Archives for Karen

Debunking Networking Myths That Keep People From Optimal Careers

When I speak about job search, I ask people, “Who has heard before that networking is the #1 way to find a job,” or I’ll ask people to “Fill in the blank… what is the #1 way to find a job?” Without fail most, if not all, of the attendees will correctly state the answer. (Networking is the #1 way to find a job.)

Then I ask them to tell me what they spend most of their time doing, and the answers don’t match up. So, do I just shake my finger at them? That’s not my style. I know that the solutions only reveal themselves when we really know the root cause. I seek to understand and empathize.

So, when I ask job seekers why they spend most of their transition time scouring job boards and filling out online applications when they know logically that the chances of getting a job that way are ~7%, I hear one of the following:

  1. Networking isn’t my thing
  2. I don’t have a network
  3. I’ve exhausted my network

#1 is not a truth; it’s a limiting belief either about yourself, about the expectation of receiving help, or about networking.

If someone sold you the idea that there is something dirty, immoral, inauthentic, or selfish about promoting yourself, networking will make you feel icky. You might have been taught from a young age to be seen and not heard, or that you need to yield to someone else’s needs or agenda. For that reason, you might prefer to let others get the glory while you stay meek and humble in the background.

Here’s the truth about #2, too – if you are on a first name basis with people outside your family, networking is your thing. It doesn’t have to look like making superficial connections with people you wouldn’t otherwise want to associate and using people. Even if you are an introvert, even if your network is small comparatively to other people, there is still a way to engage in meaningful connection with others and produce employment leads as a byproduct.

Here’s an opinion, albeit a much more empowering and relevant opinion – You were born with unique gifts and values, and you were gifted unique experiences and influences. Not only do you owe it to yourself to take every opportunity to expand your ability to use those gifts, but other people depend on this as well.

Whatever rules you were given that restricted your permission to own your own light and brilliance, I release you from those rules and give you full permission to love yourself unabashedly. We can only love others to the capacity we love ourselves.

The internet attributes this idea to Bréne Brown, but Matthew 22:39 states, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So many focus on the neighbor part, but if you read this a bit deeper, you’ll notice that you are supposed to love yourself, and love your neighbor as much.

Take it from someone who believed that I had to be meek and humble, but found myself being victimized by people who sought to abuse me to gain artificial power, even though they were supposed to be aligned to the same principals as me. I found that I don’t need to steal other people’s light, and in fact doing so dulls mine. But I must not let others steal my light, or there will be others living in darkness.

First, you have to learn to love and appreciate your own light, and then you have to let it shine. That’s a high-level look at networking at its finest. Consider it to be an activity that enables you to find those who can show you where your light is needed most.

Beyond your immediate circle of influence are many people who will “get” you, who will like you exactly the way you are, and who want to help you, because it makes them feel valuable.

#3 comes from people who are from one of two categories:

  1. You are a people pleaser, and you can’t stand the thought of someone not liking you or feeling annoyed by you. You, therefore, will only seek to be helpful and not a burden. You figure people will help if they want to and like you, so you’ll ask, but you’ll make it seem nonchalant. You’ll tell people, when they have time, if it’s not too much trouble, they can help you by letting you know about jobs open or by introducing you to people. Then, people do little to help you and you worry that you’ve been too forward, too demanding, or too annoying. You wonder if these people even really like you. The lack of action or response is painful and re-opens old wounds from when you wanted desperately to be accepted, maybe even popular. You are immediately discouraged and you give up, figuring that people don’t want to help and they don’t like you. You’ll assume you have better chances applying online cold to new people who are more likely to give you a chance.
  2. You literally spoke with anyone and everyone was willing to listen. You asked humbly for help. However, if you didn’t generate momentum by doing so, you most likely didn’t apply the best practices or properly train your network how to identify a good lead for you. You may have presented it too much as a favor to you, and didn’t get across exactly what value you have to offer. You may have only asked them to let you know if they hear about and opening for your title. You also may have thought that by being very general and broad about what you want, that your network would produce more leads.

It seems counter-intuitive, but you will produce more high-quality leads by being specific about the kinds of problems you solve, the kinds of initiatives that you make successful and the kinds of challenges you know well how to overcome, and then being clear about who would be experiencing these problems, challenges and initiatives and asking for introductions to these people.

Even beyond not adequately inspiring or educating your network, there are still other reasons why you might find efforts to network in order to land a new job fail, and I’ll cover more of them next week: Real Reasons Your Network Hasn’t Stepped Up To Help You

So Lonely – The Police w/ Lyrics

Single from the Album: Outlandos d’Amour Writer: Sting Released: November 1978 Re-released: February 1980 Length: 3:10 (7″ single edit), 4:52 (Full-length album version) Label: A&M Records Producer(s): Stewart Copeland, Sting, Andy Summers Personnel: Sting (Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner CBE) born: October 2, 1951 Bass guitar, lead and backing vocals, harmonica Andy Summers (Andrew James “Andy” Summers) born: December 31, 1942 Guitar, spoken word and piano Stewart Copeland (Stewart Armstrong Copeland) born: July 16, 1952 Drums, percussion, backing vocals

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

7 Signs Your Company Is A Sinking Ship

When I speak with leaders who are ready to jump ship, I can’t help but think about those who will be left behind.

Morally, these leaders would love to warn everyone, to tell them to see the writing on the wall. Ethically, that would hinder, if not destroy, any efforts a company may make to stay afloat, even if sinking is inevitable.

The writing on the wall isn’t always obvious, and unless you’re looking for it, you could completely miss it. You may prefer to stay ignorant and oblivious, because it is bliss after all. However, if the writing is on the wall, it would behoove you, for the sake of all who depend on you, to prepare yourself to jump ship.

Take a look at a map and identify potential next destinations, locate your life preserver and lifeboat, jettison extra weight, and stock up on supplies for a journey. If you’re getting the analogy, I’m advising you to start thinking about what an ideal next step would be (if you really want to go for paradise, get Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint Your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days), update your résumé and LinkedIn profile (or, if it’s not your area of strength, delegate it to an expert), start selling extra things around your house, and have at least 8-10 months of savings (though we can help you land much faster if you let us guide you in strategic planning and execution of your campaign).

If the boat is arockin’, here are some signs that you may want to risk a solo journey or else risk going down with the ship and everyone else on it.

  1. An exodus of tenured and/or senior leaders

It seems obvious, right? Leaders have the inside scoop and if they are leaving, they know something you don’t. However, even workforce reductions that shed tenured folks or layers of middle management can leave a company vulnerable.

It’s been my experience, as someone who was blessed to go overboard of a sinking ship well before the voyage got scary, when our company let go of many of its tenured folks, it lost keystone pieces of its identity. If a company cannot reinvent itself to be stronger than before, it remains unstable. Layoffs at my old company were hard-hitting, even though it was an opportunity for me. I rode that opportunity as far as it would take me, but saw it was losing steam. With the help of a coach (hired by my company,) I devised and executed a 6-month plan to start this business. That was 12 years ago. Even though I was out in the middle of the ocean in a dingy, I felt safer there, and watched sadly as the ship sank. Everyone made it to shore and we keep in touch in a Facebook Group called “Remembering Devon Consulting.” True story!

Similarly, if someone in a critical role leaves, whether by choice or by force, and this person is not replaced, conditions will surely only get worse.

  1. Rampant scapegoating

When seas are rough, it may be easy to blame the weather. I can recall a couple of news stories in recent years of cruise ships that wound up heading into rough seas. Was the weather blamed? No – the cruise lines, their executives (for unsafe or unclear policies), and the captains were blamed. Unless these parties take accountability for bad decisions made with information that was available, these mistakes will be repeated. So, if your company is undergoing slow sales or worse, like a PR crisis, and no one is taking accountability, or the even if the only one willing to take accountability is merely dismissed and the company changes nothing, get ready for rough seas ahead.

  1. Hiring and budget freezes

Let’s say you know that an investment is necessary to deliver to customers with the quality and speed that they expect, but the focus of leadership has been cost-cutting, so investments will have to “wait.” Another scenario is that you know that you are short-staffed and overextended as it is, but no new people will be added, whether contract or permanent. No matter how good it was in the past, you need to get a contingency plan in place. It will take everything that you have, since you most likely come home exhausted and completely spent.

Trust me when I tell you that it if you just take 6 hours over a 2-3 week period on the front end to let us help you sharpen your tools (90-minutes for a branding consultation, 90 minutes to gather and compile all the substantiating evidence of your value using our formula, 30 minutes to scrutinize your résumé draft, 60 minutes to share your feedback with me, 30 minutes to scrutinize your LinkedIn profile content, 60 minutes to share your feedback), we can then show you how to spend any amount of time you can spare, even if it’s just 1-2 hours, to build momentum each week and generate 4-5 highly desirable opportunities in 6 weeks.

The alternative is experiencing the trauma of being on the sinking boat and then floating adrift without certainty that you’ll be saved.

  1. Payroll bounces or gets delayed

Do I need to say more about this? I think I do, because I have spoken with far too many people who have tolerated this. I’m not talking about a couple of days. I’m talking about people who go weeks without getting paid, and then are offered no remuneration for essentially lending the company cash flow. Icky, all around.

  1. Annual pay raises or bonuses cut

I recall during the recessions of post 9-11 and the housing crisis many companies having to cut bonuses, pay raises or even moving people backward in salary in order to keep them employed. In a bad economy, where perhaps the weather can be blamed because navigating to quieter, calmer seas just isn’t an option, I can see how this is acceptable. In dying industries, this may become the norm. Sometimes the ship is an industry. Sometimes the weather is literally to blame, such as a natural disaster. These are some conditions where it may just be necessary and acceptable to keep people where they are instead of allowing them to grow. If none of these conditions apply, you are on a sinking ship with a wayward captain.

  1. Closed doors

This is a norm in many companies. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t even call it an open-door policy. We’d just call it normal. Transparent leadership is really now only gaining traction as an attractive cultural quality, so it will take companies much longer to catch on. Closed doors breeds distrust, which has far-reaching trickle-down impacts. If it’s new, however, it may or may not be dangerous, but it certainly means changing tides.

If you trust your leadership, you may be inclined to ride it out. If you trust your leadership, go ahead and ask them what’s up. Let them know that it’s noticed and, if they are in tune, they will find a way to communicate something sooner rather than later. So often there are restrictions on what can be communicated and leadership will make themselves scarce instead of reassuring. Again, it doesn’t always mean the ship is sinking. Sometimes it means an acquisition is pending. Sometimes it means a hostile takeover. Either way, brace yourself for rough seas. It could mean a great opportunity to be an employee of a larger, more nameworthy employer. If this could be a good change, at a minimum, your boss should be able to tell you this. If he or she can’t, it may be time to jump ship.

  1. Your boss hints that it would be smart to start looking

I have worked with both with the boss, who felt a moral obligation to give people a compassionate heads up, and I have worked with the employee who would rather stay with such a great boss, but has to heed this warning because they trust it. Either way, get on it. There’s a high probability your boss was holding out a while with hope that things may turn for the better and waited until the last minute when things are dire to give you this warning.

If this headline jumped out at you, you most likely are seeing some of the writing on the wall. Whether you notice any or all 7 of these things, isn’t it wise to prepare yourself?

We help corporate professionals identify, pursue, and land ideally fulfilling and well-paying opportunities so that they can feel alive, look forward to going to work (YES – it’s REALLY possible) and secure a lifestyle that they love.

If you are on a sinking ship, let us help you land the closest thing to paradise that’s possible so you can turn what could have been a tragedy into a triumph.

DEEP PURPLE – Black Night (1970 UK TV Performance) ~ HIGH QUALITY HQ ~

top of the pops old grey whistle test 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 funkyboymark rock roll and funk punk new wave blues guitarist riffs riff slide guitar heroes at the bbc

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

How to Custom-design Your Next Role or Get on the Executive Fast-Track

Can Lead A Horse To Water But T Make Him Drink

How to Custom-design your Next Role or Get on the Executive Fast-Track

If you’re not networking internally within your company (as explained in the last post) then you are minimizing your opportunities to grow in an organization. A record-breaking number of people are now just deciding to jump ship for better opportunities and pay. In a way, this is working for them if their career path stays linear and conventional. However, if you want to jump on the executive-fast-track or need to move laterally in order to get on an executive fast-track, then networking internally is a must-do.

Last week we talked about the process of laying the groundwork and building the reputation that will enable you to establish yourself as an influential change agent. This week, we will focus on how to actually enact the change, which will help you propel your career forward, or over, depending on what you want to do.

Here are 4 questions to ask your internal network that will enable you to identify gaps and propose solutions:

  1. What are the biggest challenges to delivering quality on time
  2. What do you see as being potential solutions?
  3. Have you already shared both the challenges and solutions and, if so, what occurred as a result?
  4. What are the potential costs, logistics, and objections of the solutions? (Validate with other stakeholders)

Instead of identifying problems that are solvable in your internal networking efforts, you may be discouraged by what you learn and determine that your company is a sinking ship (subscribe and watch for my future post: Signs Your Company Is A Sinking Ship).

So, you have a decision to make: do you abandon ship at the first possible opportunity or do you try to save the passengers still onboard, some of whom are completely oblivious?

I have to warn you that after you spend some time getting to know the people who will be impacted far after you find a new role, you may feel a sense of obligation to help them in some way. This could be by stepping up as a change agent, which means sticking your neck out and risking your own job, but enabling you to go down in a blaze of glory, or you could just vow to help other people land into something new, perhaps your new company. Either way, understand all the risks – you face resistance, and the level of resistance you face is commensurate with the strength of the system that wants to maintain the status quo. Also, companies have reacted negatively, and sometimes litigiously, to talent poaching.

You may or may not find an outspoken internal sponsor, which is always preferred. This process is applicable whether you do or do not.

The problems that seem insurmountable are usually people-related, not process, systems or resources related. Unless you have training and experience as a transformative coach or therapist, you probably don’t want to touch the people problems. Also, when you are impacted directly by those people problems, it can be that much more challenging to be an objective solution provider. If you find that the organization has people problems, you can anonymously nominate them for an engagement audit to a transformational coach.

If, however, you find that the issues are related to systems, processes, technologies, culture, communication, or policies, and you are inspired and prepared to assume ownership, below is the way to make a business case. Owning the issue doesn’t mean being solely responsible for execution, but it does mean being accountable for results. You have to know in these cases what your strengths are and to understand how you can compensate where you are not strong and delegate. You also need to understand all of the costs associated with additional resources, whether internal or external. If other people want to be a part of the solution, they also have to be able to complete their primary responsibilities with the same quality and would need buy-in from their immediate supervisors. Some of these supervisors you would have wanted to also meet with, because if you knew first hand about their struggles to deliver with limited resources, you will understand that they will object to sacrificing any of their resources.

If there are any potential objections NOT addressed yet, ask the people most impacted by a lack of change to help determine if there is a way to address the objection, either in a work-around or in a way that makes the potential benefit worth the potential risks.

Let’s assume you have worked out a solution that accommodates the needs of many and resolves potential objections to adoption of the solution.

Schedule a meeting and make sure you get as many stakeholders in attendance at the same time. Make the invitation sizzle by making it relevant and critical to everyone. Make sure that you are as judicious with the time as possible so that you can minimize the time it takes to make your case, but allow for ample time to discuss adoption. The subject could be, “I need 15-20 minutes of your time to reveal an issue I discovered that stands to cost us $500K, but if resolved will earn us an increased market share.”

Every won argument starts with first presenting what all parties agree is true, whether these are facts or stories (e.g. of a story – Employees are lazy; vs facts – Projects are delivered 3 months late 85% of the time.) Establish from the get go that you are on the same side. “We all agree that we want our company to be known for its premium products and world-class customer service. Right?” State a few more, and then ask them to confirm their agreement.

Instead of saying, “Kathy from Accounts Payable doesn’t understand why we are paying premium prices for subpar vendor performance, but that’s procurement’s department, so she feels powerless,” share new insights in as measurable, concrete terms as possible without divulging the identity of your sources.

Let each one sink in before you move on to the next.

For example –

“Did you know…

  • The #1 customer complaint is failure to deliver on time.
  • In fact, 65% of the customer service issues tracked are related to this issue.
  • 95% of the people I met with over the past 3 months attribute bugs in 3rd party software to the inability to deliver on time.
  • There were 2,000 bugs over the past 3 months, which took an average of 1 hour to resolve each, for a total of 2,000 hours of lost productivity.
  • 35% of these people are actively seeking a new position right now, because no one has pulled the trigger on a new vendor nor has anyone held the vendor accountable, and they don’t feel they can properly meet their performance metrics and often have to stay extra hours to complete their deliverable.
  • If we lose even only 25% of those people, our current project portfolio will be stalled by 6 months or more, and we will lose $35K on service-level agreement shortcomings, $300K in lost revenue, and can anticipate losing $75K on lost productivity while we stretch the remaining staff, and $25K-50K on higher salaries for new hires who will demand more, and also risk further turnover, which will bump these numbers up even higher.”

Then propose solutions in as straightforward terms as possible.

For example –

  • “Immediate actions that will prevent these losses:
    • 1st level – Assign a new point of contact for the vendor and partner with legal to evaluate the service-level agreement and determine if there is a breach of contract.
    • 2nd level- Liaise with business, technology and users to determine software requirements and evaluate additional vendors
    • etc.”

Put all known objections on the table, so that you can outline how you already thought of a way to work around the objection, or why the cost-benefit of the solution outweighs potential losses.

Connect the dots back to what you all agree on and why the solutions proposed are the best (cheapest, fastest, etc.) way to achieve what you want.

Specify YOUR role and what for what results you will be accountable. Make it look like a job description. You will have to address if you plan on taking this on a special project above and beyond your current duties, or if you plan on fully exiting your role and if/how you will backfill your own position.

My former client success assistant, MJ, called this a roleposal. I knew I wanted to hire her, and knew her personality and networking efforts had potential value to my brand, but I was too in the midst of business development and client delivery to put the dots together. She knew she wanted to work for me, too, and took on the task of outlining what she would do to take some business development and client delivery and follow-up off my hands, the timeline and volume of delivery success, and how she would be compensated based on what I explained to her about my budget. She even outlined how she would get on-boarded with minimal hands-on training. It was an easy yet.

Yes, this outline does put simply what can be a huge, complex investment of time. It’s true – the executive fast-track is not an overnight success method. If you really read the stories of “overnight successes,” you’ll find that one big break may have launched that person into the spotlight, but it was years of effort that helped them be in the right place at the right time.

If you aren’t willing to do this work, you may want to rethink an executive career.

If you are excited by the prospect of making a large contribution to your company, its people and its customers/clients, but you want a partner, mentor, and coach for the long-haul, book a free consultation with me so that we can determine if we are a match to work together. Not only can we coach you through the challenges (even people challenges) that occur, but we can also set you up with a mentor who has already achieved what you hope to in a relevant industry/business.

Gavin DeGraw – Everything Will Change (Audio)

Music video by Gavin DeGraw performing Everything Will Change. (C) 2013 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Another Key Habit to Turbo Boost Your Career Growth

 

Last week I shared how you can make a habit of taking regular, strategic action to build and sustain accelerated momentum in your career growth, and I did a live FB broadcast in which I shared how often to evaluate your desired and actual career growth if you want to stay in control of your career.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also share this key habit that my most successful change agent clients attribute to their ability to catapult their careers and influence.

The book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi was released in 2005, just when I was developing my chops in networking. Honestly, I haven’t read the book. My boss at the time did, and he reinforced the primary message of the book, which is inherent in its title.

While I didn’t necessarily follow the advice of never eating alone, since I worked through many lunches and, as an ambivert who doesn’t like to talk when I eat, nor do I enjoy watching or hearing other people eat, it would sap my energy. I did start inviting more people to sit down for meals (or drinks), and it was transformative.

The clients who have been able to realize the greatest transformations in their organizations attribute their success to the time that they invested getting to know people in the organization and the efforts that they made to learn from others’ perspectives.

A Harvard Business Review IdeaCast with Julia Kirby from 2010 stated that women are over mentored and under sponsored. Sheryl Sandberg’s top-seller, Lean In, promoted mentorship and sponsorship, but let’s focus on sponsorship because it is a relationship with so much more potential to elevate you and your influence.

Much like finding a mentor, you have to let the relationship lead. Inspiring someone to sponsor you may be an objective, and it doesn’t hurt to have a wish list of people in your organization or a target organization that you’d like to have as a sponsor. However, the outcome you want is more achievable when you approach it relationally vs. transactionally > nurture the relationship to evolve to that level.

Thinking transactionally vs. relationally is a mistake many people make when it comes to networking. People on the job may limit their internal networking to their department, thinking these are the only people who are relevant to job performance. Job seekers sometimes only want to talk with you if you have a job to offer, and it fits XYZ criteria. Recruiters and employers sometimes only want to talk with you if you fit an open job requirement. Deciding that a job isn’t a match doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship, however. It can be the start of something completely new and unexpected.

The key word here, however, is growth! Expansion. Think openness. I’m not just talking about engaging one person as a sponsor who can influence your career, but to engage people across the organization as supporters and advocates by being their champion.

I get that we all have constraints on time. I also see being judicious with your time is a wise practice. We can’t possibly meet with everyone we’d like to, or who would like to meet with us.

Let me propose a structure that is amenable for the busy and/or introverted professional that still enables you to expand your network and influence, learn what can be leveraged, and discover magical synergy with unexpected people.

The first step is always to make a list. Start with those you know are impacted by your role and vice versa. Eventually, you may need to use a company directory, organizational chart, or LinkedIn. Consider other divisions, and, of course, higher ups. Work in a small company? Just think a bit outside the box. Consider meeting with vendors and customers/clients. You just may need to get the okay and authorization from the points of contact, and have met with them first.

Prioritize the list

  1. First meet with centers of influence. These may be leaders, but they also may not be visible leaders, as in executives. Sometimes they are appointed to lead special projects or to liaise on critical or failing initiatives. These are people whose opinions matter to others. They most likely achieved this station by doing exactly what is outlined here. You’ll greatly accelerate your own path to this station by learning first what they know. By meeting with these individuals, you can also better develop a list of questions to ask the next audience about why things are the way they are, even if a center of influence clued you in. Get right to the source. Put yourself on their radar and check in with them on what they are working on. Ask them what they need to move things forward faster, and then do some leg work to source possible resources or solutions.
  2. Meet with the higher-ups to better understand their vision. Yes, ideally, leadership would be doing a great job of relaying the vision to each and every employee. You and I both know there are too many companies in which there is a huge gap here. When you take control of your own career, you own your understanding of the company’s vision, too. Now, when you ask why things are done the way that they are done, you are doing so with the critical context of their desired outcomes.
  3. Intentionally diversify your list to meet with people at all levels and across departments, including those whose efforts may not get their fair share of accolades or visibility. Of course, your intelligence will have that much more integrity if you are also mindful of ethnic, age, and gender diversity as well.

If you are working full-time, allocate two hours each week for 1-on-1 networking. One meeting will be an hour, so break bread, even if, like me, you prefer eating alone.

The next hour of time you can break up into four 15-minute follow up conversations, similar to a scrum meeting, where you check in on challenges, problems or initiatives you learned about in a prior conversation to see what progress was made or how a resource you offered worked out.

You can also break it up into three 20-minute tele-coffees. These are discovery meetings. You’re getting to know someone and their perspective on a less superficial level. You may determine through these discoveries that more time is necessary and schedule a follow-up meal.

Make sure at least one of these meetings each week is with someone with whom you wouldn’t normally interface.

If you are unemployed, allocate five hours per week for 1-on-1 networking. Three of those hours will be 1-hour meetings. Then you can use one hour for 15-minute follow-ups and another for 20-minute tele-coffees. If you are just starting, then use the first week for just tele-coffees or setting up meetings/tele-coffees for the next week.

Keep in mind that it will take an additional 30-60 minutes each week to send invitations and that you’ll need to send about 10x more invitations than you can accept to make sure that your networking card is full. Over time, you will get better at sending invitations that get accepted, and your momentum will compound, so it won’t take quite as much time to fill your networking card.

What do I mean by networking card? Well, you can take it figuratively, like a dance card. At one time there was such a thing as a physical dance card, but now it’s really just meant to imply that there is so much time for dancing, so many songs played, and so many chances to have a different dance partner. You can also make it literal, and this is recommended. Allocate time on your calendar every week for this activity.

How exactly does this practice lead to growth? Put simply:

Perspective > Root Cause Identification > Solution Development

Relationships > Trust > Influence > Buy-in

Consider everything you wish other people (leaders, people in other departments, or customers) understood about the challenges of your job that would enable smarter, better solutions to emerge.

Now, think of the corporate ladder as a physical ladder. The higher up you go, the more you can see the bigger picture. The pieces may look smaller, but you can see better how they all interconnect or fail to interconnect.

The higher up you go in an organization, the more you see the bigger picture, understand the overall vision of what the organization is intended to achieve and make decisions that leverage and orchestrate the smaller pieces to work toward the vision.

By meeting with and learning from people at all levels, you can better assess what gaps need filling, what needs to be done first before an initiative can move forward successfully, and what are leaderships’ blind spots that stand to sabotage the realization of the organization’s ultimate vision. You don’t necessarily have to come up with an end-to-end solution. This is more about learning and sharing insight.

In regards to relationships, there’s a saying I quote often: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Even though in the traditional office place, emotions were considered taboo to express, they still existed. Some emotions, such as fear and anger, were actually leveraged. Good thing we are evolving, because history and science have proven that is not the way to garner the best performance from your workforce. Now we can make clear, fact-based cases for acknowledging in the workplace that people are human, have emotions, and that if more positive emotions are leveraged, more positive performances will present.

People like to be heard, as I shared in a previous video. Many companies recognize and attempt to fill communication gaps, but still fall short on listening. Rather, not so much listening, but listening AND taking action. If you choose to be a champion for the workforce and solutions that help them, you will earn respect, admiration and loyalty.

Words of warning: Be mindful of how you present your own challenges and how you share what you learn about others’ challenges. Someone may tell you something in confidence that they don’t want to be revealed. You will only build trust that leads to future buy-in if you only share what you have permission to share.

Next week I will share how you can use internal intelligence to create your own ideal role in the organization with minimized risk for you and those who confided in you.

If you want a partner who can contribute strategy, guidance, tools, and accountability in your sponsorship initiatives, let’s talk.

U2 – Elevation

U2’s new album, “Songs of Experience” out now. Listen to the album: https://lnk.to/ZaQRe Explore more music from U2: https://lnk.to/oVysR Follow U2: http://www.u2.com/ Facebook: https://U2.lnk.to/FBID Twitter: https://U2.lnk.to/TWID Instagram: https://U2.lnk.to/ISID Music video by U2 performing Elevation. (C) 2006 Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

 

The Best Habits To Start Today To Turbo Boost Your Career Growth

When I was teaching business students career management and professional development at Drexel University, a 1-credit course that they were required to pass in order to graduate, there were questions as to the relevance of the class by certain students who had jobs already or planned to start their own businesses. They were not just learning how to land a job, however. The course also taught emotional intelligence, how to brand themselves as professionals, how to collaborate with a multi-generational workforce, and how to make professional development a habit so that they can continue to grow and expand in their career.

I understood that they had heavy workloads; Drexel’s 10-week all-year-round terms were very demanding. Many of them were in co-ops and Division 1 sports. I’m not sure how I would have done with a schedule like that, in spite of the fact that I worked multiple jobs and played rugby during college.

But what they don’t see from their vantage point is how many people enter the workforce, get on the wheel, and go wherever it takes them, and then look up one day wondering how they got there, and wondering if it’s too late to take control, change courses, and wind up somewhere better without sacrificing the quality of life that their current job supports.

There was tremendous value to that course, but the biggest value these students received was the habit of making time for professional development. Even when a company offers professional development, it’s often steered by them, and limited to what that company can offer in terms of growth.

The people in their 30s and 40s who have achieved executive status have gotten there by being thoughtful and intentional about their next steps.

So what are the best habits to accelerate your professional development?

One of my previous coaches, Bill Walsh, advised me to make a list every night of the 10 things that I can do the next morning that would take me the farthest the fastest and to aim to get them done before 10 AM, and then take the rest of the day off if I want, or take meetings the rest of the day. He called it the “10 before 10.” The idea of being done at 10 AM sounded great, and I tried it. I tried getting up at 6 AM every morning. I was not very with it. I didn’t get into a groove until 7. I couldn’t get my list done by 10, because I had to get my kids to preschool from 8:30 to 9:15, and I found I needed a nap by 2. I couldn’t take a nap, because I had my kids home then. I had very little energy to do anything with them.

I tried it for 30 days. It just didn’t work for me. Besides the fact that I am a late night person by nature, being a mom was not compatible with that schedule. I would rather work while the kids are at school.

Other coaches, such as Tim Ferriss and Lisa Nichols have said, “Just focus on 1-3 things.” I believe the distinction is to do 3 strategic things in the midst of all the tactical things you have to do. In a Facebook group I run with Kareen Walsh, we just focus on one big strategic action each week. I call these massive action items. They are sometimes a bit out of your comfort zone, but stand to propel you quickly from where you are to where you want to be.

Personally, I think you have to try different systems out and see what works best, but you also have to give it 30 days – a good 30 days. Whatever new system you try, it will take time to adjust your life with your new rhythm.

Which system you try really depends on your needs and your goals. How fast do you want to grow? In what direction? What are the other demands on your time?

If you’re working full-time and not actively searching for something new, choosing one massive action item to accomplish each week, along with all the supporting things that need to be done, like research, follow-up, and networking, is a good habit to start. You can use Monday to evaluate your goal, prioritize, and get organized. You can use Tuesday to do whatever research is needed, Wednesday to take massive action, Thursday to add value/follow up/send thank yous, and Friday to celebrate. Perhaps your massive action will be setting up a meeting with a different department, writing and submitting an article to an industry publication, or volunteering to speak for a professional organization.

If you are in full-time transition, aim to do the 5 categories of categories outlined above every day: Admin, Research, Massive Action, Network Nurturing and Self Care/Celebration. You could also accomplish 5 administrative tasks Monday, research 5 target companies/employers Tuesday, complete massive action items Wednesday, help 5 people in your network Thursday, and then treat yourself for a week of smart work (notice I didn’t say hard.)

If you’re working full time and actively searching, 3 massive action items to accomplish each week is a good goal, and keep in mind that applying online to a job is not a massive action, and you should not expect a massive response. Massive action is reaching out to a hiring manager directly with a well-crafted, customized, enticing introduction letter, or inspiring someone in your network to be an internal sponsor for an open opportunity. Massive action could be attending a networking event, and preparing by evaluating the attendee or speaker lists and doing some homework so that you know who you will try to speak with and what to say.

If you’re bootstrapping a business, you’re not quite at a place yet where you can delegate everything; certain things just have to get done and they have to get done by you and your skeleton crew, if you have one. You may need to try the 10 before 10, or 10 before noon if you find early mornings aren’t your best time to make things happen. And then you may not be able to take the rest of the day off, but you will have taken the time to focus on developing your business, not just running your business.

Whichever system you try for 30 days, the point is to start now taking the time to focus on how you want to move forward and make it a habit. I also advise that you rate your momentum regularly so that you can be more aware of when adjustments need to be made.

If the system is working, you will feel that momentum is in your favor by the middle of the 3rd week. You’ll probably rate it a 7 or higher on a 10 scale. That’s when you will be taking more meetings and/or having more interviews. Continue to maintain your habit, regardless of how great the momentum is. You may choose to scale it back so that you can handle the bandwidth, but continue it at some level.

Remember, too, that if you struggle with forming habits, hypnotherapy is a very powerful tool that can shift the habit from a push to a pull, accelerating how fast you can expect to gain the benefits of your new habit. You can schedule a free consultation here.

Also, if you have found yourself finally looking ahead, wondering how you got here and where the best place to go is from here, get Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days.

 

Junkie XL, Elvis Presley – A Little Less Conversation (Elvis vs JXL)

Elvis Presley vs. JLX’s official music video for ‘A Little Less Conversation’. Click to listen to Elvis Presley on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/ElvisSpotify?IQid=ElvisPLLC As featured on Elvis: 30 #1 Hits.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Evaluating Your Workforce for Potential Troublemakers

Office SpaceReverse Engineering Internal Sabotage for Prevention [Part 3 of 3; Click for Part 1 and Part 2]

Remember Milton from Office Space? That poor guy. All he wanted was his red stapler to stop getting taken. AND, they kept moving him to the basement, AND, he stopped receiving his paycheck. I hate to spoil this movie for you, even though I’d have to imagine everyone has seen it, but let’s just say, neglect is a primary ingredient for sabotage.

(Fun fact: That Swingline red stapler didn’t exist until the movie and now it’s a best seller!)

Once you know that your hiring process allowed a saboteur to get through the screening process, how do you make sure that the rest of your workforce is on the up and up without insulting those of higher values and morals?

I suspect strongly that the majority of employees will also want to make sure that there are no additional internal saboteurs. After all, the mission they hopefully feel so aligned with is at stake, and so is their job, essentially.

But at a larger organization, there are, statistically speaking, going to be those who feel like they have earned trust and may feel as though measures to test trust are for other people who have not yet proven themselves trustworthy. Another objection will be any time it may take, especially in organizations like Elon Musk‘s that are already stretching their workforce very thin.

You have to be able to make the argument that everyone is subject to same evaluations, including the top level. As with everything else these days, transparency is the key to earning buy in from your talent.

What kind of evaluation could you use that would be fair and accurate in finding clues to values and behaviors that could lead to sabotage without making people feel like they’re not allowed to be human and make mistakes? There are several

I mean, someone who has an inherent bias isn’t necessarily somebody who will commit corporate espionage, and bias itself is human. It’s when bias is used to make decisions that it becomes a problem.

How many people could you really afford to lose all at once if your evaluations determine that the screening process let in multiple people? How much do you really want to know? Some people will leave before ish hits the fan, because every day will feel like a witchhunt, and even if they have done everything up to snuff, they might still wonder if a standardized test, which many have good reasons to be skeptical of, will pick up something anomalous.

According to Tesla’s Glassdoor reviews, it seems to employees perceive that people get let go on the spur of the moment, for no known reason [known to them.] So, you can imagine how pervasive this fear would become if suddenly the company wanted to dig deeper. [I’ll put a post on how fear for your job inhibits an organization’s growth on the “on deck” list.]

The evaluation for this situation is a core value assessment, but it’s usually given during the interview process, not after your workforce is onboarded, let alone tenured for any significant amount of time. As for which are the best for weeding out potential troublemakers in your workforce?

As I mentioned in part one, all humans have the potential for altruistic punishment. So, if you’re really going to weed out people with the potential to act on desire for justice, you’re going to lose your whole workforce

Are engagement surveys going to identify how unfairly employees feel policies and leadership are? They are designed to, but there are problems with engagement surveys, though – especially if people already fear for their jobs, they are not likely to be very honest, these are traditionally done annually, and there’s the issue of time that it takes to complete vs. how long a company actually executes on data gathered. [Contact us to identify the best employee engagement survey for you for help implementing a plan that will lead to optimal engagement improvements.]

Plus, do you even need an assessment or survey when your Glassdoor profile clearly expresses employee concerns?

Even if your Glassdoor profile isn’t accurately reflecting employee concerns, what would it take to be properly alerted to fringe behavior, but still maintain a culture that keeps talent engaged?

It comes down to resetting your culture.

In a radio interview on Executive Leaders Radio that I was invited to observe, Shal Jacobovitz, CEO of CiVi BIopharma, put it simply – talent issues are either based on will, skill, or values. As a leader he can develop skills and inspire will, but when issues were due to a mismatch of values, they had to part ways.

In my professional opinion and based on logic, you can’t expect that your whole workforce will comply with a values evaluation without diminishing your culture and trust at a critical time when trust really needs to be rebuilt.

The best way to lessen the chances that any individuals within your workforce inclined toward altruistic punishment are more inclined to leave peacefully, be rehabilitated, or identified and fairly eliminated without incident is to reset the culture to be based on commitment to the mission, shared values, and mutual trust and respect.

Core Value Assessments don’t do this, though they can help you hire people more in alignment, but engagement surveys might, as long as data remains anonymous and transparent action is taken to address workforce complaints and suggestions.

If suspicious activity is identified by employees, there needs to be a TRULY anonymous channel people can use and a thorough due diligence process to validate any claims.

Altruistic punishment can also be carried out between employees, not just from employee to employer. People will take matters into their own hands if they don’t feel they will be properly and adequately addressed.

All people make mistakes. Good people make poor judgments sometimes. Don’t expect to rid your workforce of mistakes or poor judgments, or even bias; you can simply raise awareness around them and ensure that bias doesn’t drive decisions.

Don’t punish employees for having opinions about how things could be better or feelings about how things are.

Instead aim to cultivate a culture where people can be authentic and imperfect, where it’s safe to bring problems out into the open so that they can be resolved, and then make all reasonable efforts to resolve them.

Be transparent about expectations and give people room to live up to them. Give them a reason to be their best, and show them faith that you know they will be. This isn’t fluffy hippie love I’m selling here – it’s science. In 1964, Harvard professor Robert Rosenthal conducted an experiment that proved that teachers’ expectations influence how students perform.

It does no good to label an employee as a potential troublemaker. Consider them human, first, because if they really are a threat, they can still be threat to you externally, and how handle their opinions and feelings will determine just how much of a threat they stay, inside or outside. Acknowledge effort over intelligence, and you will get your best efforts from your workforce.

Troublemaker- Weezer

1st song off of Weezer’s Red Album! Now I decided “Whoa, this need lyrics” so I drank some coffee, broke five pencils, and let the copy and paste process do the talking. God, that was a lot of work! (No, I’m just being easy. lol) Here’s the lyrics!

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Engaging The Ones Who Didn’t Get The Promotion

Reverse Engineering Internal Sabotage for Prevention [Part 2 of 3]

How can you choose the right person for promotion, but still make sure that those who didn’t receive a promotion stay engaged and working in the company‘s best interests?

There are three branches to this answer:

#1 – Make sure that the decision to promote someone was based on criteria that everyone would consider fair. You learned last week that the perception that a company or person has been unfair is what can trigger altruistic punishment.

#2 – Keep the talent engaged in alternative possibilities for growth.

#3 – Be mindful of the place from which you communicate.

So let’s just take a look at a fair process, and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you already know that bias has no place in selecting talent.

It can be stressful to be the one who has to choose between highly qualified and valuable talents for a promotion. Ultimately, two factors have to be taken into consideration – A) Is this talent going to perform the best in this role, and in order for A to be a yes, you have to also consider B) Is this position the best next step in this talent’s career.

This implies that a manager would have to be familiar with the career aspirations of his or her team members. As a best practice, this would be part of the annual review process. Unfortunately, if a company has minimal resources and growth is at a critical point, the prospect of exploring potential future opportunities within an organization with the talent seems like an exercise in imagination, so it will be avoided until performance, profit, and plans can accommodate growth. Seems logical, but it neglects to address the driving force of engagement among top talent – growth.

Referring back to my post on the success science of optimism, it’s not only okay to operate with optimism, it’s critical to success. While the nature of business does require planning for contingencies, the more you operate within the realm of optimism, the more motivated, engaged, and productive talent will be. It doesn’t require a lot of time to talk about your talents’ aspirations, but it does require trust. Sometimes, having a third party (like Epic Careering) come in for career development is necessary. People may fear for their job security if they suspect their aspirations will be a reason to be overlooked for positions, or even worse, let go. No one likes being put in a box, and sometimes the best opportunities are the ones that don’t look as expected. This is another reason why many companies neglect to incorporate professional development into their talent management practices, or why the focus is always on potentially limited growth opportunities within the company. When the process policies are based more on fear than on the best interests of the talent, fears become reality and top talent leaves for greater growth opportunities anyway.

Whether the manager or a 3rd party go through this process, give talent reasons to believe that opportunities will exist in alignment with their aspirations. Then, follow through. Work strategically among other leaders in the organization to bridge the present conditions with future aspirations. Even if it’s giving the employee an opportunity to attend a conference outside the industry, and then assigning them to come back with 1-3 ideas that could be applicable to the business. This also implies that they already know where the business is going.

This brings us to #2. When telling an employee that he or she was not selected for a promotion, keep focusing on the path ahead. Connecting the dots between where employees are and where they want to be can be challenging from within the organization. Again, a third party (like Epic Careering) may be able to propose ideas based on greater depth with the client and high-level perspective on the business/industry. Often the stretch an organization makes to make growth opportunities available for its talent is what opens up a new competitive edge. Engage employees in future possibilities. Like R&D, some things may not pan out, but your commitment to finding a way to best leverage their talents and aspirations will earn trust, engagement, and loyalty.

Don’t make it all about the company, but do share how particular skills (hard or soft) or experiences were perceived as integral for moving the company forward. Stick to explaining the assets you and other stakeholders weighed. Make sure the employee knows the reasons he or she was being considered in the first place.

#3 – Frank feedback is very tricky business.

Before you sit down with an employee that was not granted a promotion, check where your communication is coming from. Communication was my major in college, and that included learning broadcasting, journalism, public speaking, and advertising, but it also included interpersonal communication. It seems like this would be something you pick up during the course of your life, but consider all that can go wrong in communication. Yes, I learned a lot about communication, but I had the most breakthroughs in communication in my own life in Landmark Education’s Communication Curriculum. The most significant revelation that had the most impact in my life was when I realized that what we can control in communication is the most critical part of sending communications that land – the emotions behind them.

Take a few moments to be centered and mindful. Notice and let go of any feelings of pity, regret, defensiveness, judgments of the person’s mistakes or shortcomings, and fears. Visualize delivering the messages in the highest interests of the employee. Be intentional for the overall experience. What impression do you want the person to walk away from the meeting with?

When you intentionally choose the emotion from which you communicate, you naturally choose words in alignment with that emotion. Effective communication is so much more about where you are coming from when you communicate rather than what you say. Epic Careering offers training in this, and it’s transformative for individuals and organizations. It’s not something that comes naturally. Naturally, we have emotions, and we react in accordance with them. In fast-paced environments, this is the M.O. Thankfully, the techniques for achieving consciousness in communication take only a few minutes and eliminate hardships that stifle progress and innovation.

Of course, everything advised above is focused on keeping the talent you didn’t promote engaged so that the company doesn’t suffer from sabotage, at worst, but also losses in productivity or talent. Consider applying #3 to external candidates who didn’t get the job, as well. You may not have wanted them for this role, and you have decided they’re not even a fit for your culture at all. However, if you see them a potential new node in your network who may refer talent, resources, clients/customers, etc. you expand your employer brand visibility by that person’s network.

I wish I had completed the Landmark Communication curriculum while I was a recruiter. I was very well-intentioned in giving feedback to candidates but found that at times, it induced a defensive reaction. Though most people received feedback very well, the people who didn’t discouraged me from making it a practice. I wish I had known how to communicate more consciously then. It might not have made the difference in all circumstances, but I know it would have made a difference for many of the candidates I intended to help, and maybe they would have been clients.

Just as Brené Brown says that we won’t do empathy perfectly, there’s hardly a thing as perfect communication. There certainly is optimal communication, however.

Fairness in process and consciousness in communication are the best preventions for sabotage, but also the best conductors of highly engaged talent.

CANDLEBOX – “Far Behind” (official video)

New album DISAPPEARING IN AIRPORTS out April 22, 2016 Pre-Order now @Itunes ► http://apple.co/204LvqO @Amazon ► http://amzn.to/1Q9pzWm @Pledge http://bit.ly/1Pb152u Video created by Rob Neilson ( http://www.WiredWebDev.com ) Tour Dates ► http://www.CandleboxRocks.com/ Official Store ►http://bit.ly/1PLirPM Website ► http://www.CandleboxRocks.com/ Facebook ►http://www.facebook.com/candlebox Twitter ► http://www.twitter.com/candlebox Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/candlebox_official Official YouTube ►https://www.youtube.com/user/CBoxRockers Management ►https://www.PrimaryWave.com

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Think What Happened To Elon Musk Won’t Happen to You? Think Again!

Reverse Engineering Internal Sabotage for Prevention [Part 1 of 3]

SpaceX Discovery Fire

Discovery Fire Galaxy 2016

The Tesla sabotage incident Elon Musk made the world aware of last week raises a few great questions.

  1. How does somebody who would be inclined and capable of sabotaging your company get into your company, and how can you prevent that?
  2. How can you choose the right person for promotion, but still make sure that those who didn’t receive a promotion stay engaged and working in the company‘s best interests?
  3. Once you know that your hiring process allowed a saboteur to get through the screening process, how do you make sure that the rest of your workforce is on the up and up without insulting knows of higher values and morals?

All great questions, but we’re going to focus on #1 today and tackle the other two in subsequent posts.

If you took a look at Tesla’s Glassdoor profile, you’d see that they rate highly, at 3.4 out of 5 stars, but only 57% would recommend Tesla as an employer to a friend.

Overall, people are in it for the mission of disrupting the energy and transportation industries, and 85% approve of the job Elon Musk is doing. The common complaints, however, are lack of work/life balance – long hours with minimal pay and inflexible attendance policies. The benefits are not quite making up for the lack in fair pay, either. Plus, lack of procedures are making employees feel like they can’t even be efficient in the time they spend there.

Apparently, people get fired unexpectedly and are given little to no feedback on their performance. Also, one employee reports that it’s rare to be recognized, even if you’ve achieved the “impossible;” it just becomes the standard expectation from that point forward. They are letting go 9% of their salaried workforce (outside of production) to cut costs. They also are churning through people who find it hard to stay more than a couple years.

Musk knew when he decided to step up and disrupt very wealthy and powerful industries that he would become a target. However, with the workforce complaints piling up, I wonder why he didn’t see an internal attack coming.

Perhaps he isn’t familiar with altruistic punishment – a reaction embedded in our brain that gets triggered when a person believes he/she or someone else is being treated unfairly. Why did nature install this type of reaction in our brain? To promote cooperation that supports the evolution of our species.

In answer to #1, biologically, science has proven all human beings are capable of inflicting harm on someone who has treated others unfairly. It stands to reason that people have varying thresholds.

I think of Clark Griswold when I think of altruistic punishment. It hardly matters what National Lampoons movie you choose. He always had the best of intentions to show his family a great time and make meaningful memories. When other people’s shenanigans and acts of God threatened to sabotage his plans, he felt fully justified in breaking laws and violating other people’s safety and/or property to achieve his well-intentioned mission. In the end, people admitted that they were being unfair and Clark and his family got away without punishment and with amazing memories that brought them closer together as a family. Good times. I don’t see the Tesla employee enjoying such a happy ending, but maybe.

I’m sure Musk has his own justifications for keeping things the way they are – in order to be profitable, the company has to produce 5,000 Model 3s each week. People have proposed that he be stripped of his Board Chairman position. The company’s shares are worth 16% now than they were last year at this time. No doubt, Musk is under a lot of pressure to control costs and boost production to survive as a company and achieve his mission. I’m sure employee belief in the mission is the thing that Musk was depending on to get him and his over-stretched workforce through these challenges. Unfortunately for Musk and his mission, it wasn’t enough, and the costs have been extremely prohibitive, though he still remains certain that he will achieve his production goals.

Yes, Musk confessed to sleeping at the factory. I’m sure he wants his workforce to see him as a model employee, to see that he’s willing to put in every drop of his effort and time for the sake of his mission. Can he really expect them to show the same level of commitment AND perform, stay, endure with few perks to their lifestyle? Once they have been hired by any of his companies, they become premier talent for the taking.

He suspects the jilted employee was collaborating with someone associated with Wall Street or the industries he’s disrupting.

Here’s the thing: if you were losing or stood to lose millions of dollars with the widespread production and purchase of solar/electric vehicles, and you knew that many employees were unhappy with the conditions under which they work, might it occur to you to convert an employee into an accomplice?

Not all companies have such enemies, but they do (or will) have competition.

Out of curiosity, I scooted over to Elon Musk’s other companies’ Glassdoor profiles to see what was said about them. I had heard that a recent graduate I know received an offer to work for SpaceX, but turned it down because it required 70 hours per week. SpaceX is very highly rated at 4.4 out of 5 stars, and Musk’s approval rating is even higher at 97%! It seems that even though lack of work/life balance is still a very common complaint, improvements have been made since 2015. So far, though, it looks like the mission and the high caliber of talent is keeping the workforce going. It’s been rated a top place to work for 2018.

I headed over to SolarCity, which has been part of Tesla since 2016 and is being led by Lyndon Rive. As you might expect, lack of work/life balance is the #1 complaint, but other common complaints are also poor training and lack of communication from executives. It also seems that background checks are quite extensive. One employee waited 12 weeks for verification. This was while the company was part of Tesla, and before the saboteur came out with his confession. I wonder if the saboteur made it through the same comprehensive and stringent background checking, yet still wound up wanting retribution.

So, should you tweak your hiring practices to include measuring the altruistic punishment threshold of potential employees, or should you address workforce complaints to the best of your ability?

It seems to me that sound, fair workforce cultures and policies are the best way to prevent internal sabotage. These are fixable problems!

If I were a shareholder, I’d be highly skeptical that the company could become profitable by cutting the workforce outside of production while doubling production.

I wonder how the costs of attrition, lack of efficiency, quality issues, and extensive internal sabotage rack up against the costs of more flexible work days, increased monetary incentives, improved feedback and communication, and career planning. Could Musk have avoided quality issues, delayed launches, sabotage and having to do a workforce reduction if he invested in solving the issues affecting his people?

As much of a visionary as I can agree Elon Musk is, it seems his eyes are on the prize and not his people. This is a strategic failure I hope doesn’t result in the combustion of his company, especially as new competitors emerge regularly.

One employee already stated that he feels everyone fears that the company is one disaster away from imploding. Could it be?

Is your company at risk of a similar fate?

If you answer yes to any of the questions below, then your company is at risk.

Please nominate your company for a workforce audit (all submissions are confidential!) by e-mailing us with your company’s name and the name(s), direct e-mail address(es) and direct phone number(s) to any and all contacts who would be the most logical point(s) of contact. C-level executives are logical points of contact, but so are majority shareholders and Vice Presidents empowered to make workforce investments.

  • Does your company put profit above people?
  • Do your executive leaders seem inaccessible and lack transparency?
  • Would you consider the working conditions to be inhumane and/or counter-productive?
  • Do they fail to acknowledge achievements?
  • Are your performance evaluations lacking in clarity on what you can improve or how you can grow?
  • Do they fail to give you feedback or deliver it harshly?
  • Is unprofessional behavior tolerated?
  • Does it seem certain kinds of people always get the promotions?
  • Are initiatives lacking in funding while executives take home healthy salaries and bonuses?
  • Does your boss play favorites?
  • Is communication one-way or non-existent
  • Are you fearful of what will happen if you make a mistake based on a history of punishment vs. development?

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

Music video by The Beastie Boys performing Sabotage. (C) 2009 Capitol Records, LLC

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

“Can You Teach an Adult Compassion?”

 

This was a question posed by a friend on mine on Facebook. Some were under the impression that you can’t.

My answer:

“You can develop emotional intelligence through mindfulness techniques, but that would have to be voluntary.

‘I tried to find a video I saw (I thought it was Samantha Bee) where they brought global warming deniers through a kind of fun house type of experience where they experience the devastating effects of climate change for themselves. The fear inspired by the special effects changed ~60% of their minds. [I still can’t find this, but I will continue to try. Maybe it was Tosh.O or Sarah Silverman.]

‘There are experiments going on right now with virtual reality. I believe this was either Jane McGonigal or her sister who did a VR experiment on compassion and conservation. [It was Jane who mentioned it, but it was not her experiment– here is the video.] Apparently, participants who cut down a sequoia tree in virtual reality were [more likely to recycle.] Fascinating! There is so much tremendous research going on right now and breakthroughs on the way.”

I also added a fun fact to the thread:

“Did you know under normal circumstances the part of our brain responsible for emotional intelligence doesn’t start to develop until our third decade of life?” [Correction: it doesn’t become fully functional until our 3rd decade of life.]

The insula and anterior cingulate are the parts associated with self-awareness and social awareness. You can absolutely accelerate development of these parts of your brain and the neural circuits through mindfulness techniques. [Cited from Neurowisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success by Mark Waldman and Chris Manning, PhD]

I should also point out that development of this part of the brain can also be inhibited. Those who grow up bullied, overly criticized, abused, neglected, etc. are likely to become the ones whose self-talk is overly critical.

Being overly self-critical increases your tendency to find error in everything and everyone. Adjusting your self-talk to be more compassionate stimulates neural circuits associated with empathy. [Also cited from Neurowisdom.] Just like building muscle through repetitive motion and skill through practice, the more you use these neural circuits, the more you will develop compassion for yourself, and others as a byproduct.

So, to follow that further, the people who are most critical of others are the ones who are hardest on themselves.

It seems quite hypocritical to vilify people who are not demonstrating compassion. Science tells us what they need is to love and accept themselves more. This is what I imagine Ghandi meant when he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s also why believers in the Law of Attraction advise you to “give what you are seeking” to shift your abundance.

If you want people to be more compassionate, show them more compassion. Show yourself more compassion!

That’s a big one! It’s why the fabulous Brené Brown’s research and teachings have been so embraced. We all crave and need more self-compassion.

There are also experiences, apps, virtual reality games, and exercises that have proven to help accelerate self-compassion as well as outward compassion. New studies are being done all the time. It’s important to note that not only can increases in neural activity associated with compassion be measured, but the neural activity DOES impact behavior.

Here are just a few options:

The Compassion Experience transports people into someone less fortunate’s life. It also is backed by research. It is created by a Christian organization and the events are held at churches over a several-day period. I found four in my local area over the summer, including one at my cousin’s church. It is intended to enhance gratitude and compassion in children and to inspire parents to donate to less fortunate children in different parts of the world. The events are free (at least the ones that I saw, but this could be church-specific.)

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian prayer said to heal and release. There are four simple lines: I love you; I’m sorry; I forgive you; Thank you. That’s it. It’s the simplest prayer ever. It can be said over and over like a chant, or you can say it every time you look in a mirror. You can say it in the morning as you wake, or at night before you sleep, or both. You can say it out loud or in your head. You can say it with your eyes closed or open. You can say it as though you are talking to yourself, or someone else. It’s not really something you can do wrong.

Mindfulness has many different connotations, and not all of them are clinical or accurate. In fact, the word has been misapplied to mean being positive or meditating. There is no particular breathing technique that you have to learn – just NOTICE your breath. Then notice your thoughts. Notice your emotions. Notice your body. Notice the tiny details of things around you. Notice the vibrancy of colors. Notice the beauty of nature or people. That’s it! That’s all there is to mindfulness. It’s an important step toward accepting and allowing what is, including you, without judgment.

Maybe you think this is for someone else less compassionate than yourself. Well, statistically, people believe they are more compassionate than they are, so it stands to reason that anyone might as well become more compassionate.

Let me know if you have tried any of these methods. Let me know if you would like extra assistance with compassion for yourself or others.

Give a Little Bit Singer/Songwriter Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, with Orchestra

“Give a Little Bit has a wonderful message that makes people light up and I get them to sing with me. It really has a message that is very eternal and is needed even more today than it was when I wrote it when I was 19.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

A Power Mantra for Next-level Professionals

So What by Paolo Mazzoleni on Flickr

So What by Paolo Mazzoleni on Flickr

Two weeks ago I was going through my brother’s senior yearbook. Underneath the seniors’ pictures were captions, including favorite phrases. My niece had some trouble properly pronouncing one of my brother’s choices: “Buuuudy.” This was a quote from one of the 80s most unlikely phenomenons, Pauley Shore. It occurred to me that if he knew nearly 30 years later these phrases would be immortalized and read by his kids, he might have chosen other words, but he was 17.

I took a look at my own senior year caption. It was definitely not what my 40-year-old self would have wanted to immortalize.

So, what would I immortalize now?

I might choose something timeless. There was a phrase that I learned when I had a door-to-door sales job, which became my mantra, “Some will; some won’t; so what? NEXT!”

I still find this completely valid. That door-to-door job I worked one summer was brutal in many ways – hours of walking alone in a suit, even when it was hot and humid, even in sketchy neighborhoods with high crime and incidences of drive-by shootings. It certainly made me more street smart and thick-skinned.

Even though being successful in that job depended upon people (business owners) liking and trusting me, I learned that I didn’t need EVERYONE to like and trust me. Some people just won’t, and the faster I moved on and let go, the faster I could get to the person who would say yes.

With that realization came a level of freedom I hadn’t yet known, and so many of my past pains around not being accepted started to dissolve. Thinking about it now, this was most likely the first taste of personal development that became a hunger, and at times an obsession. I needed that to get to the next level in my profession after that job, and this mantra helped me make better choices. I remind myself of it each time I want to get to the next level, which usually comes with increased visibility…and vulnerability.

I’ve been striving ever since that realization to master being my best self by my OWN standards, and to enjoy freedom in accepting myself, while reconciling how to be the cause of transformation at the scale that I feel is necessary to really make the impact on corporate careering, hiring and engagement that I am driven to make.

So, while it can be fun and freeing to throw caution to the wind when it comes to social media, the consequences of doing that may not align with what you want for the long-term – your BIGGER why.

I’m not advising you to be anyone different for anyone’s sake. Lisa Sasevich, offer communication coach, shared a lesson her father, a famous ventriloquist, taught her, “Don’t change your act, change your audience.”

I finally got around to watching The Greatest Showman last night. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you. I will tell you that while it was inspiring, it was also a warning to not let your desire for acceptance compromise what really matters in life.

My hypnotherapy hero, Marisa Peer, has worked with royalty and rock stars, and shares just how common it is for highly successful people to suffer from not feeling like enough. In fact, it’s what drives them to achieve. Barnum was no different in the movie’s portrayal. The drive to build something extravagant was fed by his need to be accepted. So, sometimes the need for approval can be purposeful and can fuel some big dreams. However, it was also almost the demise of all he held dear.

When being intentional about your brand (you have one whether your conscious of it or not,) remember to honor who you are and what is most important to you in the grand scheme of your life.

Besides, what kind of happiness do you think you can obtain by becoming someone else? How long can that last?

You can be successful and authentic.

What I want people to get about their brand is that it doesn’t mean just mean putting something out into the world to increase your visibility or engagement. A brand AT ITS BEST is an intentional outreach designed to resonate with and attract people who enrich your network and life experience.

If your boss enriches your life, say with a paycheck, and you want to keep that paycheck, then put things out into the world that your boss would appreciate. This implies that you would take time to understand what he or she appreciates and allows before you create and put it out there. However, if you’d rather have a different boss who lets you do you, make sure what you put out in the world reaches that kind of boss, resonates with him or her or them, and inspires them to take action.

Be willing to let go of people, like your current boss, who just don’t get you. And, be willing to give up the paycheck, too. And if you’re not, make an empowered choice to play by your boss’s rules until you gain the freedom to do you.

“Are you picking up what I’m putting down?”

That’s my favorite, more modern version of the mantra, which was the most valuable part of my door-to-door sales experience.

The freedom in this mantra comes from unapologetically and without attachment to the outcome declaring, “This is what I’m doing whether you’re with me or not. If you’re not, I’ll find somebody else who will. If you are, let’s get to work.”

If people aren’t picking up what you’re putting down, consider changing the audience, not the act.

They may not resonate with you at the moment. They may have their own set of blinders, or other priorities. It’s not personal. Move on.

P!nk – So What

P!nk’s official music video for ‘So What’. Click to listen to P!nk on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/PSpot?IQid=PSW As featured on Greatest Hits…So Far!!!.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.