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They Laughed When I Got Up to Dance

When I’m meeting someone for the first time and I have to describe myself, I say I’m a cross between Spanky and John Belushi.  Or, I’ll say it’s not easy being follicly, vertically, and circumferentially challenged.  So, when I head out to the dance floor I always get a few stares once I hit my groove and bust a move.  Then, I’m more like Re-Run from the 1970’s sitcom ‘What’s Happenin’.
re-run dancing
This takes me to my point:
Before you ever open your mouth (and start dancing) people will form opinions about you.  It’s inevitable.  We make snap judgments about others.
So, it’s critical that you realize how your communication (your actions and behavior) set the tone for how people form that ever important first impression of you.  Specifically, we communicate the following three ways:
1. Verbally;
2. The written word; and
3. Non-verbal / body language
Following are some simple yet often overlooked strategies you can begin implementing, to be seen as a professional “rock star” to make a positive first impression and build a strong brand right from the get go.  While you may consider these strategies for personal etiquette (and I’d agree) these are also effective for building trust in people you wish to work with/for.
1. Honor Your Commitments: The other day, I invited an acquaintance to speak at an upcoming panel I am hosting for my MeetUp.  I needed a prompt response and they committed to give a reply by yesterday.  I did not hear back so, I had to call and leave a message.  NOT GOOD.
2. Say “Thank You:” Last week, I made an email introduction between two leaders of separate and competing business networking groups I have been involved with.  I thought they might benefit from doing a cross-group networking event.  One of them responded that he was not interested, as he felt it was a conflict of interest.  When I explained I understood but was also introducing them on a more direct personal level, there was no response.  REALLY NOT GOOD.
It’s a really great practice to get into.  Send a handwritten Thank You note to people for doing things for you.  It’s a lost art.  No one sends notes so this will really distinguish you.
3. Avoid the “Hi, How Am I”: When you first meet someone at an event, does it bother you when that person spends the entire time speaking about themselves?  It’s rude, self-centered and a MAJOR turn off.   You want to be able to tell them just enough about yourself but also ask questions.  As my wife tells me all the time, people LOVE talking about themselves.  Be sure to ask pointed questions that show you’ve done research about them in advance and show you’re listening.  They’ll come away with a very positive first impression if you ask questions about them and show a genuine interest in their challenges and needs.
4. Speak Thine Thespian Self: Nothing is worse than coming across as uneducated.  Don’t speak in slang.  Use proper grammar, avoid slurs, and try not to speak negatively about others.
5. Dress The Part: Understand your audience and dress UP or DOWN based on the situation.  Wearing a suit (dressing ultra conservatively) may work for a group of attorneys or accountants, but not for artists and designers.  Sure there’s a saying: “To thine own self be true” but it’s even more important to set people at ease.  It’s the fashion equivalent of applying a “mirroring” technique.  Let your professionalism and subject matter expertise set you apart and convey your Unique Value Proposition.
Speaking of setting yourself apart…

purple cow

To learn how to set yourself apart from the pack (Herd) see Seth Godin’s PURPLE COW.
6. Look At Me!:  One of the rudest things you can do is look away from others while you’re speaking to them.  Maintain eye contact at all times.  This will show you care about them and what they have to say.
So just a quick checklist.   What do you think?
Here’s to your continued success in 2015.
– Ethan

Why Recruiters Are Hated So Much

First, allow me to begin by saying I began my career as a recruiter working for a national staffing agency based in Washington, DC.
Further, this is not meant to demean recruiters.  Rather, I’d like to challenge the industry to shift their focus (and approach their jobs) differently by considering the needs of the job seeker when they match candidates to the clients they are recruiting on behalf of.
Now that I have spent six years as a career coach and executive placement professional helping 12,000 job seekers find employment, I would like to share my observations and personal experiences on why recruiters are hated and fast becoming an obsolete service.
It begins with the fundamental role that recruiters serve…they build bridges between two parties with opposite and often conflicting needs and interests.
wooden peg game
Recruiters are engaged by and compensated by organizations that pay them to find candidates.  A recruiter thus has a vested interest in finding the right candidate(s) to their client for the right position.  They take a wack-the-peg -in-the-hole approach.  Remember that game we played as kids?  Wooden peg board, different shaped holes you had a hammer and tried to hammer each shaped peg into the matching shaped hole.   When you try to force the wrong peg into the wrong hole, you scrape your fingers, the peg gets stuck, you break the hammer, and end up throwing the board away in frustration.
They do not make much if any attempt to understand and work towards the career aspirations, goals, wants and needs of the candidate.  If they can find three qualified candidates to send to their client, that is fine.  If they can find SEVEN qualified candidates, then the more the merrier.
The end game is for recruiters to look as good as possible to their clients.  After all, it’s the client that pays the recruiter…not the candidate.
Nowadays, recruiters make almost NO effort to understand the needs of candidates, nor do they care at all if the candidate’s work preferences, values, and needs are fulfilled by the organization they send the candidate to.  Then there is the small matter of recruiters hardly ever getting back to the candidate, to let them know what the status of their candidacy is once the client decides they are NOT interested in the candidate.
I have received hundreds of emails from recruiters informing me of a position that does not match my career goals, needs, or where I am at this point in my career. They always request that I forward their job posting to any people I might know that would be ideal for the position.  So, in a very real sense recruiters are abrogating their job by asking job seekers to do their work for them.
Further, many recruiting functions are being outsourced to foreign workers. How insulting is it for a long-term unemployment job seekers to receive a call from someone who works overseas and barely speaks English as a second language on behalf of a client?  With the Internet and social media clients can accomplish much of the same candidate vetting and hiring processes that used to be handled by recruiters.
If you are a recruiter I strongly suggest you go back to the drawing board and understand that the candidate – that other side of the matching equation —truly matters and although they do not pay for your services, in the long run will determine how happy the client is that you send these candidates to.

Your 2015 Business Start Up Bucket List

What do you want to achieve in 2015?
What projects have you been thinking it would be great to finally take on next year?
What is that one big project you would want to tackle?  That one big client you have been meaning to try to land to prove you can compete with the big boys?
Have you been thinking how great it would be to FINALLY quit your day job and pursue that business idea you have been thinking about for ages?  Why not plan on making 2015 the year you move out of your home office and rent office space.
Perhaps you have been waffling on whether to invest in a web design firm to re-do your company website.  Have you been thinking how nice it would be to bring a partner or two into the business?  What about sub-contracting all of your administrative work?  Pursuing new product s?  Branching out by offering new services, or perhaps expanding your business into new markets?
Have you been thinking how great it would be if you could finally exhibit your company with a booth at your industry’s annual trade show?
Have you been thinking how cool it would be to teach a class at your local college, start a blog, serve on an industry panel, give a talk, start a MeetUp?
bucket list
Well…what is holding you back?   The answer isn’t time.  We ALL have time constraints.  That’s a cop out.
In my work as a business consultant and executive coach, I have heard every conceivable excuse.   That is exactly what the reasons are that people give for not pursuing their business bucket list.
The underlying factor preventing people from pursuing their dreams can be summed up in a SINGLE word. It’s called… FEAR!
Fear takes many forms.  There’s fear of the unknown, since we are all creatures of habit.  In these days of little/no job security a primal fear many potential entrepreneurs posses that I work on is a fear of falling without a safety net…aka.  a FEAR OF (BUSINESS START UP) FAILURE.
Well…perhaps you might fail.  But ask yourself this: “What if I didn’t fail?”
What if you swung for the fences, and hit the ball out of the park?
you can't hit a home run
So, this Thanksgiving be sure to be thankful for all you have.  Then file away that secret you won’t tell anyone else that you are going to pursue your bucket list of things you’ve always wanted to do, to start a business in 2015.
Make a list of all those long shot, pipe dream goals you haves.
Write down what you think it is going to take, to accomplish each bucket list item.  Be sure to set a start and end date for each project, then prioritize your business start up bucket list by percent probability of completion and the potential positive impact they will have on your (and your family’s) life.  Don’t forget to include the resources each will take to complete, including the people you will need to enlist to get those wish list items from dream to reality.  Once you finalize your 2015 project list, get into that runner’s crouch and prepare (using strategic planning) to sprint out of the blocks in 2015 on the sprint to complete your bucket list.
Here’s to your business start up success in 2015.
Follow me on Twitter.
Ethan L. Chazin, MBA
President & Founder
The Chazin Group, LLC
Tel: (201) 683-3399

Follow Your Passions to a Career in Franchising

Follow  Your Passions For Business Success…Pursue Franchising.
When was the last time you were truly HAPPY?
Not “Kid on a swing!” happy, but…
The truth is you can absolutely follow your passions to a dream career..with FRANCHISING!
Why should you pursue your passion for an ideal career esp. franchising?
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.   If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the hear, you’ll know it when you find it.”
– Steve Jobs
Start by revisiting your entire career. go back and think of all the things you’ve ever done.  Not just paid work but unpaid internships, volunteer work, donating you time to community events, tutoring…think back on everything. what did you LOVE to do? What did you absolutely hate.
The beauty of this RESUME FOREVER career assessment is, you will start to see patterns emerge of the type of people you love working with, the type of work environments you thrive in and the types of cultures within organizations that match your morals, values and ethics.
Think of the things you are passionate about. Now, all the things you are extremely proficient in.  Where those two worlds overlap, you have found the intersection of your short list of potential careers that fulfill you.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born…and the day you find out why.”
– Mark Twain
And that is why franchising holds such appeal for people considering a career transition or looking for a great alternate career to pursue.
The benefits are many but there are a few key reasons why you might consider franchising.
Rather than struggle in entrepreneurship trying to find and then create an entirely new business model from scratch, franchises are proven business models that have been vetted in the marketplace. Their products and services have a customer base.
Franchisers have already done the heavy lifting for you!
They have built the business models, established sales programs and marketing, have available base of operations, provide you with matching advertising funds, etc…
Everything you need to launch your new business has already been developed FOR YOU when you pursue a career in franchising.
What exactly IS a franchise, you ask?
A franchise is a legal agreement that allows one business to be operated using the name and business procedures of another.
There are four primary types of franchise operation.
1. Trade Name Franchising:
Provides the franchisee with the right to use the franchise trade name and trademark.
2. Product Distribution Franchising:

Provides a franchisee with specific brand name products that are resold by the franchisee in a specific agreed to market (Ex. Coca-Cola, Goodyear Tires, John Deere).
3. Conversion Franchising:
Provides franchisees with a preexisting “umbrella” organization through which independent businesses can combine their resources (ex. Century 21)
4. Business Format Franchising:
The right to use the company’s trade name, products, business and marketing plans, and receive national advertising support (ex. McDonald’s.)
During the franchiser review process,you will receive TWO (2) documents from the franchiser that you MUST pay particular attention to:
1. Uniform Franchise Offering Circular: Standard franchise document outlining a business’s operations, procedures, costs and requirements; and
2. Standard franchise Agreement.
Find your ideal franchise to work for/with.
Narrow your search to 3-4 industries/sectors and find 6-8 franchisers in each. WHY 18-32 organizations all-told?
Research shows ideal job searchers and business searches can be maintained when you limit your search to no more than 18-32 organizations to pursue.
Ample resources exist, to help you in your search for the IDEAL franchiser for you.
There are many online resources available to help you in your search. Some of the more comprehensive (BEST) places to start searching:
1. Franchise Business Review: an annual list of best franchisers to work with, by industry –
2. –
Speak to franchisees.
The absolute best advice you can receive on how to successfully pursue a franchise business is to talk to franchisees who have gone into partnership/signed agreements and are working with the short list of franchisers you are thinking of working with. that is first-hand insight into the franchiser’s behavior, business operations, ethics, and how they treat franchisees.
I suggest taking it a step further…once you narrow down your list to 2-3 final candidates, why not work for one or 2 of them to see first-hand what it is like to be involved in their franchise organization.
Want to learn more?  I will be presenting: “Follow your passions to a career in franchising” this Saturday, November 15th at 1PM at the NY/NJ Franchising Expo at the Meadowlands, NJ Expo Center.  Attend for FREE as my GUEST:
Ethan L. Chazin, MBA
President & Founder
The Chazin Group, LLC
Tel: (201) 683-3399

What I Do And Why I Do It Business Coaching

After SIX years running my own business coaching and management consulting firm, even some people that know me really well say they are not entirely sure exactly WHAT I DO.
Given I am a lifelong marketer with branding and communications at my core, this is NOT a good thing.  So, today’s blog attempts to answer any questions folks may have about what I do and why I do what I do.
What I DO, and WHY I Do It.
It is my singular goal and life’s remaining ONE TRUE passion to help as many people as I can to find THEIR passion and strengths and combine the two into a successful career.
As for WHY I do this…that’s easy.  After spending 23 years in Corporate America helping organizations achieve record profits, I found a greater calling.  I had grown tired of toiling away in dysfunctional cultures reporting to people I didn’t respect and being forced to answer to Management teams that I did not trust.
So I chose the career path of going out on my own in 2009.
While every day is a challenge and there are certainly significant highs and lows running your own business, I have never regretted the decision.  Has it paid off?
Well, to date I have helped over 12,000 people and coached over 750 organizations.
For some people that means assisting them through career coaching to find their dream job, re-enter the workforce, or match their values, ethics and morals to organizations whose culture they would thrive in.
For Senior level executives and professionals this involves working one on one to carve out a career plan to achieve their goals.
For people looking to go out on their own I provide entrepreneur and start-up coaching to help people plan, launch and grow wildly successful businesses.
For existing business owners, heads of business units and/or leaders of non-profits my work can involve helping them to unleash their people’s collective full untapped potential.
I also provide business consulting, to help organizations improve their sales, become more disciplined and focused and go from “GOOD TO GREAT.”
I accomplish this in a number of ways, from giving motivational talks, to teaching at many colleges and Universities, to one on one and group-based career coaching and business consulting.
It may seem a bit long winded but at the end of the day I enable people from all walks of life to find their passions and strengths, figure out where those two worlds overlap, and leverage that knowledge to help them achieve all of their short and long term career and business goals.
So, if you or someone you know can benefit from any of this, send them my way.

Organizational Behavior

What the study of organizational behavior tells us about ourselves.
Ever since I began teaching organizational behavior to students at NYU Polytechnic, I have fallen in love with this enlightening field of study.
It combines all of my favorite fields of study, including: effective communications, teamwork, psychology, business ethics (not an oxymoron), cultural diversity, sociology, job satisfaction (also NOT an oxymoron), leadership, social psychology, employee engagement and conflict resolution.  OB can teach us all of these things while also providing us with a road map for achieving genuine transformational change and creating world-class cultures.  Almost ANY discipline that focuses on how people engage in organizational settings can be studied through the lens of OB.
So, what is Organizational Behavior (OB) you ask?
Organizational behavior is defined as: “actions and attitudes of individuals and groups toward one another and toward the organization as a whole, and its effect on the organization functioning as a whole.”  (
Here’s another great definition of organizational behavior: “investigates the impact individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organization’s effectiveness.” (Organizational Behavior. Stephen P. Robbins, Timothy A. Judge)
I use the class to engage students in frank and sometimes intentionally confrontational discussions about those organizations that exhibit truly transformational cultures for lasting success, as well as organizations that struggle to function in today’s fast-paced, constantly evolving global business climate.
For example, check out this list of the best companies to work at for women and minorities, or this list of Top 50 companies for diversity.
Some examples:

• Zappos #1 CORE VALUE: “Deliver WOW Through Service.”
• Disney’s fundamental business imperative: “Create Happiness.”

Since the semester started, we have explored the behaviors of such institutions as Chik-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, BP, and the New York Police Department.  We use OB to discuss how people conform their ethics, values, morals and behaviors to the cultures of the places they work at.  I encourage my students to use OB to dive into their own past work experiences, and explore their own personalities as a means of assessing where they would be most engaged and fulfilled working at. I have shared with them the challenges faced by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Catholic Church, Center for Disease Control, and ISIS.
OB teaches us how to think and act independently, to avoid the trap of failing victim to groupthink (blindly following the herd.)
As a career coach and business consultant, I strongly advise that in today’s global contract workplace EVERY person that wants to achieve career and business success brush up on this critically important and enlightening field as a means of understanding how to transform organizations.  Those organizations and individuals that are not CONSTANTLY striving to learn and adapt will go the way of Circuit City, Borders, Bear Stearns, etc.  If you have not had a chance to explore this fascinating and enlightening field of study I suggest you do so.   It is the single most IMPORTANT topic that I have come across over 20 years spent in Corporate America and 6+ years in management consulting.
A great starting point for reading up on Organizational Behavior
OB text cover
Here’s to your organization’s continued success.