#Fridaythought – the rules for being amazing

This week’s #Fridaythought is more a list and from one of my favourites – Robin Sharma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rules for Being Amazing
by Robin Sharma

1. Risk more than is required.
2. Learn more than is normal.
3. Be strong.
4. Show courage.
5. Breathe.
6. Excel.
7. Love.
8. Lead.
9. Speak your truth.
10. Live your values.
11. Laugh.
12. Cry.
13. Innovate.
14. Simplify.
15. Adore mastery.
16. Release mediocrity.
17. Aim for genius.
18. Stay humble.
19. Be kinder than expected.
20. Deliver more than is needed.
21. Exude passion.
22. Shatter your limits.
23. Transcend your fears.
24. Inspire others by your bigness.
25. Dream big but start small.
26. Act now.
27. Don’t stop.
28. Change the world.

Singapore National Day

This week’s post is celebrating Singapore and from our MD, Asia – Kathryn Woof.

Yesterday was National Day in Singapore, my third one in the Lion City, and there are a few things I love about this yearly display of patriotism/military might/firework fandangery.

For one, weeks before the day itself, the Singapore armed forces practice the parade which they will be running on the day itself, which means fighter jets zooming past the sky scrapers, easy jokes about Top Gun being made around the city (well, maybe that’s just me actually), Chinook helicopters tugging ginormous Singapore flags through the sky out in the Singapore Straits, and a ‘practice’ fireworks display every Saturday at 8pm.

Secondly, coming from a country where our National Day is largely ignored (can any English reader say which day St George’s actually is off the top of their heads?…actually, I bet @robfanners can!) I love how the whole city state turns out dressed in red: couples, families, babies, grandparents, young, old – there are just heaps of people all around Marina Bay, there to celebrate their country’s birthday.

And what goes with that is an enormous chance to build a marketing campaign. Of course it does – it can’t be ignored! This year my favourite was Mentos who pushed the boat out to a point where the Singapore censors presumably couldn’t see it happening, and released a viral on you tube that will certainly raise a titter and an eyebrow from anyone who’s spent time here, done business here, or had the pleasure to live in this quirky little red dot.

For your viewing pleasure – the National Night video.

10 important tricks to employ when starting a new job

10 important tricks to employ when starting a new job

It’s always interesting working with people who’ve just started a new job. Whether they’re my own employees or people that I’ve placed into a new role elsewhere, that first 90 days really does determine whether they’re going to succeed or not. Furthermore, I think it sets an important tone for how they’ll perform in an ongoing basis.

In other words, the first 90 days really counts!

Here are some ideas about how you might be able to make the most of that time.

1.       Have a Plan

This was drilled into me early on in my career and I’m a big believer of it. I think it’s critical for every new employee, from the CEO down, to have a 90 day plan from the day they start. Your plan should be like a brief business plan. What’s the goal, what are the objectives to get there and when do they need to be achieved by? This one simple process will go a long way to keeping you focused when the pressures of learning a new role are doing their best to distract you.

2.       Define success

If you haven’t covered this fully as part of the interview process then you really need to very quickly understand exactly what success looks like! You need to understand the strategy, goals and expectations of the company and your boss. Then you need to make sure that your strategy, goals and expectations support that. In essence this means getting your boss to sign-off on your 90 day plan.

3.       Bring energy!

The energy you bring is very important in getting off to a good start. If you’re very introverted you might have to fake confidence to start with but things like taking the initiative to introduce yourself to your colleagues (rather than waiting to be introduced) can make a huge difference in how quickly you settle in. The simple things like a smile, eye contact, firm handshake and positivity go a long way.

4.       Seek to understand before being understood

One of the best people I’ve worked with was a guy who was brilliant at networking within the organisation. In his first 90 days he met with as many people as he could to understand exactly what worked, what didn’t work and why. He asked what people thought was missing from the role he was hired to do and what they would do differently if they were in his position. He found out about their role and how he could assist them. He built such great relationships based on his understanding of the business in the first 90 days that when it came time to implement changes people listened because he’d built credibility. People felt he understood them.

5.       Be systematic

There’s so much to learn in a new role that it can be quite overwhelming. As my old manager used to say, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…” The fact is you’re not going to learn it all in your first week so part of your 90 day plan should be systematically ticking off each new aspect of your role you need to learn… in bite size chunks rather than all at once. Step one here might be sitting down with your boss and mapping out everything you’re expected to know… and this should go into your 90 day plan.

6.       Be proactive

The best way to make a good impression in your first 90 days is to be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to tell you what to do, go in search of what you think you should be doing. Any manager worth their salt would prefer you to create action, even if it’s not really what you’re meant to be doing, than to sit back and wait for them to have time in their busy day to attend to you. It’s also much easier for a manager to correct than to create, so if you’re really not sure what you’re doing put together a plan of attack and ask your manager to review it with you. They’ll love you for it!

 

Tip: If you’re being micro managed then chances are that’s because you’re not managing up effectively. Instead of waiting for your boss to tell you what to do, get in first and tell them what you’re planning to do! Give them an update at the end of the day. Do this until your boss is comfortable you know what you’re doing.

7.       Think before you ask

We all do it… we’re new, we’re not sure what to do so we don’t try and figure it out we just ask a question without thinking about it. The problem is that the learning process is sometimes about figuring it out! And perhaps more importantly when you’re first starting in a new job it’s not nice for your manager to get hundreds of simple questions all day long that you could have figured out yourself. That’s not to say you should spend a ridiculous amount of time struggling with something just for the sake of the learning experience or just so you don’t interrupt your boss, but you should think before asking the question. What are you options? Which is your best guess about the right option? Now you can ask a question that shows you’ve thought about it first.

8.       Be humble

Don’t assume that what made you successful in your old job will continue to do so. Assume you know absolutely nothing, ask for advice, actively listen.

9.       Get some early wins

How can you create value and improve the business in your first 90 days? These will likely be small wins, rather than revolutionary changes. You really want to seek to understand before being understood so it’s not a good idea to charge in swinging. Instead, look for the little wins that will help you build credibility and momentum.

10.   Mirror the best

Who are the best performers in your role within the company? You need to get to know these people. Ask them for a coffee, pick their brains, figure out how they think, how they approach things. Copy them. If you can’t find these people inside the company, look outside the company.

 

There are many more things we can do to ensure we are successful in our careers but I hope these were a good starting point.

Good luck!

Talent Strategy – a must for business now and for the future

Talent Strategy – a must for business now and for the future

One of the things that still baffles me in today’s market is the disconnect between CEO’s listing Talent as their number one pain point and priority and the lack of directional strategy advice being fed into them.

Talent is important – fact. Top Talent shortage is an issue and a major commercial inhibitor and yet in the vast majority of businesses it is not incorporated into the business strategy. Marketing, and Finance have strategies intrinsically linked to the business strategy but HR is rarely included and Talent (in its own right) next to never. If you spoke to a business leader and asked them to exclude Marketing and Finance from the business strategy they would tell you it’s impossible. This is where we need to get to if businesses are going to make the right decisions with regards to Talent. Talent leadership needs a seat at the table and I don’t mean HR, I mean Talent.

Any Talent strategy these days needs to consider two things 1) an exceptional acquisition model where the employment brand is strong and central to all other actions and 2) engagement that is fueled by meaningful development. If you don’t up-skill current staff you will need to find more new staff!

The other side to this coin you must consider is what Talent itself thinks. This shouldn’t be too difficult; after all you are not always the client. You yourself are the Talent too! Recessions, layoffs, boom and bust economics are a reality and people are always looking at their opportunities and risks. Things are not long term. Stability is rare. People will therefore always be considering how to get ahead and loyalty can never be one sided. The strategy must be honest about this and implement solutions around this. All ideas must be built around values true to the organisation and can cover initiatives such as flexibility, development, employment brand and engagement.

If attracting and retaining the best Talent is a serious ambition of your company then it must have a serious place in the wider business strategy, the leadership team, and the communications piece. Without these there will be no top talent, and no chance of competing in the business environment of the coming years.

If you wish to discuss your Talent strategy with us, please do not hesitate in contacting us and have a great half year ahead!

How do I advance my Career?

How do I advance my Career?

So you want to advance your career, but where do you start? Following are my top tips to success in advancing your career in a meaningful and sustainable way:

1)    The best place to start is with a career plan. A career plan is a written strategy which helps you realise and define your individual skills and interests and the steps from experience to training required to reach your goals.

There are few things as important as our career but most of us just leave it to chance and whim. Without focus and direction other than those imposed on us, we are leaving it all to the hands of others and are surprised it doesn’t turn out how we once dreamed it would. Take control and measure yourself against your progress. Work out what you are missing as you advance and make sure you get the tools, training and experience to get there. This is not a “written in stone” document but just like you, should be organic and evolving to help you to meet whatever new career aspirations you might have. Without it you will never remember what you wanted, where you’ve truly been and where you want to go. The basics of a plan should list the career goal, the requirements, current skills and interests, and the plan to reach the goal

2)    Self development. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, sure, you can lobby to get relevant corporate training and make sure you get yourself on the right courses paid for by your employer but no-one will take you seriously until you do yourself. This needs to be looked at in short, medium and long-term ways i.e. whilst keeping your chosen path, as well as your steps and goals in mind, you need to read quick articles (blogs, RSS feeds, Twitter, etc are good source for these), more strategic articles (white papers, studies etc) and then of course courses (online, books etc). They say information is power and they are right. You will not believe the confidence and value you will begin to be able to add at work and in your career community.

3)    Network. This is a do what it says on the tin kind of topic. Just network. Where? Wherever people in your chosen profession hang out i.e. your work, conferences, trade shows, chambers, online groups (Twitter / LinkedIn). You will get some many more opportunities and learnings from meeting and holding meaningful relationships with experts in your field, both in and out of work time.

4)    Personal brand development. A lot of this will come from the activity in 3) but it is important to first know what it is you want your brand to be i.e. what skills and attributes you want to be recognized for (this will tie into you planning and development) and then the marketing or ‘influence’ of those abilities so that even when you’re not physically there you are able to impact managers and colleagues.

5)    Don’t be an Island. The above point does not mean be a one man/woman glory show. In fact quite the opposite as it refers to being a meaningful brand for other people to relate to / respect. Providing support, help, ideas, successes and generally contributing to the team and company is the best way for you to shine.

6)    Support. This needs to be considered in a truly 360 degree way. Make sure that you regularly interact with your management about your aspirations and plans and get their buy-in and help in getting there. If it is realistic and planned they will believe in it and help. Also, find a mentor in the company if you can. If you need help, speak to HR or the MD about creating such a system. Life is about giving to receive. Support those around you and they will support you. If there is someone better than you in a certain area work out what you have to give them. Be a good team player – remember birthdays and special dates. Be reliable and care. Finally, support those below you. You can rarely go up unless there are people closely following behind. You can help people grow with you and as well as benefitting from watching them develop you will realise the benefits of it being tied in with yours.

This might seem like a lot but like all things in life, those things in life worth achieving take effort. Also, again like most things, with a lot of the effort front loaded in planning and strategy, the execution should be more painless and enjoyable. After all, this is your chosen career path so it should be something you like? You will be doing the job day in day out for most of your life so you might as well make the extra effort to make it a rewarding and fulfilling time!

Take Stock of your Talent

Take Stock.

It’s that time of year, most of us are either half way through or just starting a new one, but either way it’s a point at which we need to review the last 6 months against expectations and align our plans for the coming half year:

  • How’s it gone? Where could we have done better? Why did things go wrong? Where will we focus moving forward and how will we get there?

These are questions we need to ask ourselves as individuals, team players and as a company as a whole. As a leader I know how important it is to get all these aspects aligned. However, there is no more important single element than plans around your Talent. This is a very simple reality. Without engaged, motivated, and well equipped (in all sense of the word) employees, you will not have achieved much and I guarantee you will not be able to go anywhere fast.

We operate a ROWE which means we measure Results. This is a good thing for our clients (companies and candidates alike) and our employees, as it means we are not waylaid by ridiculous internal KPIs but only the focus of achievement for customers. To make this a reality though it incorporates 2 things. 1 – a quarterly review of achievements against those results measurements (financial, growth, teamwork, quality ratios, customer satisfaction – you will hear from us soon if you are a customer!) and then re-alignment for improvement and 2 – a bi-annual review in which we assess the bigger picture such as strategy, plans, careers, clients etc, and again re-align and strive to improve.

Whatever culture and system you have in place, it is imperative you take stock of your company Talent in all the business reviewing and planning you do. What are people feeling, achieving, wanting to achieve and think they can achieve. Align this to all the other goals  and my advice is you are clear about its communication, you inspect what you expect, and you focus on results in all aspects of the business, both retrospectively and in looking forward.

The most important factor is that this is done regularly, especially in these times of ‘change’. Business is moving so fast these days that to keep ahead, or at least with the game, you need to constantly be assessing where you have been, where you are now, and where you need to be in the coming period. I recently read a great article on Targus that highlights this business reality. The  MD saw the importance of HR strategies required to adapt to business change and utilised this to turn round their competitive offering in a fast changing environment http://tinyurl.com/3o32qsj

I look forward to hearing back your comments on our service over the last 6 months and any improvements we can make. I also look forward to hearing about your plans for Talent over the coming half year and how we can help you achieve your growth or plans.

Why you should never “low ball” an offer in Talent Acquisition

A recent experience highlighted this issue once again, but to such a degree that I needed to write about it this time. There are many people who have tried to justify “low balling”, particularly in the sales spaces I have worked into, where the pressure, particularly in “macho” terms is to look at the OTE/upsides.

However, I have never heard or witnessed a single case that’s gone well in all 11 years of consulting. To be clear I want to define “low ball”. I am not talking about offering the lowest acceptable offer (also not advised if you’re serious about QoH and retention) or an offer that is off because of bad process and communication i.e. expectations aren’t dealt with up front or not clearly outlined. Those are inexcusable talent acquisition mistakes. No, here I am referring to an offer substantially lower than the ‘known’ low amount advised by the recruiter or directly from the candidate.

So with that in mind, what are the other possible reasons hiring managers would “low ball”? Well there is only 2 and all reasons when push comes to shove fall into these following categories:

a)      Financial restrictions – internal banding,  upfront cash, risk/reward

b)      Get a good result (pure perception) i.e. get someone for cheaper than you thought you’d have to pay thereby getting a competitive advantage over both the market and making it easier to and quicker to get your return.

If the answer is a) then again, as with poor or no communication upfront, the reality is the reality. Avoiding this reality by being vague or saying “it’s in the ball park”, because you really like the look of the resume or are excited by the potential, doesn’t make the reality go away. There is no case ever where when you have understood what a candidate’s lowest limit is, anything lower than that at the end of the process is acceptable or going to bring on board an engaged and ready-to-go talent.

If it’s b) then I can tell you it will never be a good result. You might get them cheaper but they undoubtedly will feel aggrieved and there will be mistrust and confusion over value and belief in the company. It’s hard enough to get Talent engaged and retained when things are done brilliantly, let alone starting off on the back foot.

The fact of the matter is that all expectations should be laid out up front. If you cannot meet that person’s lowest expectation you should not go through the process. Apart from wasting your own hiring and HR managers’ time and efforts, you will not ever secure an engaged and committed Talent whatever the answer to the offer. Also, they will always be open to further, more realistic offers from the market down the track. The true cost of losing out to another company once you have paid and trained for 6 -1 2 months will far outweigh the savings in salary you thought you were making.

Finally there are a myriad of consequences that come from low ball offers that only add to the argument, they should never be done. These include market reputation and employer branding, disengaged recruiters, disgruntled hiring managers and the pressures that come with people’s time wasted. Always secure the best talent you can by putting your best foot forward.