas to the potential of a territory.
  12. Last year's revenue production is an unreliable input into this year's quota.
  13. Event based sales training does not work.
  14. Hiring 'A' players takes more than a 1 hour interview.
  15. New hire time to productivity is most effected by territory composition.
  16. Don't read any sales best practices written pre-internet. They no longer apply.
  17. Stop calling inside sales inside sales.  It is demeaning and no longer accurate.
  18. There are 2,000 hours of selling time per rep per year. 50 weeks x 40 hours/week.
  19. Single purpose roles are outperforming multi-purpose sales roles.
  20. Centralized lead gen outperforms decentralized lead gen.
  21. Knowing how to do something is more important than knowing what to do.
  22. ¾ of selling costs are labor costs.  Get sales force sizing correct.
  23. Too many sales people will make the CFO unhappy.  Too few sales people will make the CEO unhappy.
  24. Learn your customers' meeting preferences- face to face, over the phone, or web based.
  25. Making decisions with your gut no longer makes sense.  There's lots of data at your fingertips.
  26. Mystery shop your competitors. How do they sell?
  27. Make sure your best reps are on your best accounts.
  28. Don't buy software (CRM, Marketing Automation) until you have a process defined.
  29. Leading indicators are better than lagging indicators. Which metrics are you looking at?
  30. Garbage in, garbage out.  Don't let your reps pollute your data.
  31. SFDC works for your sales team. Your sales team does not work for SFDC.
  32. Forecasting without a sales process is like building a house without a blue print.
  33. Only the buyer can move from one stage to the next in a sales methodology. A rep cannot.
  34. Mckinsey says ¾ of Solution Selling roll outs have failed.  It no longer works.
  35. Make sure your sales managers are impacting the business, not just reporting on it.
  36. A sales process without job aides is like a dentist without tools to clean teeth.
  37. Only a customer can determine if they are a Key Account. You cannot.
  38. In strategic account programs, less is more.  If you have more than 25 accounts in the program, double check it.
  39. Selling services is different than selling products.  It requires two separate sales methods.
  40. By the time you get the sales appointment, the customer has done lots of research.
  41. Opening a presentation with a company intro slide is like walking into a bar with your resume stuck to your forehead.
  42. All of your customers are on social media.  Get out of denial.
  43. Not all channel partners are created equal. Treat them differently.
  44. Channel success is not signing new channel partners.
  45. A channel manager role is not a "relationship manager".  Generate incremental revenue or go home.
  46. Make sure every sales call has a call objective prior to beginning.  Simple but often overlooked.
  47. Prospects will Google you before agreeing to do business. What will they find?
  48. Buyers cannot be sold. Buyers buy.
  49. Great processes executed by below average people results in failure.
  50. Great people with no process support results in failure.
  51. Sales excellence = great people placed in optimized performance conditions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Each Step You Take, Take Charge Of Your Career

AMA was honored to host John C. Maxwell on its website program "Edgewise." Maxwell's newest book is also considered his most important work to date. Titled The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential, it treats leadership as a verb, not a noun, reflecting the stages of growth and development as one takes on more responsibilities and gains influence as a leader.

The significance of this book becomes evident if one remembers that Maxwell, in addition to being a renowned speaker, has authored over 60 books. This book makes the reader feel more in control of his or her career and also makes the individual aware of what can be done at each stage of the individual's development.

Maxwell explained to the audience that leadership is usually regarded as a noun. "In this book," he said, "I use it as a verb to reflect not a title but rather stages of development or growth. For example, on Level 1, you might think of yourself as a leader, but I would say, 'No, you haven't become a leader. You have an opportunity to lead but the job title doesn't guarantee that you are a good leader.' If a leadership position made someone a good leader, then everybody that had a leadership position would be a good leader, yet you and I know that people who have leadership positions aren't necessarily good at leading."

The 5 Levels of Leadership stresses that influence is achieved on five distinct levels, and that whichever level you are on, you can grow to a higher level. As Maxwell explained, "You have to keep moving. You have to keep learning." He continued "I want leaders to understand where they are on the five levels of leadership and also how they can continue to develop themselves."

According to Maxwell, Level 1, the position might come with the title supervisor or even leader but it wouldn't necessarily make the holder of the title a leader. "A position doesn't make someone a leader; the leader makes the position" he noted.

Whereas the first level may come with the title, the second level comes with permission from those around you to lead them. "At this level," said Maxwell, "it's vital to have great relationships. Otherwise such permission won't be extended." On Level 2 you start to connect with people and they like you and you like them.

Moving up to Level 3, you gain credibility. "You are now casting a vision and bringing forth results. People follow you not because of what you say but because of what you do. You are in a much stronger leadership position because you have credibility with the people—you're not only asking them to produce but you're producing as well. "The third level is the production level where attention focuses on results," according to Maxwell. "That's where you begin to see results from your leadership. There is also evidence of credibility. You're not only saying things but doing them. It's where momentum kicks in."

According to Maxwell, Level 4 is the people development level. It is critical to understand that the organization's most valuable asset is people and then to develop the full worth of those people. In other words, at the fourth level, you produce results with people and through people. You begin to do the things that you could do on Level 3 by yourself but you begin to train and develop other people until they can do it themselves

The fifth level is the Pinnacle, and it's where leaders gain the respect of those with whom they work, according to Maxwell. As you move to the fifth level, you begin to compound your return. You're in the maximum position and you have done so well that you really have become bigger than life.

The book, however, goes beyond a description of the five levels. It also explains the negatives and the positives and prepares and helps holders of the various levels to prepare for the next step upward.

Each level has upsides and downsides, but Level 5 may be the most significant, Maxwell told the audience. "The upside is the respect and influence you gain. The downside is the loss of momentum that can occur. You may think you deserve to be where you are in the organization and stop actively leading, causing your leadership to decline. Leaders on the Pinnacle can have the most impact, but they can't start believing their own press."

Maxwell observed that the longer you are in a leadership position, the greater your influence extends. With each step, however, you maximize your potential.

You may wonder how long each level might take. Maxwell advises that we not concern ourselves with this issue. "It will be quicker for some than with others, just as some will get higher up than others. Just be concerned about the fact that you're going from one level to the next. So long as you're increasing your levels of influence and your effectiveness is increasing, it is just a matter of time until you get to your Level 5."

About the Author(s):- Florence M. Stone is editorial director for American Management Association.

Thanks to Florence M. Stone / AMANET / AMA—American Management Association


Tip Of The Day: 3 Whats For Power

Once you've made a decision use these three questions to check whether you have a clear decision that you can turn into reality.

What? ~ A clear statement of what you decided to do in two sentences or less.

So what? ~ Explain what will be different after you do it, and why that matters.

Now what? ~ Define the first visible action that will move things forward, who is responsible, and when it will be done.

Thanks to Wally Bock's Three Star Leadership Blog

Managing 5 Kinds Of Hiring Managers

No matter who you're meeting with, make a good impression. But hiring managers even more so. You will potentially be partnering with these individuals during your entire stay at the company you are with, and potentially beyond.

During my first corporate recruiting position I felt that my role was as a "service provider" to my managers, so when they said jump, I did. Looking back on that now I realize how many opportunities I missed to set myself up as an expert in my profession of recruiting because I lacked the confidence to command a meeting and initiate a true partnership during the beginning of that relationship.

During my time as a recruiter I have run across several different types of managers and most can be intimidating. Below are some of the most common personality types that I've run across and ways that you can forge strong relationships with them despite some of their traits.

The "unemployment rate is so high you must have candidates banging our door down" manager: This particular breed of manager needs to be better educated on what is really out there in the market. The unemployment rate rising doesn't always result in a rise in the actual candidates who you need for a given opening. Websites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Wanted Analytics are great starting points to use, and they'll be able to arm you with some statistics on how many candidates for that job are actually out there. Be prepared for your first meeting with this manager by painting a realistic picture of the market from the very beginning of your search so that you set expectations correctly in the beginning.

The "I am an executive and feel I am better than you and want to hire an agency" manager: Oh my, this is my least-favorite manager, and there is always at least one in every company! Some managers no matter what your success rate is want to use an outside source just for the purpose of using an outside source. Try and compile a list of agencies that your company has worked with in the past and rate their success rate against your own, and how many hires have they made for your company vs. how many you've made. What has the success of those employees been in terms of tenure?

When I worked at Mike's Hard Lemonade, I had an executive who just so happened to be best friends with a particular agency that he gave the exclusive to on everything. I wasn't able to get him to stop using that firm on my first search, but I was able to see the candidates that agency was submitting and how easily they were finding them by pulling up the same candidates on Monster or LinkedIn. When you can illustrate that the 25-30% agency fee is only getting you a 10-minute Monster search, executives tend to listen a little more closely. With time I was able to convince that manager to allow me two weeks for a search before it went out to an agency. Over time my track record spoke for itself and I was able to gain trust and create a good partnership with this manager.

The "I don't have time for hiring" manager: About half of my managers fall into the category of not having any time for recruitment, yet hiring and staffing their team is their No. 1 priority. These managers can be difficult to get any information out of, yet they assume you're able to leave a five-minute meeting and produce a perfect candidate in a matter of days. The reality is managers need to be educated that the more information they provide to you and more information you get upfront, the less painful and slow the process of staffing for their team will be. I worked with a manager at Cobalt several years back, who was notorious for missing my meetings. So when I received a position from him I would do as much pre-work as possible, knowing from experience that I was only going to get yes and no answers from him, and that our first meeting about this position would most likely be our last.

Be prepared in that first meeting with candidate profiles. You most likely won't get more than a job description from this manager, so use that to find some profiles and review them on the spot. Even hearing a yes or no on a profile can provide you with a sense of the type of candidate that they are looking for. Come prepared to the meeting with companies in your area that are hiring similar profiles so that you can provide the manager with a list of companies to pull from instead of expecting him to have that available for you. Ask if there is a lead or manager on their team who can assist with the candidate screening in an effort to save them time.

The "in an effort to look engaged I am going to ask for status updates on everything you do" manager: Some managers just like to micromanage the process and want to know everything you're doing, including how many resumes you've seen, how many candidates you've rejected, etc. I try to be as proactive as possible with these ones and ask in the first meeting what kind of metrics they are looking for, and will create a weekly report for them. Most ATS's have reporting functionality that you can use to build out custom reports without a lot of effort needed on your end. I use Jobvite, which has a custom report functionality that works great for this, and also allows for managers to go into the system and run their own reports at any given time.

The "even though I am a VP of _____ I am also an expert in your field and will tell you how to do your job" manager: You gotta love managers who know everyone in the industry, exactly where to find people, and how you should go about starting your search. While having a manager be networked and engaged is usually a blessing, sometimes it can go to the extreme and become a curse. Managers who know everyone in the industry and therefore start rejecting candidates based on rumors, hearsay, or reputation alone will really narrow down your pipeline. Use their knowledge to your benefit. If there are associations and groups that they'd like you to network in, ask if a member of their team can assist you as well so that you'll have time to not only run your own search but also incorporate the ideas of your hiring manager without running yourself ragged.

Thanks to Cassandra Denny / ERE / ERE Media, Inc.


Leaders Should Be Competent – But Not Too Competent

Guest post from David C. Baker. Does a manager/leader need to be really good at what they manage? I would say for some professions, like sales, they do. What do you think?
After interviewing more than 10,000 employees at 600+ companies, you start noticing patterns in effective leaders. Recognizing these patterns is a crucial step for first-time (and long-time) managers, as I've written about in Managing (Right) for the First Time.

One of the more surprising patterns is the level of competence that a leader should possess. Leaders only need a basic level of competence. Just enough to understand the issues and evaluate talent.

Leaders should not be the most technically competent of the group they are leading. If they are, it may be a sign that they have hired helpers instead of experts. It could also mean that they were promoted for the wrong reasons. They might have been a very good "doer," but perhaps not the best "manager."

There is one thing leaders should be competent at: leading. That is their job. Leaders should know just enough to be dangerous about the subject they are managing. How can you know if you've crossed the boundary into over-competence? Ask yourself:

• Is there anyone you are managing that you don't trust to do something they have been hired to do? If so, why?

• When you are reviewing work, do you spend more time nitpicking or focusing on the big picture?

• When you are interviewing new talent, are you actively seeking out people that are smarter than you in a given area?

Let's face it: all over the world you can find well-run companies whose leaders are managing others who are far more competent than they are. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing. A well-run company is a well-run company.

Author Bio:- David C. Baker lived in Guatemala until he was 18 and now lives in Nashville, TN. In addition to owning a thriving management consulting practice, ReCourses, David is a frequent speaker and author. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Inc. magazine, BusinessWeek, and dozens of other national publications. He enjoys travel, racquetball, photography, and flying airplanes and helicopters.

Outline for a Sales Training Manual

Every now and then, we get requests for an outline for a sales training manual. We usually respond in the same way:

What prompted your interest in a sales training manual?

Typically, it's because someone told someone else to come up with some sales training. If we've learned one thing after 35 years of sales training experience, it's this: There's a lot more to a successful sales training initiative than the manual.

Simply building a sales training manual -- even a really good one -- won't do any good. The secret to successful sales training is in bringing it alive. Experienced sales trainers can do that. In order to be effective, sales training needs a lot more than a manual.

We've delivered sales training to salespeople all over the world. So that means we've been involved with a lot of sales training programs.

Here's what the successful ones have going for them:

  • They're proven by real-world results. Sales training that's all "theory" just doesn't cut it. Salespeople are too cynical to be fooled by sales theory. Instead, they're looking for examples of tactics and principles that have been used in their industry, by their peers successfully.
  • They're backed-up by research. Naturally, "back of the envelope" sales tactics aren't going to work anymore, either. Sales leaders expect proof of the effectiveness of training initiatives. And now, more than ever, sales skills can be tested. In fact, this is a tremendous benefit of the Sales 2.0 movement.
  • They're individualized. Everyone inside a sales organizations sells in different ways. No matter how much effort is put into "competency modeling" or "benchmarking," there's a certain element of art in sales. And that means training needs to reflect the artists on your team. That takes more than a one-size-fits-all process.
  • They're customized to your unique environment. Your selling environment is different than your competitors'. And the sales process they follow will probably be a bit different than theirs. Sales training can't be a one-size-fits-all solution. A truly impactful engagement needs to map to your existing best practices. Not ignore them.
  • They're delivered by experienced salespeople and managers. Sales trainers can't tell salespeople what to do unless they've already done it, themselves. Salespeople are quick to pick up on the "Do as I say, not as I do" mantra.
  • They're reinforced beyond the training engagement. Changes in behavior do NOT come from a 2-day event. Instead, meaningful sales behavior growth and change must come from a longer-term, reinforced engagement with follow-up coaching.

So, you see, a manual, by itself, simply can't generate the effective change that a customized sales training program will.

Thanks to The Brooks Group


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Workers Are Unhappy: 3 Things A Manager Can Do

I was on a flight from Las Vegas this week when I overhead a fascinating conversation. The flight attendant was energetic and upbeat, a true ambassador for the airline. He was so atypical, in fact, that the two men seated behind me asked if they could speak to corporate and get him recognized. His good nature faded as he grumbled, "That's very nice of you, but please don't bother. We have a recognition system, but you need about three billion points before you can get anything worthwhile. I have maybe 280,000 points, which I think is like a $50 gift certificate."

Here was an amazing employee who was persevering despite the airline's poor recognition system. Did he have more to give? Probably. Was he dissatisfied, disheartened and even dismayed by the lack of acknowledgement for his great work? Without a doubt.

Employees are fed up. They admit they have more to give, but just don't feel like giving it.
As proof, consider a new study just conducted of worker satisfaction in the United States. More than half the respondents claimed they are not satisfied with the level of recognition they receive at work—up a whopping 11% from six months ago. But more to the point, 65% of people who are otherwise satisfied—those who aren't interested in finding a new job—admit they would work harder if they just received more praise for their efforts.

As a manager, ignore these findings at your peril.

The study, conducted in August by MarketTools Inc. for Globoforce, found that a lack of sincere recognition is also leading to employee turnover. Some 38% of working Americans say they are looking to leave their current companies. And the researchers found a startling correlation between the level of recognition a manager gives and the loyalty of his or her workers.

The problem is, few leadership teams are grasping the importance of this issue. As we work with executive groups, most are failing to admit the true toll on morale that this recession has wrought. Without exception, they've laid off workers and/or asked Herculean efforts from their remaining staff. And yet the level of appreciation has not increased; in fact in most cases it's decreased—after all, leaders are really, really busy.

In one of our surveys, a 10-year look at 200,000 people, we found managers who give frequent, specific, and timely recognition had not only much higher levels of employee engagement but also customer satisfaction and team profitability. These basics are things you can do right away to impact engagement:

Frequent: The Gallup Organization's research shows that for employees to feel valued and committed, they need to receive some form of praise or recognition every seven days. That doesn't mean you'll be handing out Rolex watches every week (if you do, sign me up). Instead, employees need verbal and written reinforcement of their work. Managers who earn the most trust and dedication of their people do so with many simple, yet powerful actions: writing a sincere note of thanks, highlighting a team member's performance in a staff meeting, doing their least favorite task for a day, sending an e-card of praise to an employee and copying your boss, and so on.

Specific: Non-specific praise is actually disheartening for employees, since it implies that their manager has no idea of the unique value they bring. Managers who offer this type of general praise may think they are rewarding the entire team with comments such as "Thanks, everyone, for your hard work." But such general praise has no effect. It can even have a negative impact on those in your charge. The best recognition is specific to the individual, and is always linked to a core value.

Timely: Nothing saps energy faster than doing something great and hearing no praise. To be recognized weeks or even a month later is of some reward, but realistically in 99% of cases a manager will forget if he puts it off. To reinforce the right behaviors, we must reward them right away.

In our work, we have found many great managers reaping the tangible benefits of frequent, specific, and timely recognition. These are learnable skills that can truly change your team for the better.

Adrian Gostick is the author of several New York Times bestselling business books, including The Carrot Principle and The Orange Revolution. He is the founder of The Culture Works, a global consultancy specializing in leadership and corporate culture.

Thanks to Adrian Gostick / AMANET / AMA Shift / AMA—American Management Association


Overcoming ‘Restless Entitlement Syndrome’ In Young Workers

A colleague at an energy company recently told me about his team. "Half of them are young and have what I call restless entitlement syndrome. They think, I've been to college, and I need to be a manager now. Not in five or ten years, but by December."

While I hate to stereotype an entire generation of younger workers, I'm hearing sentiments like this more and more from executives. Just a few weeks ago an insurance executive told me about a new hire her team wanted to make. The winning applicant was a recent college graduate, and she had beaten out more than 100 others for a coveted entry-level job in the company's marketing department. When the executive met the young woman for the first time—a formality my friend assumed—the college grad laid out her needs before she could possibly accept: $80,000 a year, her choice of assignments, and six weeks of vacation (so she could work on her philanthropic activities). Seriously.

According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 85% of hiring managers and human-resource executives say they feel that Millennials have a stronger sense of entitlement than older workers. The generation's greatest expectations: higher pay (74% of respondents); flexible work schedules (61%); a promotion within a year (56%); and more vacation or personal time (50%).

Now, on the flip side, realize we need Millennials. Not only will they fill the job openings left by retiring Baby Boomers, but this group has stronger than average skills in teamwork, technology, social networking, and multitasking. They were bred for achievement, and most will work hard if the task is engaging and promises a tangible payoff. The question is: How to effectively energize a team with these vastly different expectations and backgrounds? How do managers get younger workers to leave their baggage at home while convincing them to contribute their full energy, ideas, and even their patience?

It obvious that we must learn how to bend a little to engage the Millennial generation, and we are going to address this subject more in our new book on corporate culture coming in April. But here's a sneak peak: To engage this generation just entering the workforce, managers must learn how to energize. In April we will unveil one of the largest workplace studies ever conducted on high-performance teams, and our research shows some creative ideas to increase energy in younger workers. Here are just a few key thoughts:

  1. Provide clear career opportunities.
  2. Give them a say in decisions.
  3. Ensure they have interesting work.
  4. Keep them informed.
  5. Recognize above-and-beyond work.

It's a simple list, isn't it? But it's better follow through on these specific basics that will help you start connecting with younger workers. Smart managers communicate with their people more than average or poor managers. They trust their young employees' and give them some say in decisions. They ensure all employees have interesting projects to work on—as well as the mundane things we all must do— and they recognize employees when they achieve their goals and especially when they exceed.

But most importantly, employers detail career opportunities available to Millennials if they'll just stick around awhile. Indeed, career-pathing has proven to be the most effective retention tool.

Thanks to Adrian Gostick / Adrian Gostick / Adrian Gostick. Making Work More Rewarding


What To Do With The Long-Timer Who's No Longer Performing At A High Level...

Had a conversation with a friend who owns his own company this week.  He requested the meeting, the topic was how to communicate with a long-term employee who's done great work in the past but has fallen behind the grade of talent the company has hired recently.

It's called the Leapfrog effect. You hired him 8 years ago.  He was instrumental at helping you get ramped up when you were a 4-person shop.  You're at 50 team members now, and while the long-timer can still knock out the tasks you tell him to do, you really need him to be more proactive and strategic about his area of responsibility.  Translation - you shouldn't have to tell him what to do, but you've trained him early to wait on instructions and can't break him of the habit.

There's only one thing you can do if you've coached, prodded and talked until you're blue in the face.

You have to throw the fastball at his head. Performance management 101.  "Tim, we've been talking a lot about the extra things I need from you and how I need you to think differently.  It's review time, and this one is going to feel different.  Because of those conversations we've had and the fact that I'm not seeing a lot of change, I've giving you a rating that says you're not meeting the expectations in the role.  We're gong to spend time today talking about what you can do to turn this around.  I'm here to coach you, but I can't guide you every step of the way.  Rather than waiting another year to really talk about this in a formal sense, we're going to come back in 60 days and really evaluate a) if you've tried to make a change, and b) if the changes you tried to make are of high enough quality and consistent enough to change my view of how you're performing."

"I want you to make it.  But time's running out to make the changes we need."

The bottom line is this: You've got a long term employee whose performance doesn't fit what the company is and needs today.  They were fine for the role yesterday, but today it doesn't work.  There's too much going on, and simply knocking out tasks doesn't meet the need anymore.  You need them to knock out the tasks and ask "what's next?" and answer their own question, then take action.

They like you and are used to you.  You're a good person.  But you've been too patient. 

If you want change, you've got to draw the line in the sand.  The ball's in your court.


Stop Worrying About Leadership Behaviors: Focus On This Instead

Get it right on the inside and you'll get it right on the outside.  That's good advice that is rarely followed in today's management literature.  Instead there seems to be a focus on just getting it right on the outside.  This can work, but it's probably leaving your direct reports feeling a little empty at best—or distrusting at worst.

When leaders focus only on their behaviors and outside appearances, they are presenting a thin veneer of leadership that can work for a short while, but which eventually breaks down—especially under pressure.

Wondering how you can get it right on the inside instead of working so hard to act in a prescribed way on the outside?  Here are some ways to get started.  These are based on answers to the question, "Who was your best boss?" and "What made them so special?" that Blanchard consultants have been asking in classes and presentations over the years.

See people as assets to develop instead of liabilities to manage.  Good leadership begins with a fundamental belief in people and the value that they can bring to a company.  Where do you stand on this?  Do you focus on people's strengths and how to maximize them, or do you tend to focus on weaknesses and how to correct them?  How does that impact your leadership behaviors?

Assume the best.  People have good days and bad days.  They make mistakes, exhibit poor judgment, and sometimes let you down.  How do you react to these situations?  What is the story that you are telling yourself about their actions?  Are you assuming they had good intentions and just fell short, or does this just go to show that you were right about them all along? Your resulting leadership behavior will be very different depending on your mindset.  

See yourself as a leader instead of as an evaluator. Part of leadership is matching skill sets to the overall goals of the organization.  The ability to discern talent and apply it effectively is an important quality.  But don't make that the sole focus of your leadership.  Instead, go beyond getting the right people in the right positions and actively work to help them succeed in their roles.  See their success as a partnership between you and them.  When people sense that you are on their side, helping them to succeed, they act and perform very differently than if they feel that you are primarily judging and evaluating them.

Beliefs and attitudes drive your behaviors.  In today's open and connected world, you have to be genuine and authentic.  Leaders who get it right on the inside naturally display genuine behaviors on the outside that people respond to.  Take a look at your leadership beliefs.  Work on the inside first.

Thanks to David Witt / Leader Chat / Blanchard LeaderChat


Rebuilding Confidence Was Key To His Job Search

Ever considered being an Aviation Engineer? This interview will take you down the career path, including what it takes to land the job and explain how important it is to have confidence in any job search. You can find other career stories, like an interview with a Civil Engineer at

I currently work as an airworthiness engineer in the aviation manufacturing industry. I started at my current employer after spending five months in the oil field. Tired of long days, short nights, and no social life outside of my coworkers, I had decided it was time to change gears. Unfortunately, I did so without a backup plan and spent a month scrambling to keep my head above water. After I got my head screwed back on straight (with a little "help" from Dad), I developed a plan to acquire a new job. Using some good books on career searches, I generated a solid, two-page resume and had a solid approach. I was fortunate enough to have a few friends from college that already worked in the field, which made my job search a little easier. In fact, it was through one of these contacts I landed the job I have now, and, believe me, a tough day here is far and away better than any decent day I had in the oil field. So, after a month of floundering, another month of hard work, and two months waiting for my new employer to finish their prep work, the total time I spent between the oil business and aviation was about four months.

The biggest takeaway I had from my experience in searching for a job was to always have faith in myself. Yeah, that sounds cliché, but it's the honest truth. My two biggest struggles were to understand my own value – I really was a prime candidate for any job I would chase – and feeling overwhelmed by the job search process. In going through that process, I "discovered" (perhaps "remembered" is a better word) all of my accomplishments and everything I had to offer a potential employer. This newfound attitude carried through all phases of the search and even into my initial start at the company. Only when I fixed my attitude and self-image was I able to effectively chase after the work I wanted.

The first place I started was where all of the problems came from: me. As I mentioned before, I had found some really good material on how to create a proper resume. I supplemented that with input from friends and loved ones to make sure I captured everything that could possibly go in there and then trim it down so it showed my very best. By digging down (and really beating my resume to death) I found qualities about myself I had forgotten. This had the unexpected consequence of a confidence boost, something I really needed right then. And, along the way, I got a darn good resume out of it.

The second thing that helped me in my job search was to start big and work my way down. The whole thing seemed daunting, but by breaking it up into smaller chunks, it made things far easier to manage. In creating a big list of potential jobs, I gave myself a wide range of possibilities. Everything but the kitchen sink went into this list; if it sparked even the tiniest bit of interest, I threw it in there. I then pared down the list, keeping the really appealing ones and tossing out those that weren't. I still kept some of them as a backup list in case none of my favorites panned out. From there, I prioritized the list by picking a group of five as top favorites and ranking each one of those five. The parameters I used in my decision-making included projected salary, job location, opportunities for travel, skills required (both what I already had and what I wanted to learn), and potential for career growth.

The last thing I made sure to do was prepare. And I mean beyond just finding companies and writing letters and resumes. Knowing the details of the companies I approached, the type of work they offered, and, most importantly, the kind of people they employed became my objectives. I read everything on the companies' websites, scanned news articles from industry publications about them, and hit up any personal connections I could find. Doing this accomplished two things. First, it told me whether or not they would be a good fit for me as well as if I would be a good fit for them. Secondly, by arming myself with this information, it allowed me to really show these employers what I could do and how I could best fit their needs.

Finally, after all the hard work of developing my resume, breaking down the work into manageable pieces, and learning everything I could about my potential employers, it all paid off. I landed not one, but two interviews on the same day in two different departments of the company. Offers were extended for both, and I chose the one I'm still in now, five years later. And I enjoy the work to this very day. is a job search engine that finds job listings from company career pages, other job boards, newspapers and associations. With one search, they help you find the job with your name on it.

Thanks to / Careerealism


QR Codes: The Next Big Thing In Recruiting Technology?

You can of course provide a printed URL, but if you have ever tried to enter a long URL into a mobile browser, chances are you wouldn't do it again.

What Is a QR Code?

The QR in QR code stands for quick response, and although you might not know them by name, you have undoubtedly already seen these one-inch square shaped symbols that look a little like a maze in advertisements, on billboards, and in posters. Don't let their size fool you: QR codes can be powerful communication mechanisms because they can take candidates directly to customized supplemental recruiting information that might include a website, pictures, videos, narrative information, or point directly to Twitter or Facebook. Organizations that have taken lead in using QR codes for recruiting include Google, the U.S. Army, E&Y, AT&T, Siemens, and Pepsi.

The Many Benefits of Using QR Codes in Recruiting

QR codes were designed to support mobile users, something the recruiting-tools community hasn't invested a great deal of time in despite the widespread adoption of smartphones. Because many smartphone users are never more than a few feet from their almost-always-on device, mobile will become the platform of choice for recruiting activity. The application to decode a QR Code comes pre-installed on most devices and there are many free Apps for users with a device not pre-installed with one. Potential candidates could be on the subway, reading the paper, or walking down the street and with the push of a button be immediately taken to follow-up information or a job application.

If your recruiting effort is attempting to show off your firm's innovation or its use of technology, the use of these codes might help to reinforce that message. QR codes can dramatically increase the value and usefulness of print ads, billboards, posters, business cards, and brochures. Because college students are particularly mobile phone dependent, QR codes should be embedded into all aspects of college recruiting.

These codes are also powerful because they easily allow for effective tracking analytics that can identify sources and usage rates. In addition, QR codes can be produced for free and because they are so small, will save space and advertising costs. These codes can also be used for non-recruiting purposes including check-ins and to provide employee, vendor, and customer information.

"Like a picture, a QR Code can replace a thousand words."

Potential Uses of QR Codes in Recruiting

There are literally dozens of ways in which these codes have been or can be used to provide recruiting information to prospects and candidates. Some of them include:

  • Newspaper/magazine ads — to provide follow-up information that can't fit in the ad.
  • In job postings, social media and blogs — they can provide detailed reference or follow-up information without taking up space.
  • Referral cards — they can instantly take a referral to an application site.
  • Wall posters/stickers — that can be placed on bulletin boards and even on poles.
  • Billboards/signage/on vehicles — QR can work even when the picture is taken from a distance.
  • Career fairs and college events — they allow an interested prospect to instantly access additional information without having to wait in line or ask a question.
  • In text messages — they can be attached to text messages as a picture or they can be used to send text messages.
  • Job alerts/calendar events — individuals can sign up for specific job alert notifications and calendar items can be easily saved on a phone's calendar.
  • Direct mail — they can move an individual directly from a paper letter to the Internet.
  • In slides — they can direct you to more detailed information from presentation slides.
  • Invitations — they can be used to invite people to join talent communities, and to participate in contests or events.
  • In retail outlets/at trade shows/on product packaging — they can convert customers into applicants.
  • Bus cards/name tags — they can provide instant detailed information about you.
  • On T-shirts — they help send a message that your firm is "cool" (Google used them)
  • On resumes — applicants can place them in resumes to show work samples.

Possible Issues

There are of course a few downsides related to the use of QR codes. The first is that many recruiters will resist them for no other reason than most recruiters resist any kind of change that involves a new technology. Second, you will most likely get a spotty response from potential candidates because while QR codes have existed for a while, not everyone is familiar with them and others don't yet have a smart phone with QR reading capability.

Final Thoughts

Although QR codes won't solve every recruiting problem, they certainly are a quick, cheap, and flexible way to re-energize and make your non-Internet recruiting information approaches more effective. These codes are particularly effective because they support mobile audiences and that allows individuals to act when they are most excited. Soon QR Codes will be as common as embedded hyperlinks that are only effective within electronic messages.

You can test the effectiveness of QR codes for providing contact information by using your smartphone camera to take a picture of the example at the top of this article, or you can create your own QR codes for free by going to a site like

Thanks to Dr. John Sullivan / ERE / ERE Media, Inc.


5 Attitudes In The Workplace To Get You Ahead

You are looking for attitudes in the workplace to become your career booster. You are possibly past your first year mark at work. You have somewhat learned the ropes of your position but you feel you are slowing down.

So, what are some of the attitudes in the workplace that can help you get ahead at work? There are many positive attitudes that can help you do that. In fact, the value of these attitudes is they make you more motivated and hence, give you a career boost.

1. Enthusiastic

I know, how can you ever feel enthusiastic about work especially when you already feel sluggish with the same work after a few years? It is precisely this reason I ask you to be enthusiastic. To be enthusiastic at work is about a mental state. You need to make the decision to be enthusiastic. Start by saying, "I will be an eager participant in this project or task."

Attack your task with energy. Do not drag your feet. The more you tell yourself, "This is so boring," or whatever the excuse maybe the worse you will feel. Get interested in the work and the energy will come naturally. Then decide to be eagerly involved. Being enthusiastic and energetic are attitudes in the workplace that can get you ahead. You cannot get ahead without energy.

2. Efficient

Strive to be the most efficient worker in your team. According to Webster's Universal College Dictionary, to be efficient means "performing or functioning effectively with the least waste of time and effort." When you are effective, you are producing the intended result. When you are efficient you do it with the least waste of time and effort. That means you are capable and competent.

If you carry with you the attitude in the workplace of constantly striving to be the most efficient worker, then you will sooner or later get ahead in your career. You will get a career boost because you are the most capable and competent on the team.

3. Excellence

Of the five attitudes in the workplace, this one probably calls for you to give yourself some pressure. A little pressure is good since it makes you push yourself harder. Strive for excellence in everything you do. Do not be contented with good. Go for great.

Exceed expectations by knowing good is sometimes not good enough. Give everything your utmost best. You will naturally see how this becomes your career booster. When you strive for excellence in everything you do, you quite naturally surpass others in your work. That gets you ahead.

4. Early

Have you ever thought about being early as an attitude in the workplace that can get you ahead? Yes, especially when your workplace practices flexi time. Many people take flexi time for granted. They stroll in and out at their own pace, not knowing they have probably wasted productive time.

Start early at work. Some of my most productive days are those I start early before the phone rings and before my staff walks in with questions. Clear your e-mails from last night, craft that important e-mail when there are no disturbances.

5. Easy

Make every effort to be the easiest to work with in the office. Now, I am not saying compromise on your need for excellence. For example, this means not to complain and grumble each time there is a team meet. No one likes to work with someone who nags all the time.

When you are easy to work with, you make working enjoyable for the rest too. Such attitudes in the workplace is welcomed everywhere and you make yourself a competitive edge of any team. This competitive edge is your career booster.

There is no need for complicated plans to get a career boost. Simple steps with these attitudes in the workplace can get you ahead in your career.

Yun Siang Long, or Long as he is popularly known, spent 16 years in three multinational ad agencies where he also trained people in the areas of career management.

Thanks to Yun Siang Long / Careerealism

3 Reasons To Eliminate Anger In The Workplace

Recognize This! – Anger does not "show passion." Anger only hurts the bottom line.

I've written before about jerks at work and the negative effect of bullying and bad behavior in the workplace. In those posts, I've explained some of the research behind how such behavior also negatively impacts the bottom line.

Robert L. Johnson, founder and president of the RLJ Companies, explained this even more fully from a CEO's perspective in the New York Times "Corner Office" column, especially why anger has no place in the workplace:

"The one thing is that I just don't want people to get angry. … I just don't understand anger and conflict in a business. If you think about it, in a business you're working to make money for somebody … If we're not angry, and we work together, we make more money. If we get angry and we have conflict, we make less money. So let's not get angry. Let's just work it out. …

"And by the way, even if you do get angry, it's not going to solve the problem. All it's going to do is reverberate around the office that so and so made a mistake and so and so is angry at them. Then a whole cloud of frustrations and anger pervades the office. And so all of a sudden you get a breakdown in the culture of cooperation and collegiality, and the common mission goes out the window. And it'll take you a week or so to get everybody back together."

Mr. Johnson succinctly teaches 3 clear lessons about why anger should be kept out of work:

  1. Anger costs you money.
  2. Anger doesn't solve the problem.
  3. Anger breaks down your positive culture in which the work gets done better and faster.

So why do we allow people to get away with anger and similar emotions at work? I think it's because we justify these behaviors as "passionate." After all, someone who gets so angry must care a good deal about the work or the results, right?

Mr. Johnson gives the lie that that argument:

"I've never had the emotion of anger. Some people think I'm sort of not passionate or I'm kind of cold or disinterested because I don't rant and rave and everything else. I don't do that. And I think it's a simple rule — more insecure, more anger; more secure, less anger. I think really great companies are populated by people who are confident, secure and less fearful.

"Just think about companies that really stay at the top all the time. They don't have a lot of turnover. There's a lot of continuity because the environment is conducive to people wanting to be there, and they want to stay there."

And with that parting shot, Mr. Johnson gives us a bonus reason to eliminate anger in the workplace: increased retention.

Does anger pervade your workplace? Is it condoned or does leadership actively work to promote an environment that dissuades anger?

Thanks to Derek Irvine / Recognize This Blog / Recognize This!!++With+Derek+Irvine%29


Sunday, November 20, 2011

9 Obvious Ways To Get Promoted

It would be safe to say you would have probably entertained the question of how to get promoted even before you graduated or left school. In my chats with juniors from my industry, I am often asked this question which I gladly answer. However, I sense they simply want short cuts to the next level.

These experiences pushed me to pen these nine obvious but often not practiced tips on how to get promoted. Start internalizing these tips and make them part of your career management plan. Before you know it, you would have moved up to the next level.

One main reason for people to ignore these obvious practices on how to get promoted is because they seem very long term. But they are not at all. All you need to do is to consistently DO them. I have broken them down to 3 main sections: Plan, Attitude and Action.


1. Where Are You and Why Are You There?

How to get promoted? First you will need to have a reference point. Ask yourself, where are you now? And why are you there? Is there any key strength that has brought you where you are now that you can continue to leverage for the next promotion?

Are there any weaknesses you really need to correct before the next promotion is possible? These questions, while simple are strategic. It allows you to check your strengths and weaknesses. It forces you to access what has worked and what will work to get you promoted.

2. Where Do You Want to Be and How Do You Get There?

You obviously need to have an objective and a plan. Just saying you want to get promoted is not enough. You need to be clear on your next position. Is it a promotion to a different department or a different branch? Write this down.

Now that you have written this down, how do you plan to get that promotion? Develop a plan for to achieve that objective. If you are lucky, you can even work this out with your immediate boss. Most bosses do not promise that promotion at such discussions but at the very least you get an idea of what are the expectations.


3. Put Pride, Passion and Belief in Everything You Do

People who get promoted are those that have a sense of pride in their work. And they take pride in their work. They are driven by genuine enthusiasm and desire to do their best no matter how small the job.

They believe in themselves and they believe in the bigger goals of their unit or department and company. How to get promoted? Ask yourself; do you conduct yourself with pride, passion and belief?

4. Back it Up with Skills/Knowledge, Direction and Action

Having pride, passion and belief is only part of how to get promoted. It must be backed up by skills and knowledge. That means having the necessary skills and knowledge to do a superb job. Having a direction is important to guide that energy generated by your passion. Otherwise, effort is wasted. Without action which is the actual completion of the task, all else is academic. You will be judged by what you do.

5. See Challenges as Opportunities

Another obvious tip on how to get promoted is to see challenges as opportunities. Very often I see young executives being thrown challenging assignments, which they choose to see as an additional chore.

If you want to be promoted, look at challenges as opportunities to shine. Do not complain about hard work, how hard you worked or if your assignment is tougher than your colleagues'. Trust me, no one wants to know how hard you work. In everyone's mind, their own work is the hardest.


6. What is Your Part?

Know your part and play your part. What is your role? Are you an implementer? Or are you a leader? Know exactly what you need to do in order for your unit to achieve its goals. Knowing your part means being a team player. No one can succeed without help from others. We all need the support of colleagues. When the team succeeds, you succeed too.

7. Do Your Best NOW

I consider this as one of the most important tip on how to get promoted. Do your best NOW. Today. This week's tasks and projects. Do not bask in the glory of your previous work. That is gone. In all likelihood, no one else cares about it especially your bosses.

Do not think too much about future projects that are not implemented yet. That is in the future. It is not here yet. Focus on DOING your best NOW. It determines how you are being judged. When you reflect too much on the past and think too much about the future, you forget to focus on the NOW.

8. Do More than Necessary

If you want to know how to get promoted, do more than the necessary. That means volunteering for work and taking the initiative to make a job better. It also means not sitting around waiting for work to come to you.

Bosses like people who can help them solve problems. Even if the problem is not yours, but if you feel you can be of help and have the expertise to solve it, then volunteer to help. You become the team's competitive advantage when you do that. And bosses like people who give their unit an advantage over the others. Helping your team stay ahead is then helping you stay ahead too.

9. Do Work from the Next Level Up

If you continue doing work for your current position then you truly deserve your current position. People who know how to get promoted know that if you want the position next level up, you start doing some of those work from that level now. If you are a senior executive now, do some work that is only expected of an assistant manager (assuming that is the next level up). This allows you to demonstrate you are capable of that position already.

Obviously, there are zillions of tips out there on how to get promoted. These are some of those I deem to be obvious and not practiced enough by career success seeking newbies. Putting these into practice would greatly increase your chances of a promotion.

Yun Siang Long, or Long as he is popularly known, spent 16 years in three multinational ad agencies where he also trained people in the areas of career management.

Thanks to Yun Siang Long / Careerealism