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Category: Career Management (Page 2 of 2)

Team Pulling Up An Arrow

Team Effectiveness…Yeah Sure, We’ve Heard it all!

You have heard it and most likely you have experienced it too. Team building, team effectiveness training, and catchy slogans like “TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More” and “There is no I in team.” But I have seen so many challenging situations, not to say horror stories, in which I think the acronym TEAM could instead mean, “Tearing Everyone Apart Mostly!” You’ve also probably heard about the four stages of team: forming, storming, norming, and performing. However, for many teams the reality is more like storming, somewhat norming, and storming again! I think this is nicely expressed with Muse’s lyrics from their song Starlight, “High hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations.”

Teamwork Placing Final Piece In Puzzle

Now don’t get me wrong, there are certainly factors that lead to more effective team work and I recognize and value them. Having clear objectives, strong commitment, and building trust are critical, but some factors are easier to deal with than others. The establishment of business objectives is typically the easiest (not necessary the simplest) and most natural for leaders. While confronting the way team members handle different point of views, debate and conflict is often seen as more delicate. However, as much as it may be difficult, tackling these issues is essential in creating an effective team.

An interesting literature review done by industrial psychology Ph.D. students, including Mathieu Forget from SuccessFinder, indicated that cognitive conflicts are positively correlated with organizational performance. In other words, healthy and fact-based debates are beneficial for both the team and organization. The review also indicated that affective conflicts are negatively correlated with organizational performance. In other words, unhealthy team relationships involving negative emotions lead to poor business performance. But here is where it gets interesting: cognitive and affective conflicts are correlated at .57, which means that when there is a healthy debate, the odds are that a negative and emotionally charged discussion will erupt. How teams deal with these discussions and maintain effective working relationships will play a major role in their success.

Team members need to learn how to abandon negative emotions and have debates that leave both the sender and receiver of the message feeling respected, involved, and valued. The more team members trust each other, the stronger the team will be. Trust is built through behaviours such as following through on commitments, acting in the best interests of the team, and believing in each other to be competent and capable in your respective roles, including the team lead.

Working in teams is not going away anytime soon and facilitating slogan driven team effectiveness interventions will not have the impact you are looking for. Conversely, working with your team to learn how to have healthy debates and build trust will make a huge difference in your success. I hope this helps you hone in on your team effectiveness efforts and I’ll leave you with this quote from another Muse song, “Don’t waste your time or time will waste you!”.

Different Business Thinking

The Banality of Management Advice

On April 1 Harvard Business Review (HBR) published a post entitled How to Work for a Narcissistic Boss.  Given both the date and the title I was prepared for a prank.  Like the HBR cartoons I hoped for a little erudite satire on the self-perpetuating vanity of corporate culture.  Nope.  It’s a post offering advice on how to subordinate yourself to someone with a mental illness.  An illness described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5.

Does the post suggest you might want to “Get out!”? Yes it does, but I think most people can reach this conclusion on their own. There are also pros and cons to weigh, principles to remember and two case studies.  The first is about managing your stress so you can take another person’s abuse. The second is about catering to a narcissist’s needs, until you can’t take it anymore.  Again, you’ll need to get out.  Why do you need to get out? Simply stated, “Research shows there are a large number of narcissists who become leaders.”  You are not a leader, you are a subordinate. It’s not your place to rock the boat.  After all, status quo is very important to people with status.  For companies that find their status reflected in the magic mirror of P&L statements, spreadsheets and pie charts, well let’s just say these entities aren’t eager to hear you express concerns over a golden goose, especially a ‘high performer’. 

What’s truly disappointing is that at no point in this post do we learn how to approach Human Resources with concerns that an employee is suffering from a mental disorder.  Yes, a narcissist suffers, along with everyone under their control, bearing the brunt of the consequences.  Many would find the thought that HR can facilitate a helpful and healthful outcome to this situation sadly humorous.

Subordinates, by definition, occupy a lower class, rank or position; submissive to or controlled by authority.   Bullies need power and so do leaders.

Is HBR so enamoured of its leadership focus that it cannot distinguish between the two?  No wonder there is a pervasive employee engagement problem.

Career vs job sphere in cubes to illustrate a great work opportu

Career Management + Career Accountability =Life Time Employment

Some of us are told education is the key for success; others are told to work for a large company, the government or a bank, and the expected result is a job for life. The truth is that in a very volatile marketplace in the 21st century, there is no one ingredient for success. You need to apply a number of strategies and approaches to ensure your marketability. You are the only person that can secure life-time employment.

People today need to deal with greater uncertainty in the marketplace and a good way to do this is to take ownership of your career. It is clear that individuals who consciously invest in their careers stand out from other employees.

Group of young business people sitting around table on office te

To take your career in your own hands, start with implementing these simple strategies:

1. Assessment & Mindset: Through self-assessments and self awareness, know your strengths and areas that need improvement, and determine if those are what are in demand in the marketplace. Make sure your skill-set is up to date. Know what you need for today, and for tomorrow.  Understand the challenges and influences within and around you.

2. Reputation Awareness: Everyone has a reputation, and it is important to manage yours effectively. Understand your own credibility and track record, and how you are perceived by others. Speak to a manager, colleagues and even friends for feedback on their experiences with   you. Do some self-reflection through someone else’s eyes and then determine what qualities and characteristics to keep working on and what should remain the same.

3. Network: Cross network and really get to know the people on your team, within your company and in the marketplace. Taking the time to network is a crucial investment in your career. “Coffee” and “lunch” are important skills to learn and have. Networking while you are in a position is equally as important as when you’re looking for a job.

4. Sharing Goals: Managers can’t read minds, so give them a sense of who you are, what you want and your expectations. Seek out your manager, don’t just wait for your quarterly or annual review. Have ongoing career conversations in formal and informal settings.

5. Understand your Why:  Why do you do what you do?  We know the difference between a person that is truly passionate and aligned with what they are doing and the person that just shows up to work.  If you can, always articulate “why” your value to the organization will be clear.

 

Brain

Listen, Learn, Lead – With your Whole Brain. The Business of Neuroscience

“We can not deny emotions, leading change is leading emotions. Our rational brain helps us to arrive at conclusions but our emotional brain’s conclusions are those that lead to actions.”

The application of Neuroscience in business is called Neuromanagement.

By definition: The art of synchronizing the science of the brain with human behaviours in organizations and everyday life.

Or: What triggers a CEO, executive, mid-level manager or any employee to make the decisions they make each and every day.

The principles of Neuromanagement encourage people to focus attention on the practices that will genuinely make a difference in their work style and explore and then adjust new territories for change and growth.

Neuromanagement is bringing to light the understanding of leadership processes within organizations. It’s important to first understand the reason behind the individual’s decision making process in leadership. From there we can find ways to improve performance, individual development and create effective change management processes. Neuromanagement offers the best hope for effecting real change in a leader and within an organization.

Education is essential, but education is also trumped by our ability to manage relationships within an organization. Skill and knowledge are an asset, but our ability to understand the difference between success and failure resides in how we manage relationships, emotions and truly understand the rationale behind the decision making process.

Business Ideas And Creativity

Three key markers in Neuromanagement include:

Neuroeconomics: In general, we assume people invest money to make more money, but neuroscience is proving that is not necessarily true. Our brain has different motivations, and neuroeconomics is helping to identify the real reason people invest their money.

Neuromarketing: Do you know why you chose one product instead of another? The study of consumer behaviour has been recognized for a long time and we know that 90% of the time this is an unconscious decision. Neuromarketing is targeting that 90%. Our full brain is involved in the buying decision process. Unfortunately, the rational part of our brain has the smallest power in that decision.

NeuroLeadership (David Rock): The most challenging situation in any organization: the leadership process. People don´t leave a company, instead they leave their boss. A truly effective leadership culture should create an engaging and inspiring environment. Neuroleadership brings to light  a new concept that delivers tools on how to lead people within an organization effectively based on their human behaviour.

Neuromanagement is ever evolving and presenting organizations with solutions to increase productivity and effectiveness of individuals and the organization overall.

Neuromanagement findings can help:

  • Create ways to manage stressful situations in our daily work
  • Craft and deliver high impact feedback at any level
  • Help to recognize those that push us to make wrong decisions
  • The impact of a growth mindset
  • To understand the process of change in the brain. Barriers that exist and how to overcome them
  • Bring a different understanding of the leadership process in an organization

Through neuromanagement, we’re able to better understand the brain pathways, increasing our awareness on how we react and why. From there, we’re able to provide individuals with the tools they need to solve difficult situations. In the end a more accurate diagnosis leads to a more effective solution.

New Mindset New Results

Transition – No Laughing Matter?

Remember the executive ‘tribe’ I wrote about in my last blog? I’ve been thinking more about what makes that concept work and what moves it from the equivalent of a support group for a bad break-up, to something special, unique and highly effective. One of the things that I keep coming back to is the importance of humour and having fun.

I know, I know, getting the heave-ho out of an organization that you’ve been with for some time, maybe even a long time, and where you’ve been a person of some significance and stature, is hardly amusing. Similarly, being unemployed and having to look for a job rarely makes anyone’s top five ‘fun things to do’ list, but bear with me a minute.

I’m talking about positive attitude and ‘growth’ mindset and all of those other good things, but I’m also talking about the liberating power of actually laughing. Laughing with other people, laughing at ourselves, laughing at the foibles of human nature and the ridiculous situations we can find ourselves in through a career transition.

Job search is serious business.  Truly it is and no one knows that better than I do.  But the ability to find the humour in a situation that is inherently not funny does a great deal of good!

People Laughing During Business Appointment

So often I have seen executives relax, listen better and really start to learn the key lessons of conducting an outstanding job search. I’ve seen them learn to laugh at themselves and share embarrassing moments – and help others learn, grow and keep it all in perspective by doing that.

Coming back to the ‘tribe’ concept, it is much easier to take suggestions, advice and counsel around the serious business of finding another job, from people that you’ve shared a laugh with. More often than you’d believe, I’ve heard executives say, “the best part of this awful experience was knowing that it would make a great story to bring back and share with all of you”.

I firmly believe that we learn better, more quickly and in a more sustainable way, when we’re enjoying ourselves – even a little. I also firmly believe that we do a better job of connecting, networking, interviewing and ultimately finding that next job when we’re able to keep it in perspective and continue to find the humour in the world around us.

Much bigger brains than mine confirm this. Carlos Davidovich, our exceptional neuro-management expert, says that “Positivism” allows us to take greater advantage of our intelligence, creativity and energy. Not only that, but it releases into our brain the powerful neurotransmitter dopamine, that has been proven to turn on the learning centres in our brain, allowing us to work harder, be faster and work more intelligently.

Now I ask you, who wouldn’t benefit from that during a period of transition and job search?

And the best part? This works even if we’re just ‘pretending’, taking the phrase ‘fake it ’til you make it’ to a whole new level in my opinion!

So let’s keep laughing – especially at ourselves!

I Love My Job

What Eulogies and Careers Have in Common

According to Common last Words of Dying People in the Huffington Post over 56% of dying people talked about their careers and how important they were in their lives.  Yet Careers are easily dismissed as not important especially as people step into retirement or during the later stages of our life.  How many times have we heard “your career won’t be mentioned on your grave stone or Eulogy, nor will the number of hours you spent at the office”.  Why not?   I want my career to be mentioned on my gravestone and in my Eulogy…

‘Here lies Sandra Boyd Career Consultant’

I am proud of the work I have done and how I have supported so many people in their career.  I am proud of the fact that I have only done work I am passionate about and guided my children to find work they enjoy.

We spend such a large portion of our waking hours working and we should at the very least like what we do and the people we work with.  I have spent my career coaching and supporting other people in their careers and I am saddened when people tell me they are “waiting for a package” which in some cases they wait years in silent misery.  When people tell me they hate their job, the people they worked with and the company they work for yet they will not even consider writing a resume to at least explore finding an opportunity more fulfilling. 

We get one life but we can have multiple career or job opportunities so why not actively manage your career.  I don’t believe that every person is meant to jump out of bed each morning excited to go to work but if you feel like you are going to throw up every Sunday night dreading Monday morning it may be time to at least consider looking at the job market.

Passion is not only for work some enjoy their jobs but save their passion for other aspects of life.  My husband is passionate about golf, music and his family, work is not his top priority but he has a job where he respects his colleagues and likes the work he does.  He has been able to find that balance.  I on the other hand, have no hobbies, I can’t play golf and a good time for me is reading a book that directly relates to my work. You don’t have to want your work to be the focus of your Eulogy but you want to ensure you are not stuck in a job you hate with no way out.

Always ensure you are familiar with your options:

  • Have an up to date resume
  • Network with someone outside your company at least once a week
  • Ask for feedback to understand from your peers how they value their work environment
  • Research the job market on a regular basis
  • Understand the market trends inside and outside your industry
  • Know your skills, attributes, strengths and gaps and recent accomplishments so you know how relevant they are to what employers are looking for
  • If you don’t want to leave your current company explore internal opportunities
  • Never have a mind set of “waiting for the package” people will know or feel that you have given up and don’t care – find the positive side of your work
  • Spend at least a few hours a month reviewing your career and ask yourself if you are satisfied or if you need to make changes
  • Seek a professional career coach if you are confused and need to think through your next step – invest in your career

Be willing to step outside your comfort zone so you can at least feel comfortable in the job you are in.

Two Businessmen Sitting Indoors With Coffee Laptop And Folder

Stop Paying Lip Service to the 70:20:10

The 70:20:10 approach to development is fairly well known by HR professionals and many line managers.  It is commonly recognized that about 70% of what adults learn comes from experience (learning by doing), 20% comes from others (working with a good leader or coach and receiving feedback), and 10% comes from formal learning (taking a classroom or e-Learning course, for example).

Though easy to understand, there is a difference between knowing a concept and applying it effectively. Unfortunately, it seems that many organizations are paying lip service to the concept; especially the 70. Development plans created for leaders are too often weak on the 70% and contain vague recommendations. Proportionally, the concept looks more like this in its application 70:20:10!

Learning while working on real business issues or assignments is very powerful. The “prescription”—the development plan—must be specific about the types of situations to which the leader must be exposed. The challenging or stretch assignment is by far the most common way organizations will grow their leaders by experience. But there are a limited amount of leaders who can be involved in stretch assignments. This view of the 70 is too limited.

There are multiple other ways to grow leaders by leveraging the 70, such as:

  • Being a member of a committee responsible for a new product implementation
  • Attending a strategic negotiation meeting with your leader
  • Leading a cross functional initiative such as Six Sigma aiming at improving organizational effectiveness
  • Collaborating with a university on a research project
  • Training peers and other employees on a new sales management and reporting system
  • Leading a charitable initiative in your community, etc.

Many examples of learning-by-doing do not require the leader to leave their current job. The experience can be short or long, in-depth or light, internal or external to the organization. 

Business presentation on corporate meeting.

In order to support the line managers to truly leverage the 70, an in-house customized repertoire of high added value experience can be created. This allows the leadership to “see” the number of ways leaders can learn by experience. Because in fact, the 70:20:10 can’t be managed and directed like the formal learning; you can only support it, facilitate it and help make it happen.

It is often said that the 70:20:10 allows leaders to learn at the speed of business; the amalgamation of the multiple ways to learn and grow makes it more real and applicable to today’s work environment.

What is critical to retain from the model is not the % allocated to each component of the model, but that leaders will maximize their growth and chances to progress in their career if they leverage multiple ways of learning and learn constantly, no matter how it is being categorized!

Jocelyn Bérard is the author of book  “Accelerating Leadership Development.” He can be reached at jberard@optimumtalent.com

Human Resources Interview Recruitment Job Concept

5 Tips to Move your Job Search Strategy From Passive to ACTIVE

What does it take to build momentum, maintain motivation and develop more opportunities during your job search? 

An active approach!

Many job seekers keep themselves very busy searching for opportunities. They spend hours a day searching through job boards, responding to ads, customizing their resume and writing cover letters. Some may even fuss over their LinkedIn profile and look for job postings on the platform.  Unfortunately, all of this activity can be very time-consuming and not very productive. This is what we call a passive approach to job hunting.

Portrait of a young business lady sitting in cafe working on a t

But, there is another way. Here are 5 ways you can move your job search strategy from passive to ACTIVE.

1. Check Your Attitude

The passive job seeker’s attitude is that of a victim; powerless and perhaps blaming others for their situation.  They may be seen as inflexible and defensive. Active job seekers have an attitude that demonstrates openness, enthusiasm and motivation. Knowing that they are in the driver’s seat, they take full control and accountability for their search. While they graciously seek out and accept help, advice and feedback from others, they do not expect others to do the work for them. 

2. Broaden Your Scope

The passive job seeker does not spend time researching industries to develop a broad target list and limits conversations to people they know well from their most recent company or industry. Although the active job seeker has taken time to clarify their targets and is very focused, they remain open to looking at a variety of industries and seek out unfamiliar organizations.  They have a target list and actively seek to talk to people in those companies, even when the company is not currently hiring. 

3. Use Multiple Methods, but Emphasize Networking

Passive job seekers over-rely on search professionals and other people to “let me know if you hear of anything”.  On LinkedIn, they only worry about their profile and use the site as another job board. Conversely, active job seekers spend 80% of their dedicated job search time on networking and have a networking strategy that emphasizes reciprocity and consistent follow-up.  They create and follow a plan for using agencies or search firms, answer ads and Internet postings, while also making time for self-care to keep their energy and spirits high.  Their use of LinkedIn focuses on building and leveraging connections and booking face-to-face meetings. 

4. Put in the Time

Active job seekers treat the search like their new job, putting in 30 to 40 hours per week on dedicated job search activities.  Just like when they are at work, they have a schedule, routines and short and long-term goals.  They limit their time on the Internet and spend more time on networking activities.

5. Build Resilience

Recognizing that landing a job can take up to 6 months (longer for very specialized or executive roles), the active job seeker has learned to pace themselves and depersonalize rejection.  Unfortunately, rejection is part of the process and not every HR professional or recruiter will provide timely follow-up, if any!  The active job seeker focuses on things they can control and continues their efforts full throttle, even when they are close to a possible job offer.

Linkedin logo sign printed on paper

Simple Steps That Will Help Build your Connections on LinkedIn

For the past eight years, I’ve been helping people that are going through career transition with their LinkedIn strategy, and I always assign the same homework after their Profile has been updated: start connecting with people!  Your network is your key to everything in businessincluding finding your new role.

Linking entities. Network, networking, social media, internet co

What clients taught me early on was to assign this homework in the form of a dare. To many, connecting with others on social media seems like a daunting assignment. So daring, or even double-dog daring people to engage in this business handshake provides the motivation they need. However, even if the motivation is enough to get you started, what do you do next?  Who are you going to connect with, especially when you’re feeling a little tentative about the ‘whole social media thing’?  Which people do you want to reach out to, especially if you’re still feeling raw from exiting your last job? 

Here is what I would like to suggest to those of you who no longer have access to your workplace Outlook contacts. I’m going to dare you to data mine your existing contacts on LinkedIn. There’s no need to try recalling names from memory and this is a great way to ease into networking meetings with people you know and like. Keep in mind, this advice is based on the latest LinkedIn interface.  Don’t blink or it might change again!

  • From the LinkedIn navigation bar, pick My Network – Connections.
  • Click on the name of a person you worked with (this doesn’t have to be recent). After their Profile pops up, look for their number of connections.  This is a link. Go ahead and click on the number. Now you should see some people with label next to their name that reads ‘2nd’. These are your 2nd level connections.  In a nutshell, this means that you are not connected to them directly but instead, through another connection you currently have. Now is the time to connect – that social media business handshake that I mentioned earlier. You will likely recognize some of these people labeled 2nd.  People you’ve worked with, done business with, etc.
  • Click on their Connect link and you’ll see a template: Invite “name goes here” to connect on LinkedIn.
  • Complete the entry for how you know each other. This can be as simple as “Hi Fran:  I was taking a few minutes to update my LinkedIn contacts and spotted your name.  Would you like to connect?” Naturally, if you know this person well, you’ll craft a suitably personal note.

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part. You’ll do this daily for a week while treating yourself to your favourite cuppa tea, café corretto, glass of wine or beer – time of day permitting! 

Give this a try.  How many connections did you start with?  How many connections do you have after a week – or whatever term of time you picked?

I dare you…no, I double-dog dare you to share your results!

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