We all know that to succeed in business, one must have (and use) a network. We work hard to create a web of like-minded individuals that support us, defend us, and are there when we need a favor. Likewise, as we create and nurture these relationships, we need to be prepared to offer the same in return. Unfortunately, making contacts and turning business cards into a dependable rolodex of steadfast colleagues is easier said than done. For those that may struggle, here are some secrets from great networkers.
Leave the office. That’s right, out with you! You’ll never make lasting, meaningful connections with people if you stay behind your desk all day, every day, so get out! Whether you are most suited for conferences, luncheons, or charitable events (or all three), sign up, show up, and make a great first impression.
Look for kindred spirits. Many introverted individuals struggle with networking because it’s often thought of as moving through a room collecting as many business cards as possible. This is often unhealthy and unproductive for a more quiet, shy person so reframe your thinking about networking. Instead of having a goal of obtaining a fistful of new contacts, look for just one or two kindred spirits. Focus and connect with those people who “get” you and your work and you’ll look forward to maintaining that rapport for years to come.
Remember quality trumps quantity. It’s perfectly acceptable to be picky about your own personal and professional network. You may not be able to choose your family but you most definitely can hand-pick the people you want to be supported by and support in return. While you may be able to work a room and speak with many individuals who are eager to connect with you more later; take a moment to think about who they are, what they have to offer, and how you could work together in the future. If you’re struggling to come up with answers, it’s not a quality connection and will not serve you well.
Do not be afraid. Put yourself and your business out there! Be a bit vulnerable, honest, and forthright with who you are, what you do, and where you’re going in the future. Those who reject you wouldn’t have helped you anyway, even if you had made an initial contact. You will never be sorry for authenticity.
With a bit of reframing, courage, and positivity, creating a grand network isn’t quite as daunting as it once seemed. Despite so much of business becoming virtual, it appears as though the socialization that precedes creating a slew of supporters will remain a necessity for professionals indefinitely. The power of the network is here to stay.
Tell me, what’s your best networking secret? Visit our Facebook page and join in on the conversation as we share how to get and keep a great network!
Please join me and 29 other leading job and career experts for the National Career Summit, a virtual training event that can be accessed from your computer or phone…beginning Monday, November 4th.
You’ll receive expert Job and Career Advice – All for FREE!
For your FREE ticket, please click here.
You’ll learn step by step how to compete from over 30 Leading Job & Career Experts For FREE!
During this event, we’ll show you:
- How you can ensure your résumé lands on the top of the pile.
- How you can effectively handle challenging interviews and win the job.
- How to find the hidden jobs that aren’t listed on the job boards.
- How you can brand yourself and recession-proof your career.
- How you can develop skills that will rapidly improve your marketability.
- How you can land a job using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Plus a whole lot more…
To register today for your FREE ticket, please click here.
We are looking forward to helping you compete in Today’s Job Market.
Many baby boomers will retire in the next five or ten years, and yet; most organizations don’t even have a solid plan for developing their next leaders.
When asked, current senior leaders said they learned mostly from experience, especially when they were just starting out. Others said their previous bosses and training programs helped as well.
And yet, despite knowing this, leaders currently in position don’t take the time to find and develop their successors. In most cases, it’s an organizational trend: the current boss learned on-the-job, they rarely received help from current or retired leaders of the organization, and so they don’t feel responsible to do the same for the person next in line.
Why is this important?
If the next leaders of your organization won’t be able to sustain or improve upon what is left to their charge, then what use are your plans, budgets, and strategies for the coming years?
The expectations for future leaders are also higher compared to what it was before. It’s no longer enough to have extensive experience on a specific department because diversity and a broader knowledge of an organization’s operations are now essential for a leader to be successful.
It’s also not enough to choose a leader based on performance, as many organizations have proven thatsuperstar employees aren’t always superstar leaders.
Take a Minute to Answer these Questions
- What am I doing to find a worthy successor for my position?
- Am I providing enough time and mentoring for the organization’s next set of leaders?
- Do we have enough candidates to fill leadership positions that may open up in the future? Remember, not everyone with the potential to lead can actually rise up to the challenge.
- Do we have a step-by-step method for selecting and preparing employees for leadership positions?
Don’t just pick someone and then hang him or her out to dry; make sure your organizations next set of leaders will be prepared to continue the legacy.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Take responsibility for developing the next set of leaders for your organization. It’s not enough to say that you support the cause. Spend time with potential leaders, so you can assess their potential and answer questions they may have about the company and the position’s responsibility.
- Work with other leaders in the organization to define the competencies, experience and behaviors that a new leader would need to do the work required of him. You should also review the current market and competitors to get a better understanding of what it would take the next leader to succeed, once he takes over the role.If you skip this step, you run the risk of hiring the same type of leaders repeatedly, which means the company will likely be stagnant- if not left behind by competitors who have evolved to meet the demands of the market.
- Assign people to do different tasks. Potential leaders must be exposed to different jobs in the company, because this is the only way they will learn how the business works from different points of view.
Don’t forget about the people issues! After selecting potential leaders, mentoring them, and exposing them to other parts of the organization, the next step is to train them to handle the human side of the business.
Leaders don’t deal on numbers alone; they also face issues – tons of employee issues! Teach them how to help struggling employees, how to provide feedback, how to inspire others, and more importantly, how to instill accountability. Without this skill, they won’t be half as effective as they could be.
Interested in a proven leadership development program for your staff or your members?
“Take the Leadership Challenge” focuses on the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®, developed by authors and researchers Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. In a highly interactive, experience-based approach, your staff, your members and you learn an:
- Understanding of your own leadership style
- An appreciation of other leadership styles
- An increase in credibility and courage as a leader
- More capability and willingness to provide leadership for their organization
- Essential skills to improve and achieve better results for their own staff
- An ongoing action plan and a commitment to do things differently
The goal of the program is to provide participants with the necessary skills and tools to master the essential areas of leadership and to become a truly effective leader. The target audience for the program is those individuals that are already involved with leading a team or are just beginning the process in their organization.
Some of my clients have also offered it to their membership as part of their professional development and leadership programing. It can be an additional source of revenue!
I am confident that this will be of value to you and your association. Contact me to discuss questions, next steps, pricing etc.
Just last week, one of my clients asked his employee to revise a proposal that will be sent to a client. Annoyed, the guy said “What for? I thought I was the lead on this account.”
Does this conversation sound familiar?
Assert Your Authority
Most leaders believe in the power of brainstorming and teamwork, but the problem is, some employees tend to mistake their open-mindedness for weakness. Just because you’re polite and open to suggestions, doesn’t mean that everything you say may be questioned!
As a leader, you must hone your business communication skills so people working with you will know how to differentiate between a directive and a request.
Does it mean making every deadline non-negotiable? Should you stop taking suggestions from your team?
Here’s a Better Idea: Change the Way You Communicate
Be careful with your choice of words and tone of voice. Consider the following:
“It would be great if you could submit your work by lunch tomorrow.”
“I’ll expect your work tomorrow on or before lunch.”
“Please edit your report for Client A, make it more compelling.”
“Your report for Client A isn’t convincing enough, can you please revise it?”
Both statements mean practically the same thing, but the second statements can be interpreted as a suggestion, while the first one is a clear order.
As for your tone of voice, make sure that your voice is loud and clear when you’re talking. This isn’t the time to be shy, so just man up, and look them in the eye when you’re talking.
What if my support staff is stubborn?
Use this simple rebuttal formula. Let’s go back to the second example:
You: “Please edit your report for Client A, make it more compelling.”
Employee A: “Why? It took me 3 days to complete that report, Employee B says it’s great.”
This is a typical excuse. Employee complains, saying that it already took forever to complete the work then segues to add the opinion of someone else to back up his claim.
You: I understand that it takes a lot of time to create a report1, but it needs to be revised2 because it doesn’t have substantial proof to back up the results you’re claiming3”
Let’s dissect this simple formula:
- Empathize – Show that you understand how they feel by repeating what they said.
- Reiterate your request – “it needs to be revised”
- Give a specific reason – the reason should be specific, objective, and reasonable. Don’t just say “because I want you to revise it.”
Using imperatives doesn’t equate to rudeness though, so make sure you add “please” or “kindly” when possible. The same applies when you’re using the rebuttal formula above. If anyone in your staff continues to argue after you’ve provided a reasonable objection, then it’s time to remind him of your position. This is your last resort; don’t use this argument often because doing so will appear as if you’re abusing your power.
Your business communication skills will affect your relationship with your team and image as a leader. Does your voice have a certain air of authority? Do you sound like you know what you’re doing? If you do, then you’ll have no problems getting people to do what you asked.
In today’s business environment leaders need to focus on their staff’s individual needs and on the direction of their organization.
If your organization is like most, you are operating in a storm of constant demands, reacting to crises but not really taking time out to think about (or plan) how to make your company better in a big way.
There REALLY ARE a lot of things you can do to move your organization to world-class status. One of the most important steps is to focus on the people who make up the organization. You need to have top-notch people working hard to make it a success, but you also need to make sure that those people have the TOOLS, UNDERSTANDING, and CAPABILITIES that are needed to excel.
Imagine having staff that:
- Build strong interpersonal relationships.
- Communicate clearly and openly with other staff.
- Willingly work together and eagerly serve on formal and informal teams.
- Leverage and support the skills of others.
- Are excited about their work and spread positive energy to members and other staff.
- Have clear career goals and take advantage of every opportunity to go above and beyond.
- Know their strengths and weaknesses and actively find ways to capitalize on what they do best.
- Can lead or follow depending on the situation and their assigned role.
I invite you to take a few moments now to consider which of the following customized programs you and your organization can use to get on the road to world-class status:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
- Leadership Practices Inventory
- It’s Okay to Be the Boss
- Building High-Performance Teams
You can’t afford to have an underperforming staff. Organizations that invest in staff development are much more likely to be successful!
Client Raves About Our Programs
“Without a doubt, having Marshall Brown work with our staff was a turning point in our being able to better communicate and work as a team. I would highly recommend Marshall as a consultant in any number of situations involving team building, communication strategy, and professional coaching.
Marshall’s expertise, along with an outstanding presentation style, allows participants to feel comfortable, gain knowledge, and improve in their jobs.”
~ Richard Yep, CAE
Executive Director and CEO
American Counseling Association
“In a word, Marshall is fantastic! He just finished a team building 2 day training for my staff – was very, very productive. Absolutely helped us achieve our goals. He works on an ongoing basis with one of my senior team – very effectively.”
~ Julie Coons
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Electronic Retailing Association
No matter how much you try to control things at the office, there will be circumstances out of your reach. Whether you get stressed or not, it’s up to you. It all depends on how you handle the situation.
To help you out, I’ve compiled some of the most common stressful situations at work and gave a few suggestions on how to handle it.
1. Your boss makes you do tasks that aren’t really in your job description
What to do: Sure, you want to please your boss and go the extra mile, but if you keep doing this, you might not be able to finish tasks that are more important. Learn to say no. It’s a cliché, but it’s a very important skill at work. Say it politely and with respect. Try doing it this way, “Sorry (Boss’ name), I can’t do (tasks), because I have to work on (more important task). This will work, especially if you provide a good enough reason. If your boss asks you to do another task not in your job description, then perhaps it’s time to talk to him or her about the scope of your job.
2. Someone at work has the habit of playing really loud music.
What to do: While this may seem like no big deal, it can be annoying when you’re trying to concentrate on a complex task. You can try to live it with it—use headphones or transfer to another workstation. If this doesn’t work, politely ask the person to use a headphone or lower the volume of his speakers.
3. A co-worker is fond of engaging in political arguments.
What to do: We all have our own beliefs, so it can get annoying when someone pushes their beliefs to your face. The best way to avoid this is to avoid getting into a conversation on the topic with that person. As soon as he tries to start with you, move away or laugh it off and don’t fall for the bait.
4. A group of people in the office enjoys gossiping and they want you to join them.
What to do: Gossiping is the worst habit you can develop in the office. People who engage in these sessions are the least productive and least professional workers. Stay away from these people. Never listen to their gossip! Just tell them that you don’t like talking about other people’s lives. If they start gossiping about you, don’t be tempted to explain your side to them. You might think this will solve the problem, but in most cases, this will only add fuel to the flame.
5. You need to work with a person you don’t agree with or has a different working style from you
What to do: Deal with it. You can’t always choose who you work with, so the best thing to do is set aside your differences. At the start of the project, make sure you delegate tasks among yourself, so you only need to meet to put things together. It may be wise to lessen meeting with each other unless necessary for the project.
The common thread here is be respectful, to others and to yourself. Showing respect will not only help you get your job done, but will also help you in your office social circle. What other situations stress you out at work and how do you deal with them? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or tweet @marshallbcoach with the hashtag #workstress.
Life doesn’t always turn out how you plan it. Challenges are inevitable and problems may arise when you least expect it. Now, the decision is yours- whether you will allow the situation to dictate your life or if you will rise above the challenges, give yourself a few positive affirmations, and come out a winner.
One of the most disappointing things an employee can face in his career is to feel unappreciated and forgotten. You look around the office and it seems like everyone has climbed the corporate ladder, while you’ve been stuck in the same position for years. Then, the worst thing happens– the big break you’ve been working hard for is given to a less tenured employee. Yet again, you were bypassed. You feel terrible.
What do you do next? Do you just sulk and give up on your career? Will you hold a grudge against your boss forever? Will you resign the moment you find another job?
No matter how seemingly awful life’s problems get, you need to pick yourself up and move on. Life will go on; life has to go on.
Positive Affirmations Won’t Help Solve my Problems!
Yes, keeping a positive outlook in life will not change the situation, but it will totally change the way you look at the situation and the way you react to it.
How in the world can I find something positive to think about, when all I see are problems wherever I look?
- Always be grateful
What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up? Is it the bills? The sales quota you have to meet? Instead of waking up to a list of problems, I suggest you spend the first 10 minutes of your day recounting your previous successes. Doing this will give you an instant boost, a rush of feel-good hormones that will set your mood for the entire day.
- Stay away from negative people
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend time with.”
Surround yourself with people full of energy and positivity, for these people will influence everything about you, even the way you talk! Go ahead; try spending a day with a whiner. I bet, at the end of the day, you’ll start whining about things you didn’t even complain about before!
- Focus on the silver lining
Train yourself to look for the good in every bad situation. Look for opportunities to learn, connect, and grow, instead of focusing on the problem. Look for the silver lining!
- Create a positive short-bio about yourself.
Your mind can really be hard on you, especially if you constantly think about your weaknesses and mistakes. To counter this, make a list of your positive virtues, skills and previous triumphs, and then keep this list with you. Every time you feel down, read the list and re-live those moments in your mind. It has the same effect listening to “We are the Champions”, or whatever your favorite inspirational song is.
Remember the saying, “If it’s not a happy ending, then it’s not the end,” this applies to all areas of life. Make this your go-to positive affirmation; repeat this to yourself every time you feel bogged down by the obstacles in your way.
What are some positive affirmations you or others have used to motivate you? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or Twitter with the hashtag #MBApositive.
Overwork, anxiety and lack of challenge and recognition has colored the overall emotional connection of workers to their jobs during the economic recession of the past few years, according to a Towers Perrin study. Workers’ attitudes are going to need more than just an economic recovery to emerge feeling positive about their work life.
Here are some pointers gleaned from the study on how to bridge the gap between how workers feel and how managers perceive them to feel—and how to help workers plug into a more positive emotional connection to their jobs.
Focus on ways to build self-esteem in your workers. The study showed that workers can feel intensely positive about their jobs from the self-esteem they get through feeling connected and competent in their work. While that ought to be obvious, the managers in the study predicted that this would matter little.
Developing skills and a career path are critical. In his book More Than a Cog, author David Baron urges workers to envision themselves on a career path, regardless of their “job,” as the critical first step to achieving superior performance. The survey results reinforce that message while showing that management seems to undervalue this factor.
Do more to build in recognition in your workplace. The Towers Perrin study indicates that we still don’t “get” the importance of recognition in employee retention and performance. The managers in the study predicted that this factor would be only half as important as it was to the workers. Part of the problem may be that our recognition efforts are misdirected. Effective recognition is positive, immediate and specific about what is being praised. But many recognition programs fail to meet these tests, leading managers to underestimate the value of recognition to their workers.
The future isn’t as important as you think. Workers are concerned about the future, but not nearly as much as managers expected. Again, it’s not clear what you can do about this issue, but be careful not to telegraph too much emphasis on the future—in either direction.
You’re not as important as you think, either. And that’s good. While the workers ranked management as a negative factor, it was one of many. Managers, however, predicted that management would have been much more important—on the negative side! So while you expect to bear the brunt of your employees’ negative feelings toward work, they may be cutting you more slack than you realize.
How do you help your employees tap into a more positive emotional connection to their jobs? I’d love to hear from you; please share your technique on the Marshall Brown & Associates Facebook Fan Page for all to see.
Last week, I wrote about the basic structure of a powerful resume. This week, I’m going to delve a little deeper into the content of the resume. Hiring managers see dozens, maybe hundreds of resumes for each position they have available. Tailoring your information to the job and focusing your resume to include personalized content will help your resume get noticed.
How do you do that? Here are some tips:
- Discover what key words in your experience match with the job description and highlight those in the summary and in the descriptions of your experience.
- Use confident language (not “I believe I can do this”, but “I KNOW I can do this”)
- Highlight the actions YOU took that led to results. If you led a team to an accomplishment, don’t be modest! You led them, you deserve to state so in your resume.
- Use marketing language. This means making your experience personalized and quantifiable, not simply saying something like “Managed websites”, but “Maintained, updated, and edited 6 separate company websites on a weekly basis.”
- Keep it simple. Title your resume file type with your name. Use common fonts, like Arial or Times New Roman. Avoid extraneous bolding, italics, or underlining.
- PROOFREAD. Do it yourself, send it to a friend or colleague to proofread, and then do it yourself again!
View my video to hear these tips and more to create a powerful resume that gets you interviewed!
Need more personalized advice on your resume, cover letter, and interviewing?
Go to our resume services page to see what we can offer, including sample resumes and testimonials from others we’ve helped.
Job hunting can be extremely difficult these days. On average, for every available position, there are about 5 job-seekers. That means if your resume is not focused, eye-catching, and up-to-date, it’s likely cast aside quickly. Here are some basic tips to help you develop a powerful resume and demonstrate your unique value.
When creating a resume, you should assess your experience, skills, education, and accomplishments. Then, look at what the employer wants – what types of skills, experiences, and education. Where those meet is where you need to focus your resume.
So here’s how to structure it:
- The top of your resume should include your name and contact information. Next, place a brief summary of your qualifications that includes the breadth of your experience – NOT an objective.
- Make sure you have a PROFESSIONAL and personal email address (ie. firstname.lastname @gmail.com).
- Make sure your voicemail is also professional sounding. No kids saying “hi!” or silly jokes.
- You might want to include your linkedin profile IF you’ve got references on there.
- Then place your career history or experience, with each job place, title, date, and bullet points that detail what you did at each position. Make sure this information matches up with the experience you listed earlier in your summary.
- Include performance milestones, such as any interesting awards you received or quantifiable, big accomplishments (ie. “created a system that increased revenue by 50%).
- List education WITH dates.
- Include professional affiliations. These show that you are interested in being around like-minded people and in continuously developing yourself.
These simple tips will get you started on your way to building a resume that works for you. There’s more to it than this, though, so be sure to read our next blog for even more valuable advice on creating a powerful resume!
Want even more?
Check out our resume services page to read how WE can help YOU design a resume and cover letter that stands above the rest.