Monthly Archives: December 2010

Develop an Organizational Talent Management Plan

World-class organizations understand that their people are their greatest asset, and therefore pursue aggressive strategies to constantly improve the overall talent level of their employees as a means of achieving lasting competitive advantage in the markets they compete in.

Following are some strategies that your organization can employ, as part of an integrated and effective talent management program that recruits, hires, trains, and retains top talent.

1. Always Be On the Lookout for Top Talent:

Your organization should constantly be on the lookout for potential new hires, even if they don’t meet an immediate, short-term staffing need. You always want to be on the look out for talented people to bring into your organization. The most successful companies all maintain a constant vigilance in their search for top talent regardless of their immediate needs. Their philosophy with respect to staffing is, they can ALWAYS find a place for these stars who have established a clear track record of success in generating revenues, reducing costs, and improving organizational efficiencies for other organization.

2. Conduct a Human Capital Audit:

To unleash the many untapped talents of the people working in your organization, match every employee’s core competencies to their job descriptions. Your management team and Human Resources should always be on the lookout for the talents that are NOT being used by all their employees, as well as key areas for each employee to receive additional training and development.

3. Develop a Reward & Recognition Plan:

Nothing builds up long-term employee morale and their loyalty to their organization more than rewarding and recognizing them for their work and contributions. Many short-sighted, poorly run organizations seem to think that recognizing an employee is giving them a paycheck. They fail to recognize their people’s contributions and commitment to their organization. When the economy turns, people that have been overworked and under-appreciated will leave your company. Do you know who they are? How many are your rising stars who hold a key to your company’s long term success?

4. Develop a Coaching/Mentoring Program:

The most effective way to leverage the talents of your more recent hires and longer term employees is to pair them up for formal coaching and mentoring. Your less tenured employees will have their ramp up time in learning the Ins & Outs greatly reduced, and will benefit greatly from the collective experience and insights that your more seasoned employees can share. Your more tenured workers will receive the benefits of feeling connected, contributing to your organization’s success, and feel respected that their past experiences and knowledge are appreciated and still relevant in terms of training your future leaders.

5. Create a Idea Generation Lab:

In order to ensure your organization’s long-term success, you should constantly solicit ideas from your staff, esp. those employees that are closest to the work processes, systems, clients, vendors, partners, and other stakeholders. Create a program to actively seek ideas from all of your employees. Reward employees or the ideas that have the greatest positive impact on your ability to serve clients, create/launch new products, come up with new service offerings,reduce costs, etc. This will improve morale and employee retention as positive side effects.

6. Employee New Venture “Intrapreneur” Program:

An excellent strategy that you can employ in order to prevent your best people from leaving to start their own entrepreneurial efforts is set aside funding to have them pursue new ventures while they (STILL) work for you. This is an exceptional way for your organization to retain your top talent, while building your company’s intellectual capital portfolio of patents, trademarks, copyrights while simultaneously benefiting from your people’s desire and knowledge to develop new product/service offerings.

7. Leadership/Management Development Program:

Create a formal program to develop your key people’s leadership skills, and provide them with the tools, resources, knowledge and skills they need to manage others for success. This may be the single greatest potential to positively impact your bottom line. Rather than having to recruit outside talent to fill key leadership roles or recruit for new managers, cultivate the talents of your existing workforce and provide them with lasting skills to position your organization for success.

8. Develop a Succession Plan:

Create a formal strategy to identify the top talent in your organization that should be groomed/prepared for future leadership and/or management roles. This is especially vital for family run businesses or organizations led by someone that possesses most of the intellectual capital needed to run your organization over the long haul. Think of Jack Welch at GE when he identified Jeffrey Immelt to take his place, Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, etc.

9. Training and Development Program:

Create a formal plan to identify areas for each employee to be trained and develop their skill sets and knowledge base. Employees should have the skills they need to exceed in their current role as well as have a clearly defined action plan for managing their long-term performance, and a clear future career track within the organization.

A final note to owners and managers…

If your people are important enough to hire, then they can and must be leveraged as your greatest asset to achieve long-term success in the markets you compete in. Far too many businesses take the approach of pursuing massive layoffs during trying economic times. This is a cop out and very myopic strategy that costs significantly more to the organization in the long run then taking care of your workforce.

Far too often organizations hire consultants to come up with strategic recommendations and one of their first strategies is to suggest layoffs. This is a surefire path towards self-inflected long-term damage. Rather, take ownership in determining how your people can be leveraged. Expand their skills, provide them with additional resources, give them a greater stake in your organization’s success, challenge them to come up with solutions or make changes.

How to Find a Job That DOESN'T Exist

In today’s job market with rampant unemployment, global competition, shrinking industries, and rapidly evolving technologies and business models, an entirely NEW approach to job searching is required.

This new job search strategy requires that you MUST focus on finding jobs that don’t even exist. How can you do that? It’s definitely NOT easy and requires an entirely new mind set as a job seeker, BUT…the results will prove much more rewarding than following the old traditional, conventional approaches that no longer work! Here’s how you do it…

First off, it’s critical that you match you background, values and belief system to the types of culture in organizations that would be attractive to you. It is important to note there are TWO types of culture in any organization. The first is called the FORMAL culture…consider it “aspirational.” It’s what they want to believe it is like to work in their company. That is what they say about themselves. It’s called “spin” or PR. Take it with a grain of salt. The much more useful and instructive information is in the INFORMAL culture. You find that out by speaking with employees, ex-employees, industry analysts. What is it like if you got to walk around their place of business and just watch how people interact with each other? What kind of volunteer work do their employees do, what causes do they support, which politicians do they contribute to? This type of information is INVALUABLE. You find this by conducting informational interviews.

After you have conducted this personal exploration, you are ready to create an action plan. Target 3-4 industries and 6-8 organizations, companies, not for profits, agencies in each. That gives you a manageable search for 18-32 organizations.

Next, research everything you can about those organizations. Their key challenges, latest successes and failures, top competitors, key trends and developments in the markets they compete in. Are they publicly traded? Get their quarterly and annual reports from the SEC EDGAR website. What are analysts writing about them. Have any lawsuits been filed against them. What does their intellectual property (Trademarks, patents and copyrights) look like. How promising?

Next up…identify the person that you would be reporting to in those 18-32 organizations based on your ideal job working in that organization. Research everything there is to find out about that person. Where they went to school, the professional associations/organizations they belong to, any volunteer work they do, articles they wrote, panels they served on…everything!

Once you know as much as you can about them and the challenges they face leading the team in the organization you’d love to work in, write a script of how you would explain to them just how well you can help them overcome the challenges they face in one or or of the following THREE critical areas: 1) make their organization MORE money; 2) save their organization money, and/or 3) improve their organization’s operational efficiencies, processes, systems, structure.

Now that you have a call script, pick up the phone and call them. Explain that you have done research and are in a unique position to help them overcome (list the top 1-2 challenges they face) and ask if they have 15 minutes to sit down with you to discuss that.

It won’t work all the time but it will be MUCH more successful then responding to those nonexistent job postings on Craig’s List, CareerBuilder, Monster, and Yahoo! Hot Jobs.

The Worst and Best Reality TV Shows

I’ve been thinking a LOT lately about the horrible state of affairs in America and often complain how pervasive reality TV is. I consider it a mind-numbing toxin that is dimming the collective brain cells of our human intellect. But then again, some reality TV shows make for GREAT viewing, even the ones that are PURE garbage.

So to be fair I went back and thought about all the reality TV shows that I have witnessed over the past few decades. Here is my list of the BEST and WORST of “reality” TV land. As always, these are listed in no particular order, just pure stream of consciousness. Let us know what you think. Which ones did I miss on? Which do you agree with?

Let’s start with the “best.” By best, I mean the most entertaining. Just like when you slow down to look when you drive past a car wreck across the divider on the highway I give you the “BEST” of reality TV:

The “BEST”
* Last Comic Standing (nothing better than really good comedy for my money)
* Master Chef / Iron Chef / Top Chef (how can they make such great food in 30 minutes with a can of mayo, ginger snaps, ox tongue and cherries…a caloric McGyver!
* Project Runway – I love it when it gets “catty”
* Dallas Cowboys cheerleader tryouts (ONLY because I’m a Cowboys fan!!!)
* Next Food Network Star
* Extreme Makeover – I love when they change someone’s life in a positive way forever
* Dog The Bounty Hunter – he’s a GREAT man
* Beauty and the Geek (proves there’s hope for us all)
* America’s Best Dance Crew (just because I like to move it, move it)
* American Idol (I love when the really bad performers get skewered)
* Cake Boss (I live in Hoboken so that’s the only reason I need)
* The Apprentice (a nice case study on the most narcissistic, ego-maniacal freak in existence (yes, Donald I’m talking about YOU!)
* Celebrity Rehab – you shouldn’t NEED an explanation ‘cuz it’s pure THEATER
* Dancing With the Stars (Emmet Smith and Michael Irvin…I’m still waiting on Troy Aikman to make an appearance so we have The Triplets.)
* Breaking Bonaduce & The Hasselhoffs – I get nostalgic for the 1970s & 1980s sometimes.

The WORST – These can also be the “best” depending on how you define BEST. Some of these make for the best entertainment value of anything on TV that’s NOT created by Seth MacFarlane, South Park or the Jon Stewart show.

* The Real Housewives of ____ (does it matter which city they air this train wreck?)
* Keeping Up With the Kardashians (but ONLY because Kim broke up with Miles Austin.)
* 16 & Pregnant – This show is just plain wrong on SO many levels.
* A shot of love with tila tequila (1 & 2) – I’m all for personal branding when it comes to career and professional development. Just NOT HER!!!
* Kendra (because Hank Baskett was an Eagle.)
* Jersey Shore (can also be a “BEST.” I shake my head sadly when I think of Snooki and repeat to myself…”Only in America.”)
* Rock of Love (But I loved Brett in the Celebrity Apprentice.)
* Queer Eye for the Straight Guy – not all straight guys need 5 gay men to turn themselves into a catch.
* The real world – really…REALLY…it’s the “REAL” world???
* Steven Seagal Lawman – he is just disgusting.
* Toddlers and Tiaras – but hey, it’s real in Texas.
* Paris Hilton’s my New BFF – she may just be the anti-Christ in not so subtle disguise.
* Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica (but only because I wanted Jessica and Tony Romo to work out.)
* My big fat obnoxious boss (reality TV’s supposed to be an ESCAPE from reality, not a reminder that you left work and are sitting at home thinking about your…”Big fat obnoxious boss.”
* Gene Simmons family jewels – I’m still upset they issued Kiss Alive II.
* Flavor of Love (sorry, it’s self-explanatory)
* Bridezillas – and yet it can be instructive for any man getting ready to pop the BIG question.
* The Anna Nichol show (there should have been an intervention. In all seriousness…how sad her life was.)
* America’s next top model – I watch with my wife and daughter, and scream at the TV that I want to tie each of the contestants down and force feed them a Big Mac.
* The biggest loser (they should gain the weight back then join comedian Ralphy May on tour.
* The Bachelor and Bachelorette: Hearing all the shenanigans that went on behind the scenes made me question the truthfulness of ALL my beloved reality TV shows.
* Survivor: forget all those “exotic” far away places, they should have been dropped into the sets of Mad Max, Escape from New York, or downtown Detroit.

Well, what do you think?

The Socially Unconscious Company Portfolio

Has the American enterprises sold its soul in pursuit of the almighty dollar?

Since after World War II, American businesses have been driven by a relentless need to maximize profit. In the process, they fueled generations of ammoral business leaders that have been hell-bent on market place success, while satisfying their greed. Meanwhile, over decades of callous disregard for their employees the American worker has become a dispensible asset. The general public has suffered mightily through repeated financial schemes, dangerous products, and constant downsizing and off-shoring that has produced the 21st century global contract workplace of today with rampant unemployment.

Following is a random sampling of these ammoral, unethical companies that have pursued profit at the expense of our society’s well-being. Granted not all are American owned, but what they share is a willingness and adept ability to harm our society. Remember, we are only talking about America here, not the damage inflicted by busines & industry on the rest of the world.

Would you invest in these companies? Do you invest in these companies? Would you consider a socially responsible stock portfolio if it meant smaller rates of return on your investments?

British Petroleum
Altria Group (owner of Phillip Morris)
Global Crossing
Beretta/Armalite/Smith & Wesson (really, ANY gun manufacturer)
Eli Lilly
Goldman Sachs
Phusion Projects (maker of Four Loko)

What do you think? Who should’ve been on this list?

There’s plenty of blame to go around for the mess in our society caused by business and industry.

The Golden Rule of Job Search Networking Success

In networking, it’s not about who you know…but who knows you.

Think about it…if you know 10 people in your inner circle and each of those people know 50 people, then your network is actually 500 strong. Now, if you tell the 10 people exactly what type of job or employment opportunity you are seeking, then they are well prepared to mention you in any conversations that they have in their respective networks. Thus at any given point in time there are actually 500 potential conversations that may invariably lead to someone referring you for possible employment.

In order to maximize the likelihood that someone in your network can effectively “sell” you, it is your responsibility to convey to them the type of industries you are pursuing, the firms/organizations in each industry you are interested in, AND the type of informal culture that you would like to work in. By educating the people in your network to the type of employment you are seeking, they are in a better position to sell you to their contacts.

You should have a job search pipeline spreadsheet that you use to keep track of all your contacts. For everyone you meet, capture their contact information, who referred you to them, the status of your follow up with them, key deliverables or actions required, and any necessary follow up’s.

If you are looking to re-enter the workforce, change industries or jobs, then it is critical that you conduct informational interviews, which really aren’t interviews at all. You are researching people who do what you want to do or are in positions that you might report to them, and ask them to meet with you for 15-30 minutes.

The goal of an informational interview is to gather as much information as you can on the nature of the industry, key trends and developments, how they broke into the industry, what they love most/least about their jobs, what are the key industry events to attend, publications to read, conferences/trade shows, panel discussions you should try and attend, and who are the rising stars in their organization that might be good for you to talk to. Ask them what if any advanced degrees, training, accreditations, or skills are required in the job you are looking to break into.

Social media is an additional tool to leverage but not in lieu of in-person networking. In LinkedIn you can join up to 50 groups. Do it! Start discussions, raise questions, provide answers where appropriate so you can build your own personal brand as an acknowledged subject matter expert.

Instead of trying to be everywhere, use the laser rifle approach to networking ,not the shotgun approach. Develop a one page strategic networking plan, in which you define all of the attributes/characteristics of the person that you would be reporting to in the 3-4 industries and 6-8 firms you are researching, and then identify all the events, conferences, trade shows where you would find those people. THOSE are the events you want/need to be attending. Join as Many Meet Up groups of professionals in the 3-4 industries you are pursuing as you can manage.

As far as how to work an event, remember people like to hear THEMSELVES speak. After 20 years of marriage I FINALLY learned that from my wife. Ask them “Why are you here tonight” or “What are you trying to get out of tonight?” Use the 5-2-1 rule…it’s something I heard once and is a great networking guideline. You must be able to say something VERY interesting about yourself in the first 5 seconds that gets them to say: “Wow, what does that mean?” so you can send a few minutes explaining. The reaction to your explanation should be: “That’s great. We should set up an hour to meet and discuss this further. Thus…”5-2-1!” Spend no more than 10 minutes talking to each person. The goal of each conversation is to schedule as many follow up discussions as you can with people that match your strategic networking profile.

Happy Networking!

Overcoming the Depression of Job Loss

Losing a job is one of the most traumatic events that an individual can go through, and can be as devastating as dealing with the loss of a loved one. You have to deal with it by giving it its proper due and that entails going through a mourning process.

Now more than ever we as a society are faced with some very serious challenges. 1 in 4 American workers can be classified as contract, independent, or consulting professionals who are not joined to an employer on a full-time basis thus don’t have an anchor to feel a part of something. The average American changes jobs 8-9 times in their careers, so we constantly have to reinvent ourselves.

Some constructive strategies to deal with the Depression that can arise from job loss are provided below.

* Be honest with yourself. Admit that your Depression exists and address it head on.

* Remind yourself constantly that your self-worth is not tied to a job.

* Surround yourself with only positive, nurturing people in your immediate network. You must cut out all of the negative influences from your life (that includes family and friends) that are sources of negativity to you during this period in your life. Explain that you simply cannot bear to have any negativity around you as you cope with this traumatic time in your life.

* Stay active! Join a YMCA, gym, health club, or just go for a 30 minute walk every day. Remaining active will help you to prevent weight gain, which leads to the next recommendation…

* Avoid overeating! Understand that we often eat as a source of comfort with leads to weight gain and thus…further depression. This vicious cycle is especially common during the holidays.

* Set daily, weekly, and monthly tangible goals for yourself as pertains to your job search.

* Understand that all people create “head trash” for themselves. That means that @ 65% of all the things we say to and about ourselves is NEGATIVE. Fight that tendency and keep reminding yourself how special you are.

* Seek counseling. If the depression becomes severe enough to be debilitating then you absolutely must seek professional help.

* Begin networking to build a network of leads for job opportunities. Go to Linked In and MeetUp, identify the groups in your area that cater to professionals in the 3-4 industries that you are interested in seeking employment in then send requests to the group organizers to join those groups. Find the key trade and professional Associations in those industries and go to any meetings, events, and/or conferences to decide if it is worthwhile for you to join that organization.

* Go back to school: Take courses that will help you develop additional skills, credentials and competencies. Seek any and all appropriate professional development opportunities to make yourself more marketable.

* Consider doing seasonal/holiday volunteer work. It will sharpen your skills, help you to expand your social and professional networks, make you feel good about yourself, and preoccupy your mind from hooking into the “head trash” we ALL encounter.

* GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! We all can be held captives to our own forced imprisonment when we choose to avoid social contact/interaction. When you are struggling with feelings of Depression, it is the IDEAL time to lean on the people in your network that you value most for nurturing and support.