Careers

How Can A Genius Be So Dumb? Does the Disruptor Need Disruption?

(Sidebar: Turns out pictures of Trump also show up when you search Google images for dumb.)

But I’m not talking about him. I’m talking about the guy who famously said that changing the world requires 80-hour weeks.  I wonder what the author of the 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss, would say about that. I’d have to imagine he has a portfolio full of case studies of people who are changing the world and working FEWER hours.

So Elon Musk, in case you didn’t realize who I quoted, is CEO of four different companies concurrently, all of which he has charged with disrupting industry. He’s one of the most innovative minds of our times, able to leverage the best in technology and science to do things most would have thought impossible. BUT, he seems completely ignorant of what science has proven about human performance optimization.

According to a Wired article, though Elon was able to finally achieve producing 5000 Model 3s in a week, his factory machinery and car features had been riddled with errors. His workers are avoiding any potential contact that could spark a firing tantrum. According to Tesla’s Glassdoor reviews, people are being micromanaged and turnover is high.  Do we even need science to know that these conditions do not lead to sustained success or growth?

It’s no wonder why he’d love nothing more than for someone to come along and take his open source designs and start a company to compete with him. Actually, I’d really love that, too. I’d love someone to come along and leverage his science and technology as well as neuroscience and human performance optimization techniques to surpass him and prove to him that not only can you can change the world in a reasonable work week, but you can do it faster and better, more collaboratively, and solve even more problems when your workforce is rested, inspired and encouraged to have enriching experiences outside of work, as science proves.

I wonder what would happen if workers were encouraged and supported in stretching every 25 minutes, exercising every morning, taking half-hour breaks 3 times per workday, and working a 35 hour work week.

I wonder what would happen if instead of being berated when something doesn’t work, workers were told to meditate or engage in a cathartic activity. I wonder how they might perform better if they were trusted to fix their own mistakes.

I wonder how much faster solutions would occur.

I wonder what would happen if he turned around his employment brand and was able to attract twice the genius to cover the same amount of hours, but put twice the brain power on issues and plans.

I wonder how many fewer mistakes would be made and how much faster production would be.

I wonder how much more profitable Tesla could be. I wonder if he would actually then acquire the GM plant and re-employ its workers but under favorable conditions. I wonder if he could do that with many other abandoned plants. I wonder if Detroit could have a second hay day as the Motor City.

I challenge any who have the experience, resources, and funding to disrupt the disruptor. Anyone up for it?

Aretha Franklin Chain Of Fools

Chain, chain, chain, chain, chain, chain (Catena, catena, catena, …)

 

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, 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, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

When Do You Know You Have To Go To Plan B?

When do you know you have to go to Plan B?

I’m not referring to Plan B in your methods to get into a company, as described in a previous post.

Today I’m referring to when you know that you have to abandon your search for your ideal role and pursue a consolation job.

Sadly, many people jump right to pursuing their consolation job because they determine arbitrarily that their ideal job is out of reach. But is this based on fact or story?

I would have assumed that I could not be an adjunct professor at a world-renowned university without a graduate degree, but I would have been wrong.

Besides those people, there are those who conduct a reactive job search spending 90%+ of their time using resources that fail to produce results 90%+ of the time and then decide that they have to re-strategize what they want and pursue something they want less. This serves no one.

Job seekers run out of runway by only being reactive while also giving up all their power to others who statistically will fail to follow up.

It’s not just a numbers game. There is a way to work smarter, have more fun, and get results – predictably. But…

  • It takes self-awareness to identify your unique value.
  • It takes empathy and market intelligence to understand how that translates into value for your future employer.
  • It takes serious internet sleuthing to identify what initiatives, challenges, or pain your target employer is experiencing and what hot buttons will make them pay attention to you and what you offer that will help them in the ways that are most meaningful to them.
  • It takes quality front-end preparation, strong wordsmithing ability, and familiarity with the best practices of various media (résumé, LinkedIn profile, bio, ect.) to hone your brand and messages to convey your unique value immediately in a way that resonates with your target employer.
  • It takes stretching your comfort zone and trying things you never have before.
  • It takes expertise in and application of best practices that fully leverage the resources that produce the best results to avoid the trial and error that leaves job seekers running out of time, energy, and self-worth.
  • It takes emotional intelligence, but also confidence in what you’re offering to know what the right amount of push and pull is when trying to elicit someone’s time and follow up.
  • It takes the ability to inspire others in the outcomes that you make possible to get someone to risk their social capital and make introductions to VIPs.
  • It takes troubleshooting skills to know how to get through to an employer when your original attempt(s) fail.
  • It takes knowing how to manage your time so that you can spend more time in interviews while investing less time generating new opportunities by using resources that have proven to produce results. This is how you maintain momentum.
  • It takes knowing how to recover your mindset and motivation, after allowing and processing your emotions, when something you really wanted doesn’t come through.

All of the above can be either coached, taught, or done for you.

If you didn’t do/have one of the above in your attempt to pursue your ideal job, or the next logical step toward your ideal job, then you quit too early, and you’ll still need all of the above to land your consolation job, only you’ll be less motivated to do what it takes.

Sometimes by the time people reach out to me for help they have already given up on what they really want and have decided to get help getting something less than what they want.

Sorry – I don’t do that. I don’t help people land consolation careers. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a plan B, but you shouldn’t invest time in your plan B until you have really pursued plan A the right way, and you definitely shouldn’t invest money in your plan B until you’ve invested money in your plan A.

I’m here to help you land your plan A.

Shawn Mendes – In My Blood

Get Shawn Mendes: The Album here now: https://IslandRecs.lnk.to/ShawnMendes Apple Music: https://IslandRecs.lnk.to/InMyBloodDL/applemusic Spotify: https://IslandRecs.lnk.to/InMyBloodDL/spotify iTunes: https://IslandRecs.lnk.to/InMyBloodDL/itunes Amazon: https://IslandRecs.lnk.to/InMyBloodDL/amazonmp3 Google Play: https://IslandRecs.lnk.to/InMyBloodDL/google-play Tidal: https://IslandRecs.lnk.to/InMyBloodDL/tidal Follow Shawn Mendes here: Twitter: https://twitter.com/shawnmendes Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shawnmendes Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShawnMendesOfficial Music video by Shawn Mendes performing In My Blood. © 2018 Island Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

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, 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, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

 

Will HR AI Help or Hurt Your Career?

Considering that I have no time machine, time travel abilities or accurate predictive talents, I can’t be sure what future tech will offer hiring and careering. I am discouraged by the solutions being funded, sold, and used at the present moment.

Like, how are job boards still thriving in terms of revenue when most job seekers and recruiters admit not having great results with them? Well, some of them have reinvented themselves as multi-resource sites that offer valuable data. As the data increases, supposedly everyone can make more educated decisions.

Many technologies are now focused on scouring the web for passive talent with non-traditional professional footprints rather than producing better searches in databases full of applicants. Other recognize that you don’t fill jobs by recruiting people who don’t want to leave, and you don’t keep positions filled by recruiting job hoppers, so they score a candidate’s likelihood of entertaining a new opportunity. Some are becoming better at recognizing alternative skills, titles, qualities, and backgrounds.

There is still a large gap, however, that proliferates the challenges of employers to find, attract, recruit and retain not only good candidates, but good hires, which, according to Lou Adler, are distinct.

Credit: Lou Adler from LinkedIn post 11.26.18

Adler’s article points out a painfully obvious break in the system that has yet to be addressed by technology because it is a people problem, so far. The great hires don’t always make themselves obvious to unknown employers.

Enter Epic Careering… and other branding services.

We are the bridge between great talent and the companies that need them and vice versa.

In an ideal future, we will all adopt a common professional language and keyword dictionary so that technology will easily identify matches between employers and employees. Ideally, these technologies will also better understand human nature and human performance optimization. Until then, so much is left unarticulated, unpromoted, and unidentified. Great opportunities go undiscovered by talent while the talent that could fast-forward a company’s vision and mission drift toward lower hanging fruit, which may or may not be ripe, or even good.

AI is not solving this problem so far.

It falls on you.

If you are talent:

At a minimum, certainly, populate your skills list. You can add up to 50. Put them in order of our strengths and for what you’d like to be endorsed most. This will increase the chances that you will be found in a search and sent a cold invitation to connect by a recruiter.

At best, tell stories that demonstrate your unique value, which could be tied to an unconventional background, a worldly upbringing (or an underprivileged one), a different perspective, an innate talent, or a way with people. Give people content that not only qualifies you, but starts to garner a connection that transcends job descriptions/requirements. Position yourself as a candidate of choice. Be forthright about the culture and conditions under which you thrive, and then tell people what transpired because you were able to perform at your best.

Include your awards, even if they seemed shallow or token. Don’t hide your promotions by only listing your most recent title. Take credit for facilitating the accomplishments of those you managed, mentored, and supported.

Acquire skills in tasteful, professional self-promotion and stretch yourself to gain comfort with them. The best person for the job doesn’t always get the job. That’s a shame, but one you can prevent by doing this.

If you are an employer:

At a minimum, go beyond the checkboxes. Abandon acronyms in favor of the real success-determining factors. Ask yourself if your requirements are really just a way to whittle down a large list of candidates or if they really will determine someone’s chances at being successful. Warning: This will require thought – deep thought. I know you think you don’t have time for that. But if candidates who make great hires aren’t wearing an obvious label, you will have to consider if the labels you can see are showing you what’s really inside – what people are really made of.

Be honest about having biases. You can’t refute them if you don’t acknowledge them and if you don’t refute them you can’t stop them from influencing hiring decisions.

At best, nurture leadership that is not only ethical but conscious of the impact of their decisions on people and planet and how that will trickle down and circle back. As you implement technology and streamline operations, don’t lose the human touch. Make sure your leaders are accessible and emotionally intelligent. Give people transparency and trust. Relationships will always trump technology at connecting your company with talent in a meaningful way, aka engagement.

Daft Punk – Computerized Ft Jay Z

Leaked Daft Punk track with Jay-z.

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, 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, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Ditch the Drama – Part 2 Recap of the PA Conference for Women 2018

The breakout session spoke to me: “Ditch Workplace Drama and Drive Results”

Oh, Hallelujah!

Now, it has been a long time since I had to deal with drama with any regularity, having not been a full-time employee for over 12 years. However, even as a subcontractor and volunteer, just the interacting with other humans for the sake of collaborating on projects of mutual interest and benefit seems to expose me to drama.

As I shared last week on part 1 of my PA Conference for Women recap, I was thirsty for tools and information I could put to use and share right away.

I have met a new woman, Cy Wakeman, whose database of knowledge and habits I would love to instantly download. And I was exposed to a term that resonates so strongly with my quest to use every second for the utmost outcome, whether that outcome is fun, productivity, co-creating, vitality, adventure, or intimacy.

Behavioral economics – a study dedicated to understanding and adjusting the time it takes humans to make decisions, take actions, and communicate words that accelerate progress and results while eliminating poor outcomes and wasteful actions and communications. (My paraphrased definition.)

What’s even better, is that it ties data to practices that are proven, but considered a bit fringe for most corporate environments – being in your highest self.

Whaaaa?

Not only that, but she debunked so many popular corporate myths about engagement, accountability, leadership, open-door policies, and more. I wish everyone could have been there. It was EPIC.

As usual, if you read my blogs/posts or follow me on Twitter, you get the benefit of attending even if you weren’t there because I captured as many golden nuggets as possible. My blog is one of my favorite ways to re-teach what I learn to share the wealth, but also to reinforce what I learn. I do this with my speaking engagements, as well. A room full of Human Resources professionals will benefit Friday from this download of de-dramatization techniques. It’s a shame I had to hand in my pitch deck several weeks ago, but I will find ways to weave it in. What Cy had to share is relevant to ALL people and all relationships. It’s life-changing! Thankfully, 450K+ people get to hear her message each year with her 250-day/year speaking schedule.

I look forward to reading my signed copy of No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Costs of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Results.

Below are my tweets of the good stuff you would have missed if you weren’t there:

Green Day – Drama Queen ( Lyrics )

Uploaded by umaro seidi on 2012-11-21.

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, 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, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

 

Kick Glass – Part 1 Recap of the PA Conference for Women 2018

Jen Walters quote

Quote from #PennWomen

It seems to start earlier and get more crowded every year, though I think last year was a record when Michelle Obama was one of the keynote speakers. The trains are always full…of women, many craving the keys to the kingdom, or just to a better way of working and living that’s more – them. They’re seeking permission, forgiveness, acceptance, and empowerment, and they get it.

I know there are a number of breakouts I can attend, and some of them fit right into my wheelhouse, like personal branding, LinkedIn, salary negotiations, etc.

I attended Dr. Jen Welter’s breakout because she became the first woman to breakthrough the NFL’s gender barriers as a coach for the Arizona Cardinals. And, because she did such an awesome job blazing the trail, she has effectively kept the door open for several others to follow:

  • Bills full-time coach, Kathryn Smith
  • 49ers Offensive Assistant, Katie Sowers (also first open LGBTQ coach in NFL)
  • Raiders strength coach, Kelsey Martinez

I have helped many of my clients overcome many kinds of bias, but I had to hear her story – how she did it, who helped her along the way, what happened once she was there, how she got a team of male football players to give her the respect that enabled her to effectively coach them.

I took some great snippet Tweetables from her talk, suitable for a large room of women or a stadium with the energy and confidence she projected. What she taught transcended gender and apply to leadership in the face of bias and increased scrutiny. She was teaching us how to and why to KICK GLASS – don’t let others tell you what your limits are. Defy them by being your full, authentic self.

If you ever get the chance to see her speak, or read her book, Play Big: Lessons on Being Limitless from the 1st Woman to Coach in the NFL, I recommend you take it.

No Doubt – Just A Girl

Best of No Doubt: https://goo.gl/arujs7 Subscribe here: https://goo.gl/HRNLKB Music video by No Doubt performing Just A Girl. (C) 2003 Interscope Records

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, 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, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

5 Real Reasons Your Network Hasn’t Stepped Up To Help You

This term “ghosting” spells out a new level of pain to the concept of putting yourself out there and getting nothing back. Being in limbo with your career already comes with feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. So much can happen in a job transition that can make you believe there’s something wrong with you, or that what you want isn’t viable or available. But, feeling good about yourself and your prospects is so critical to getting a successful outcome from all your efforts.

I want you to understand better what is really happening when you think you’ve been ghosted by your network so that you don’t take it personally, and keep your spirits up for the adventure and challenge that big change is.

#1

You aren’t getting a flurry of leads from your network because you’ve only asked them to be on the lookout for open positions with your particular title. This means that your network is not going to be able to uncover the hidden job market for you.

I realize this hidden job market might seem like an enigma, but it really does exist. It just means that there are people out there who you need you, but who have not gone through the formal process of creating a job requirement and getting it approved by HR or Finance. In the meantime, they are most likely experiencing some kind of pain, and they may confide in some people about their pain to their network. That is what you want your network trained to detect, report, and respond to.

This is why your network needs to understand what your future boss could be experiencing that would be a clue that he or she might need you. Once they have this information, not only can they pass along news of a job opening for your role, which happens (rarely), but they can also generate leads through their social activities, which is when a lot more useful information gets shared through closer relationships that are easier to leverage.

#2

The person or people you ask either don’t have strong persuasion skills or generally feel like their opinions don’t matter. Ineffective influencers range from in behavior from not even trying to assert their opinions to overly asserting their opinions. You would be surprised how many unlikely people are included in this group, and who would not readily admit this about themselves, if they’re even aware. It would be much easier to avoid you than to admit that they weren’t able to make something happen for you.

Especially in a large company, people may not feel like they have influence. They may want very much to help you, but don’t feel as though a recommendation from them would carry much weight. This can be a painful realization. It may make them feel bad, and they may not want to confront you because of how they feel, especially if they get ghosted. Oof, right?!

What if you are one of those people? My advice – get a coach!

#3

They are unhappy where you are aspiring to work. They may not tell you that for multiple reasons. It could be because they don’t want to say something disparaging. They may not want to explain why they will stay there unhappy, but could have their reasons – benefits, vacation time, golden handcuffs, change is scary, feeling there may not be something better, etc.. They don’t necessarily want you to share in their misery, but they won’t necessarily be forthright about it. So they will avoid having to answer any more questions. Before you ask someone for help getting into their company, do a mini-informational interview. Ask people what they do and don’t like about working there. You may find out you don’t even want to work there.

#4

They feel bad for you, but don’t have faith in you. This is what we fear, so I know this one hurts. Sometimes we relate to people as we once knew them and it’s hard to envision them as anything else. They do that to us, too.  If someone knew you since you were young, they might still see you as the kid who dropped the ball in the playoff game, or who played a prank on the principal. It doesn’t mean we can’t outgrow images. It isn’t always an easy thing to do, and sometimes it’s not worth the effort, but we have to take ownership if that person has never really been able to see anything else but that person in us. It could be just a matter of you showing that person how grown-up you are now, or this person was just meant to be a part of your past and you might want to leave them there. The person you ask has to have some faith that the introduction is going to make them look good, and not make them look bad. Reintroduce yourself.

#5

You know there are things that you don’t get around to doing. It’s a noisy, busy world. Just think about it – we have cars, houses, bills, pets, children, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, classes, paperwork, taxes, not to mention bodies that need our attention. Take ownership of follow up and practice patient persistence and forgiveness. People genuinely want to help, but very few of us have our sh*t together so much that we never let things fall through the cracks. Some people are certainly better than others. I can’t count how many times my patient persistence led to people thanking me. Firstly, you should aim to understand what method of communication people prefer. So many people prefer texting nowadays for reminders and to confirm plans. Some people who are active on social media can be easier to reach through messengers. Of course, there’s something about hearing the sincerity in your voice, too. Try each of these up to 5 times before you give up on someone or judge them as inconsiderate or undependable.

Look, unless we know for sure what is going on with someone on their end, all we can do is guess, which means we’re assuming. You know what ASS-U-ME means, right? Having someone sponsor you for a job is a great plan A, but there’s a whole alphabet. The less you let people let you down, the faster you can pick yourself up and continue to take action, the more you can generate momentum, and the more empowered you’ll be to make a choice that is in your highest good.

Don’t let other people’s lack of response discourage you. Focus on making so many things happen that you barely notice the things that don’t. Work on developing your ability to influence and inspire others. You don’t have to give everyone else power of your fate.

4 Non Blondes – What’s Up

Listen to the Best Of 4 Non Blondes here: http://playlists.udiscovermusic.com/playlist/4-non-blondes-best-of Stream more from 4 Non Blondes: https://4NonBlondes.lnk.to/Essentials Follow 4 Non Blondes & Linda Perry https://www.facebook.com/4nonblondes/ https://twitter.com/reallindaperry Music video by 4 Non Blondes performing What’s Up. (C) 1992 Interscope Records

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.

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.