Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Success on a Shoestring

Even with electronic media that does everything but pump you full of information intravenously at night I just can't seem to keep up with everything that either interests me or which while it may not interest me so much is nonetheless stuff that I feel I should be paying attention to anyway.

All of which is the only excuse I could think of for posting something the impetus of which was driven by the special issue of BusinessWeek that came out the last week of August.

As I am sure we all immediately recall this special issue was the one with the cover headline: Trouble at the Office? and the picture of Rainn Wilson on the cover. Why it took BW this long to realize that there is indeed "trouble at the office" I have no idea, but I was glad to see that at least it was starting to show up on their radar.

Being in the business we are at ExecuNet and are talking with both recruiters and senior level executives on a daily if not hourly basis as we do, the fact that there are "issues" in the workplace comes as no surprise, and while there are any number of keywords that could be thrown out to try and capture the essence of the challenge, at the moment, the two that come to my mind were: recruitment and retention.

The habitual cry we hear all the time is the "war for talent" is getting worse not better (the economy notwithstanding) and keeping my "A" players feels like a losing battle.

Given that as a business we find ourselves very much in the middle of this discussion, I read each article on this topic in this particular issue. I read them with great interest and great hope. When finished I found myself still interested but not particularly hopeful. I was looking for answers and instead found lots of wringing of hands and articles reporting on but not suggesting a whole lot of "to dos" regarding things of which I was all too painfully aware before I had read word one.

I should also say at this juncture that if I had access to the universal solvent to fix these ills, I would have shared it long ago. Unfortunately my approach to life is too simplistic to conjure up such stuff, however, so as much as I wish it were the case, I don't have any silver bullets to offer up. That said, however, there was one article in the issue that I thought at least expressed what struck me as pretty cogent advice in trying to overcome the core issues.

The article was entitled Success on a Shoestring authored by Richard Clark, the CEO of APTARE, a company in Campbell, California and in a tad more than 800 words, Mr. Clarke said two things that I tacked up on the bulletin board above my desk.

1. Establish the DNA of your company and then hire people that fit into that DNA., and

2. Because we are a small business, we cannot afford to lose time, energy, or capital on hiring and rehiring.
Magic? Certainly not. Revolutionary? Hardly. Critical to keep you on the right path? You betcha!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mr. Rogers Networking Neighborhood

Like most companies, we set aside a couple of days a year to lock ourselves up somewhere out of the office and do the best we can to step back from the day to day and try and do two things:

1. Look ahead a few years and talk about where we are versus where we want to be, and

2. Make sure that our core beliefs continue to support the strategies we set for ourselves going forward.

In the course of our discussions, our CMO, Tony Vlahos was taking us through a discussion about the experience of being a member of a career and business network such as ExecuNet.

Aside from being very creative, Tony has a gift for painting extraordinary word pictures when he is trying to make a point. Actually he just has a way with words no matter what he's talking about.

In any event, we were talking about the hows, whys and ways of trying to help members to help each other and Tony concluded his presentation on the subject with a quote from Fred Rogers. It was one that I had not heard before but which I thought really hit home in terms of why we talk to our members all the time not just about networking, but much more importantly about effective networking. Translation: it about giving, not about getting.

What I so liked about this particular quote from the icon in the cardigan sweater is that he really is talking about the fundamental foundation upon which all meaningful relationships are built.

Be it related to your own career or your business these are not bad words to have pasted on your mirror or on the wall of your office:

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

Friday, September 05, 2008

How To Be More Likeable: 10 Things To Do Today

GL Hoffman, the "Dad" of WWDS drives me nuts. I like his stuff so much that I keep posting about it to the point where I am starting to worry that people will think that I am either a relative or on the payroll.

Honest, neither of these is the case, I just like the way he writes and love his sense of humor. Okay maybe jealous of the way he writes and his sense of humor, but what the heck, it's still neat stuff.

The post referred to in the title here is far too long paste in here, but here's the teaser list:

Number 1. No Left Turns.
Number 2. Be Engaged, Passionate.
Number 3. Be of Good Humor.
Number 4. Assume Goodwill
Number 5. We All Like Compliments.
Number 6. Control Your Insecurities.
Number 7. The Trick to Listening.
Number 8. Flexibility.
Number 9. Manners. Grooming. Language.
Number 10. Humility is Endearing.
If you are interested, take the time to check it out for yourself here. It's worth the trip.

Don't have time for all 10? Try #7.