BlogTalk Radio with Jason Alba re: Lessons from the National Interview

Great experience today – my first as a guest on BlogTalk Radio!  I was honored to join a few other JibberJobber Partners who have talked with Jason about issues of importance in the Web 2.0 world of career transition and job search.

We talked about McCain and why he appears to be losing the job to Obama, despite his "hard copy" credentials and experience.  The conclusion appears to be that McCain has not responded well to the behavioral question of the day – the economic crisis. 

  • Obama has been able to convince the interviewers, a.k.a. voters, that he "feels their pain" and has practiced the time-honored strategy of listening with 2 ears and talking with 1 mouth. He has learned from the interviewing process and has offered need-based plans that appeal to voters whose issues are health care, education, foreign policy and war, and of course, the economy.
  • McCain and Palin talk a lot about themselves – a commentator on NPR suggested that McCain is asking the voters to reward him for his military and government service – he is not offering success stories via examples or testimonials that speak directly to the concerns of voters.  Indeed, one commentator observed that he appears to be a veteran of WWII, rather than a Vietnam War-era veteran; perhaps his POW experience shielded him from the cultural shift that affected his chronological peers.  His problem is not his chronological age, but the perception that he
    lives in the past and is not equipped to lead in the future.

The lesson for job seekers and career changers is to identify the needs of prospective employers; identify and emphasize transferable skills and personal qualities that are prized by this organization; and offer your brand and mini-business plan in a WIIFTm (What's In It For Them) context. 

The Recruiting Animal joined the conversation and added value by sharing his perspective as a Recruiter and a Canadian.  We discussed the impact of age, race, personality, and blogging in the interviewing space.  Listen to the recording and offer comments to keep this topical discussion alive:  <http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jibberjobber>

Five perspectives on the role of CHANGE in the workplace

"Change" has become the word of the political season; I am reminded of a great piece written by a former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich – it appeared in Fast Company, October 2000.

I think these ideas are inspiring to all of us who work, regardless of the size of our paychecks or our title on the organizational chart.  Unions promoted important and radical workplace changes that are recognized on Labor Day. Perhaps there will come a day that honors "Change Insurgents"

"You Can Be a Change Insurgent"

You don’t have to be at the top of the organization.  In the old economy, leadership was another way of saying “formal authority.”  In the new economy, power comes from knowledge and creativity-which means that change insurgents can, and should, be anywhere.

Power lies with people who know the technology.  People closest to the technology (programmers, designers, engineers) are in the best position to discover what the technology is capable of doing—what can be tweaked or altered to get a different result.  Geeks are also most likely to be in the “gossip circle” about what’s cooking elsewhere.  The job of every change insurgent is to bring that information to bear on the company’s operations.

Power lies with people who know the market.  People closest to the customers are in the best position to know what the customers want.  They’re in the best position to gauge competitors—and to detect the next competitor.  And they’re also most likely to pick up hints from companies in other industries that are dealing with the same customers.

Change insurgency can be a team sport.  The most effective change insurgents aren’t loners, mavericks, or revolutionaries.  They work the system.  They enlist others.  They sell their ideas upward and outward, and they grab good ideas from others.

The best managers foster change insurgency throughout their organization.  People in positions of responsibility know that high performing organizations are rife with change insurgents. So they reward people for their ability to sell their ideas.  The more someone is imitated, the higher that person’s value.  Good managers also reward insurgents for finding good ideas and spreading them. Great organizations create a culture of insurgency.

What do you think?  Relevant to your workplace? Are these ideas, offered eight years ago, on-target or are they too risky and idealistic?

Are women in the workforce more vulnerable during a recession?

The Wall Street Journal (Career Journal) recently posted an interview suggesting that women are more likely to experience difficulties with job retention, promotion, and transition during a recession than are their male counterparts.

The interview suggested that the high cost of childcare and commuting has a disproportionate affect on women, cutting their real wages below the differential that already exists. (On average, women with children earn $0.76 for every $1.00 earned by men; women without children are likely to earn close to $0.90 compared to their male counterparts). 

Certainly economic downturns exacerbate the factors affecting the most vulnerable in the workforce, e.g. working mothers,  fathers who are primary caregivers, as well as Boomers who are caring for disabled family members.  The prevalence of cases related to family responsibilities discrimination prompted the EEOC to issue guidelines for employers in May 2007:

“These EEOC
family responsibility guidelines condemn stereotypical perceptions of
employees, sex-based stereotypes of working women and pregnant women,
and discrimination against working fathers. The EEOC
also makes it clear that an employer’s “benevolent” stereotyping, such
as assuming a mother would not want a promotion if it meant moving to
another city, still has adverse effects and may be illegal under Title
VII.”

Clearly, the recession affects all of us; to paraphrase George Orwell, it may affect some of us more than others.  What is your experience or opinion?

 

Message to Starbucks shareholders: Free WiFI

It came to me before I had my morning home brew on Sunday…Starbucks, which reported its first earnings losses last week, needs to change its business model to embrace free wireless.  NPR’s feature, Sports Bars Draw Fantasy Footballers on Laptops, made the connection for me.  In brief, the NPR story reported that sports bars are beginning to serve laptop-toting customers breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with numerous drinks.  Meanwhile multitasking customers are watching football on the big screen, keeping track of fantasy football statistics, and writing term papers. 

I don’t intend to conduct business in a sports bar, and while I’m a regular Grande-sipper, I don’t work at Starbucks either. Why don’t I work where I sip?  While I’ve grown accustomed to the strong, slightly burnt coffee, I can’t get comfortable with $30/month Internet access fees.  Starbucksgrandecoffee

Like millions of people with home offices and a laptop, I like to meet new people in public places, and I need to to have access to the Internet.  I live in a small suburban town with 2 Starbucks locations; I must pass at least 4 others on my way to Panera Bread, where Free WiFI is on the menu in every location.  Once there, I hunker-down with a beverage and/or an amazingly tasty and somewhat healthy fast food meal, all the while plugged into the Internet and able to meet others.

Message to Starbucks:  "fuhget about" your expensive upcoming television advertising campaign and reallocate those resources to Free WiFI.  Encourage lap-top toting customer evangelists to build your brand and grow your business.

Confessions of a customer evangelist: promoting Kawasaki

It is amazing to find that sometimes, you have been ahead of the curve and didn’t know it. I worked in a neighborhood bookstore as part of my "portfolio career" (a.k.a.,lots of jobs; little money) in 2002-2003. I was going to graduate school full-time and making the break from corporate life to consultancy. One of the benefits of my $8/hour job was access to pre-release copies of books. I was the only one in the shop that gravitated to the business books, and by now you know that I’m going to tell you that Creating Customer Evangelists… was one of the treasures I found. I recommended it several times, and even loaned it to someone who probably didn’t "get-it," ‘cuz I need to buy another copy after sending the link to a client!

Truth be told, I’m not comfortable with the "good news" connotation of customer evangelism, but the idea that clients are likely to enthusiastically promote my services if I make it easy for them to do so is almost a "no, duh."  I incorporated the term, "buzz," into my vocabulary; I even had to define and defend it in a presentation at Temple University. My sense of urgency about this now stems from yesterday’s global summit honoring "The Brand Called You," the 1997 Fast Company article that I’ve been sending to prospective clients for several years. To kick-off the 12-hour teleseminar (it was recorded, so look for it online), Guy Kawasaki facilitated an excellent session, "Evangelizing Evangelists to Build a Business and Build Your Brand."

Few business books stay with you the way this one has for me. This book’s authors are Ben McDonnell and Jackie Huba; Kawasaki wrote the forward and introduces the book’s discussion of customer evangelism and viral marketing through engaging case studies (no dull Harvard Business School  curriculum for you). I recall the one about Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, and will have to wait to get another copy of the book to remember the rest. Okay, so I guess I am sharing "the good news" after all.  Buy the book; tell ‘em Karen sent you!

(As a cyclist, I had to add the picture of "Bike Friday," one of the products that has been successfully marketed through customer evangelism – not sold through retail bike shops!)    Bike_friday_customer_evangelism_2_3


Online Identity & Personal Marketing – FREE teleseminars Nov. 8th

Time to really accelerate your career transition and job search through 12 hours of FREE teleseminars on Thursday, November 8, 2007.   Image003

Billed as a tribute to the Fast Company article written by Tom Peters in 1997, this event is a global 12-hour marathon.  Programs begin at 10am EST; all will be recorded, so you can return to this site to hear programs you missed during the scheduled summit. 

Log on when you can and listen to "the big dogs" of the personal branding movement that was spawned by The Brand Called You as they offer perspectives and strategies for building and maintaining your career health.

New CAN clients have received this Tom Peters article from me ever since I started my own business; this online audio tribute is an opportunity to listen to someone other than me flap their gums about it! Check-out the schedule at Jason Alba’s Jibber Jobber Blog.

Sponsors of the summit are asking that participants donate to Kiva.org, an organization that promotes  microfinance – a means to build a sustainable economy in the developing world through loans to specific entrepreneurs.  Your donations will be bundled into loans to
provide affordable working capital; funds will empower individual entrepreneurs to
earn their way out of poverty. (FYI – My son, Rob, has been involved in the field of sustainable enterprise for the last three years; sign up for an RSS feed to the Development through Enterprise/Next Billion.net blog and learn about the work of this NGO, based in Washington, DC (World Resources Institute).

Let’s create some buzz about the Personal Branding Summit - comment about the sessions you found helpful and those you didn’t; share your reactions and reflections with others at Career Acceleration Notes.
 

The Future of Work: read a special double issue from Business Week

A must-read for all the generations in the workplace: Millennials, GenY, GenX, Boomers…

Business Week recently published a double issue that is a "must read" for those interested in the 21st C. workplace.  The Future of Work:  how we will master technology, manage companies, and build careers in the era of the global, 24-7 workplace offers facts and conclusions based on a summer 2007 survey of 2000 American middle managers.  Some random points of interest:  Business_week_logo_4

  • The modern workplace resembles a design studio, where core values are collaboration and innovation
  • More than 1 in 4 workers age 55 and older say they never expect to retire; only 1 in 10 under age 30 say the same thing.
  • Job satisfaction in the U.S. has fallen by 12 percentage points in the last decade – a record low.
  • Multinational companies are having trouble getting people to work
    well together:  e-mail and telecommunications are expedient, but
    complex teams are more productive through face time.
  • Dow Chemical is one of the companies trying to stave off a brain
    drain created by the expected retirement of 30% of its workforce over
    the next 5 years.  Dow is offering flexible hours, three-day workweeks,
    and an open door to retirees who want to return to the workplace. 
  • India is trying to keep its talent in-country.  Accenture Ltd. assigns a career counselor to each employee and offers continuing education through a range of 10,000 courses.  Message for workers on all continents: Continuing Education is a key to success in the workplace of the future.
  • Sustainable careers are those that involve deep relationships with
    customers and extensive knowledge of market conditions – another boon
    for Boomers…

This issue includes a piece by Diane Brady called, Creating Brand You.  The author identifies Estee Lauder
as an employer offering personal branding training as a means to
strengthen employee loyalty and engagement.  The author claims that
Generation X types are more skeptical of the value of branding than are
the Boomers and younger Gen Y’ers.  She reminds readers of all
generations that "your co-workers aren’t just your colleagues.  They’re
your audience."

Those interested in achieving change in the 21st C. workplace should
check-out this issue -  we can discuss and debate the issues raised for
weeks.  Looking for your comments and reactions on this blog; your participation will make this a place for an exchange of ideas between people with shared interests!

Posted by Karen P. Katz

Fast Company blazes a trail for re-branding: Al Gore’s $100 Million Makeover

Fast Company has marked the 10th anniversary of Tom Peters’ The Brand Called You
with a puffy, but motivating piece on the re-branding of Al Gore.
Ellen McGirt’s cover story in the July/August 2007 issue of FC (Al Gore’s $100 Million Makeover) is required reading for anyone involved in career transition. 

Gore has integrated  his geeky penchant for research, his access to
well-heeled connections, and his willingness to speak passionately
about issues: the result is a transformation from failed politician to
successful entrepreneur.  No longer the butt of late-night TV jokes, he
is now an aspiring media mogul as the co-owner of Current TV.  He has become an adviser to two of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, Google and Apple;
co-founder of an investment firm that promotes a new definition of
sustainability; and, he is also involved in other enterprises that have
raised his net worth from $1-2 million to more than $100 million in
less than seven years.  Politics aside, this transition from "almost
got the job" is a story that can inspire the success of others, even
those with more moderate goals than Gore’s.

Al_gore_tee_shirtA few learning points: 

  • Be purposeful in defining your brand:  find your passion.
  • Dare to be different:  innovation is not as intimidating as invention – You CAN do it…
  • Connect with friends, family, colleagues:  "to network" can be
    conjugated as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb – it works at all levels
  • Use technology:  aside from promoting your ideas, technology allows you to listen and learn from your customers/audience

There is a lot of buzz in the careers community about this topic of branding (the book by Kirsten Dixon and William Arruda is
a must-read).  While Gore may not have participated in an official
branding program, the transformation of his image and financial outlook
speak volumes for the value of thoughtful and guided transition.

Posted by Karen P. Katz

Truthfulness as a job search strategy…

In
April ’07, blogs were buzzing about Marilee Jones, who left her job at
M.I.T. because of a lie she told years ago…  The basic learning point =
telling lies may result in shame and perhaps, being fired

In June ’07, Jack and Suzy Welch, the GE power couple who became Business Week pundits
in January 2006, wrote about the importance of being truthful during
the interview process.  The basic learning point = telling the truth
may result in being hired. 

Their point is worth emphasizing: candidates must present a credible picture of themselves. 

* Few candidates over the age of 30 have pursued a career path that
has not included a few speed-bumps.  The reasons for such bumps are
legion, and the assignment of blame something that we need to “get
over.” 

* Decision-makers are likely to be more than 30-years old;
you can be sure they’ve experienced some disappointments along with
their successes. 

* It is likely that your self-reflective,
non-judgmental, and mature analysis will be disarming: people will like
you!  After all the degrees, accomplishments, and keywords are posted,
it comes down to “fit:”  people hire those whom they like.

Career decisions are not without emotional baggage and consequences; work through your “Grief Cycle” and recognize your strengths with the help of a job search strategy coach.

*
Listen to your former colleagues and your current network for clues as
to what happened in the previous position – look forward.

* Test realistic solutions and investigate new opportunities through networking, reading, and self-reflection – look forward.   

When you are ready, present yourself as a credible candidate by
demonstrating that you are self-reflective, that you accept ownership
for your behavior, and that you have gained insight that will help you
be more valuable as you move forward. 

The friend described in Own Up to Getting Sacked was
offered a new job within weeks of telling a prospective employer:  “I’m
sitting here with you because didn’t have the guts to move out
employees who couldn’t meet their numbers, and I tweaked costs instead
of taking the full-bore approach that was necessary.  But I can assure
you, those mistakes won’t happen again.  Let me prove it to you.”

Recognizing and telling the truth is a powerful job search strategy…  446734218_ac2cf8d99c

Posted by Karen P. Katz

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