All posts by admin

Time to Rethink Celebrating Labor Day?

Now more than ever seems a perfect time to question the relevance of Labor Day in America.
For most americans, Labor Day means little more than a calendar-imposed deadline signifying the end of summer and back to school. There is the mandatory end-of-summer barbecue of course, and the deluge of back to school sales.
But truly, what does Labor Day mean in these trying economic times with 9.4% of the population OFFICIALLY out of work.
The Unions that fueled the growth and expansion of our economy after WWII and the Industrial Revolution have lost much of their relevancy. This happened over decades, as our economy transitioned to a post-Industrial, technology and service-based workplace and we outsourced, off-shored, and sold off our ability to do most business functions.
Strong unions rose in many industries, from automobile manufacturing to retail, airlines, teaching, etc. This led to higher wages and compensation levels that forced american enterprise to fall behind other nations in their ability to compete in the 21st century global economy.
The two-way contract based on loyalty and trust between employees and employers, built on the promise of a hard days’ work for honest pay no longer exists. In today’s contract economy, workers have few rights. An economy drowning in an unofficial national unemployment rate close to 15% screams for a halt in the farce of “celebrating” this outdated holiday.
So, what does Labor Day truly mean? Most workers that have been downsized over the past two years have been forced to go at it alone. Many have been forced to attempt to start their own business. An entirely new industry called “accidental entreprenuers” has popped up featuring people that have gone into business for themselves.
College students that graduated at the start of this summer have witnessed companies lay off their parents and grandparents. Today’s graduates, with no real job prospects of their own to pursue, are themselves becoming entrepreneurs. They are keenly aware that there is no such thing as employer loyalty.
Small businesses, the key force that has fueled new jobs creation during past post-recession periods are suffering mightily. The Obama Administration has done precious little to help small business owners survive these trying economic times.
So, let’s not go through the bogus act of celebrating Labor Day another year. Just pass me the BBQ and give me another ice cold beer.

How Much Ill Will Have You Created?

How often do you say you are going to deliver something to someone, only to end up getting it to them late or not delivering what you promised at all?
When was the last time you showed up late to a meeting, or missed one altogether?
Do people wanting to speak with you have to leave you numerous voicemails and email messages, which you never respond to?
Have you ever joined a conference call in-progress or missed it completely?
When you are working on a project in a team do you often hold up the others by missing key deadlines?
Be honest. Did you find answer these questions with an emphatic YES?
If so, you can bet that you have burned bridges with your social and professional contacts, by creating A LOT of ill will. You are not the only one with tremendous time constraints these days. We all struggle to balance home and work life commitments. Many people are juggling not only their own jobs, but the jobs they inherited when their company laid off their peers and pushed the work onto them.
So everyone is running at 150mph. It’s time you thought about scaling back your commitments and focus on a more professional commitment to your key work and social relationships. Re-establish your high standards of professionalism, by exhibiting more courtesy and respect in your dealings with others.

Perhaps you have joined too many organizations. Start by scaling back your networking efforts.
Then, rethink all of the cross-functional Teams you joined at work. Maybe it is time to scale back some of the extra-curricular activities you committed to in your community?
The last thing you want is the reputation for being a flake, known for making false promises and not being trustworthy in your dealings with others. If that is the perception others have of you, it doesn’t matter whether it is just or unjust.
You need to begin working VERY hard to re-establish your personal brand. Build up your reputation for being someone that others can count on. Treat others with the highest level of respect that you would hope to receive. It’s an investment worth making.

Your Company Dirty Laundry Has Never Been MORE Public.

When they say the Internet is the great equalizer, they aren’t kidding. It has never been easier for potential employees to uncover your company’s background. This means the good…as well as the bad.

Employees have an entire arsenal of tools. One way they can find out what it is like to work for your organization is job vent websites, where your employees (ex-employees and current employees) can write about their experiences working there. Some websites include:
At a recent presentation that I gave in New York City to a group of entrepreneurs on how to start up a business in trying economic times, I struck up a conversation with a Business Analyst that worked for a consulting firm based outside Chicago, IL.
We got to talking about our beliefs in consulting. She suggested I have a dialog with the head of their recruiting team, in order to explore the prospect of contract work with them.

I scheduled a time to speak with that person, but first did some investigation…and here is what I found out:

· Their President was disbarred from practicing law in NY for soliciting a 16-year old prostitute;
· They had a class action lawsuit filed against them by 113 female employees claiming sexual harassment;
· They had a lawsuit filed against them by 400+ ex-clients they had bilked them out of money on bogus consulting services.

Armed with this information and other research, my one and only conversation with the head recruiter was very enlightening, to say the least.
If your company is interested in recruiting top-notch talent, it can no longer hope to hide behind its private company status. Lawsuits, liens, judgments, bankruptcies…none of this type of information can be swept under te rug and hidden from plain sight.

Gone are the days when proactive job seekers, potential partners, vendors, suppliers, etc. would have to go to a firm like Dun & Bradstreet to obtain this type of information on your company.

The information is publicly accessible and can be obtained in minutes with a quick search on Google. So you better be prepared to answer tough questions from job seekers looking to understand what ethics your company espouses, what it is REALLY like to work there and what sort o culture you have created.
What do you think?

Companies Ranked “Best to Work for” Not So Hot

You see the lists all the time in newspapers, trade publications, online…the supposed “Best Companies to Work for”.

Given the economy’s continued woes, I decided to put on my job seeker hat and see what it would be like to try to contact these supposed best of breed companies, as a potential employee.

Nothing speaks to greatness like having someone express a tremendous interest in joining your company…or so I thought. I wanted to see what it would take to establish a dialog with them. The results would make your head spin.

I used as my list the 2009 Society of Human Resource Management “Best Companies to Work for in New York State” in the Small/Medium Category (15-249 Employees.) Since most jobs are created by companies categorized as small companies and you would obviously assume that a “Best Company to Work for” would be worth targeting, these are the companies I decided to pursue.

Of the list of 20 companies in NY State, I excluded those that were outside of the NY Metro area (my target area.) That left me with nine companies. I then researched these company’s core businesses, including their products and services, competitors, management, recent financial performance, competitors, etc.

Then I developed a VERY targeted cover letter to each of them, in which I addressed their specific business challenges. I offered my twenty plus years of strategic planning, marketing management, and new business development experience in B2B business environments. I also spoke of my expertise in providing solutions as a consultant to small and mid-sized businesses.

The results were disappointing TO SAY THE LEAST! Not ONE of those nine companies responded to my initial inquiry seeking an audience with that member of the management team. Nor did they respond to any of my subsequent voicemails and email follow-ups.

These are the Best Companies to Work For”? Welcome to today’s lack of professional courtesy workplace, as evidenced by the best of the best.

No wonder so many disgruntled professionals are leaving Corporate America to start their own business ventures or are checking out of the workforce completely.

Brand New YOU: Self-Promotion for Career Success

You need to be able to tell your story in ways that differentiate yourself as a job-seeker or businessperson. This means defining what makes you UNIQUE.

In marketing parlance, your unique offering is referred to as your Unique Selling Proposition. Start by identifying your 4-5 major career SUCCESS STORIES. These are your marketing CASE STUDIES. These tell how you have delivered exceptional service and achieved outstanding results.

Next, build a rolodex of client / boss references – these are your testimonials. Have them handy, and keep up contact with these folks. Identify your personal FEATURES and BENEFITS. When you develop your own personal brand, it requires you to think about yourself as a product. and your personal PRODUCT features and benefits consist of such things as: the degrees you obtained, the academic institutions you attended (stay active through their alumni organizations), your certifications, continuing professional development, software skills, professional accreditations, industry Association memberships, volunteer work, the charitable organizations you are affiliated – any and everything that define and contribute to your personal BRAND.

You MUST find out what are your peers, bosses, and clients identify you with – whatdo they think of when they think of you as a brand. It’s not enough for you to have a brand statement – you need to compare and validate your desired branding with the marketplace’s perception of YOU.
An organization’s brand is its one key differentiator and gives it competitive advantage by being associated as certain things by its customers. You MUST do everything in your power to defend your brand name aggressively. If any of your co-workers or employees in your organization are speaking negatively about you or taking credit for your work, confront them immediately.
Publish – publish – publish! Submit articles to the key publications that cover the industry or industries you work in or sell to. Maintain your very own blog on subjects that apply to your industry or business. Author or contribute to any white papers you can, that cover scholarly topics or key business trends. Publish a book – go the route of self-publishing, if you have to.
Participate on industry panel discussions.
Land a speaking slot at your industry Association’s annual national, regional, and/or local conferences. Offer to speak for free, if you have to. This will help you to become a subject matter expert on the topics that matter most to your career and professional development.
Actively promote yourself whenever and wherever you can in your organization – up and across the organization. Provide your elevator pitch in writing to all of the people in your social and professional networks sothey can sell you when they are in appropriate networking situations.

Industries Experiencing Rapid Growth Means Jobs

Despite the continued dire state of the economy, not all industries are struggling. In fact, some industries are experiencing significant growth and with it, an upsurge in jobs creation.

* Turnaround Management & Restructuring Firms: companies in distress are turning to consultancies that possess the talent and expertise needed to help them with bankrutcy protection, restructure their business, sell off distressed businesses, renegotiate bank loans, navigate through M&A activity, and other areas of expertise.
* Construction: after decades of neglect, major Metropolitan areas are beginning to plan for and implement major upgrades to their infrastructure. Projects include highway expansion, bridge resurfacing, waterworks projects, and more. Architecture and engineering firms are the organizations to benefit and are experiencing a huge spike in hiring.

* HR Consulting Firms: as companies continuously outsource their non-core competencies, more and more organizations are turning to consultancies to manage their HR functions.

* Mortgage Foreclosure & Bankruptcy Law Firms: a necessary sign of the times. Now as always, go to where the jobs are. Don’t debate the ethics. Look for job opportunities.

* Green Technologies: Enough said. Green collar jobs are popping up everywhere, from waste management to alternative energy, to recycling.

* Healthcare: the aging Baby Boomer generation places tremendous strain on our entire healthcare industry and managed care is the next great area for high job growth. There is high demand for home healthcare service providers, nurses and nursing aides, physician’s assistants, and other managed healthcare service providers.

* Risk Management: the need for uninterrupted business continuity drives risk management industries and growth sectors.

* Business Continuity: Because of the 24x7x365 business enterprise, in a post-9/11 world there can be no network outages. Data centers, stock exchanges, hospital ICUs all need to operate without interruption. Data MUST flow uninterrupted across the global network.

* Security: We continue to be a world at war and with that, challenges persist to ensure global security. Consider support services like biometrics, night-vision and stealth technology, private security firms, defense contractors, military analysts, and other key stakeholders of the global military industrial complex.

* Network and Communciations Equipment: With the continued explosion in Web users, VOIP, and unified communications, it truly is all about bandwidth, data, video, and wireless. Look into systems integrators who aggregate back-end systems, middleware, and front-end applications into a single retrofitted architecture. Unified communications firms offer business-class phone, cable TV, Internet service and wirelesss…what’s referred to as a quad-play. This means growth in cable and telecomm. Hardware had its time in the sun, and so did software. Now, it’s all about the network.