Networking at high school reunions can be fraught with disaster.
When I was a manager for a large organization I had one person on my team who was often sick on Mondays. That was already suspicious but it was also seemed to happen more often when he came back from a trip – Vegas seemed to be particularly bad for his health. But honestly, that was really the only time I had someone take advantage of the system!
What was more common was people coming to work when they were sick. So what are the rules about being sick?
One of my clients – a senior executive – was having an issue working with the CEO. The CEO didn’t seem to listen and worse didn’t seem to care about some of the issues my client was wrestling with.
We discussed the pressures the CEO might be under, how his personality was different from my client’s, and what might be going on in the difficult conversation.
My recommendation was to have a different kind of conversation with him – one which was honest and authentic – and which was not colored by previous encounters which had been tough. I was not sure if my client was going to take this on. Being open, as we all know, can sometimes be risky!
I was very excited to get this response from my client.
“I had a very courageous and transparent conversation with X today – about my feelings and about his behavior. It was very eye opening and very different from any other conversation I have had with him over the last 3 years. I’ll fill you in at our next meeting. Thank you for your advice!”
Kudos to the client for taking a risk and going out there. Being open and coming from a place of strength helped the client really tackle the relationship with the boss. It takes courage but the payoff is great.
Let me know what “courageous conversation” you have been putting off and why!
Someone promoted over you.
Try not to take things personally. There are many reasons why one person gets promoted over another which you can’t always understand unless you are the manager. For example, they may have some specific skills that are needed in the future such as speaking another language; they may have impressed a senior person who is pushing for the promotion; or they may have communicated their worth more effectively than you during 1:1 meetings with their boss.
Copy your rival. Be a detective and find out what they did. Are they the kind of person who always stays late? Do they do a lot of extra tasks or projects? Do they flatter the boss? As long as you are comfortable following their lead then you can be successful too. If you are not then it may be time to find a new job.
Promoted over someone.
Listen. Talk to your co-worker and listen to how they are feeling. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying or defend yourself but you can confirm their emotions. E.g. I can see how you would feel like that. But you also have to realize that the relationship changes. It’s hard to be best friend and boss. So you may talk about how you want to be friends but you will also have to do what is right for the team.
How to make your boss love you
Find out what makes your boss likes and give it to him or her (a lot). Don’t assume that it’s details, or positive feedback or a daily Frappuccino. Be a detective and find out what the boss loves and provide regularly.
Think about who your end customer is. Instead of sending an email that just pleases your boss, think about if this is something they are going to give to their boss, to the CFO or to an end-user.
Be at work before them and leave after them. Bosses love to see you working hard – and harder than them is even better. If you work remote make sure they see your emails of instant messages before or after the end of the day.
Remember the boss screws up too. When the boss messes up help him or her to clean up, don’t blame them but also help them not to be an idiot again.
Don’t ask for a pay raise instead tell the boss what you are going to do to make more money for the company. Once you show how valuable you are to the organization then you can negotiate money.
Be passionate about what the boss is passionate about. This could be the Steelers, HGTV Network or their kids. Learn about what they like so you can like it too.
How to Pitch? P.U.N.
So how do we pitch ourselves?
Let’s start with thinking about a pitch as if it was a headline in an article, the trailer for a film or the subject line of an email. What is it that pulls you in, makes you want to read more, or in the case of the movie buy a ticket and see it? It’s three things – PUN – no pun intended.
P – personal connection. Your pitch needs to connect with the person you are talking to. It has to have some relevance to resonant with your target, the more relevance, on more levels, the more impact it carries. As an outsider you need to either find other outsiders or insiders who value outsiders and can see the power and impact of your outsider qualities.
U – useful information. Your pitch must include something that the target wants or needs. The target should be thinking, “Wow, that’s going to solve a problem we’ve been facing” or “Of course, that’s exactly what I need.” As an outsider you need to know enough of the insider world to be able to determine what will work and what won’t work. Something, which is too expensive, take too long, or is too challenging for the culture will be seen as not useful and will be rejected.
N – and ideally it includes something new. If it is something that the targets have direct interest in and finds useful then they may take action but you need to have that extra to make them buy. The information has to be useful and new. It has to be different from what they have heard. If it’s new – either brand-new or a new spin on something old, they are more likely to focus and follow through.
If recruiters have heard the same pitch from the last ten job hunters they will be happy to hear something useful and new. Clients will feel the same if they hear the same old tired solutions to their problems and suddenly an outsider comes in with something new.
If you don’t like going outside and meeting people then don’t! The Internet is a powerful way of spreading a form of “electronic word of mouth.” Blogs, newsletters and well-visited web sites can carry your marketing messages to large worldwide audiences. These messages can lead to job opportunities, freelance contracts and customers.
You may know that a company is hiring and you simply want to know more about that company. You can use the search feature through Facebook, LinkedIn or Plaxo or one of the other social networking sites to learn as much about a company as possible. You can look at their page and see what the company says and see what others are saying on the company page.
You can also be creative and look for competitors. You can search the names of the officers of the company and see what they are interested in out of work. You can also start with what you are interested in and then link to the companies or organizations you are interested in.
But there is also another feature that you can use to find out more about a company in your job hunt. You can use the “find past coworkers” search option to search for individuals who have worked for the company. You can receive quite the different perspective from individuals who no longer work there. Yes, some may have not liked the job, but others will be honest about the type of work being done. If you feel comfortable doing so for the sake of your career change, you can ask these individuals what they thought of the company.
Hope that helps you and even if you are nervous shows you a way to get “out” there!
1. Don’t be part of the story. Stop reading the papers, listening to CNN and checking on your 401k. Focus on the positives, not the negatives. Even in you are hit by the recession, focus on what you can do, not on the doom and gloom the media is creating.
2. Plan for the worst and the best. Start budgeting now so you can save just in case something happens. Keep your resume fresh just in case. But at the same time, plan for the best. Look out for a promotion, work on your own business, and follow your own dream.
3. Be real. Know that if you have a job but want to change that it could take longer to find the next opportunity than in better job markets. Think twice and three times before giving up your job. If you don’t have a job, then think about taking one with less money or prestige. Ask for help if you need it. Don’t pretend everything is fine when it’s not.
4. Be smart. Look at which industries are doing well and which are not. For example, green companies are expanding and retail is not. Read futurists and see what we could be in store for. For example, spirituality in business is a growth area. And learn from history. What did we do last time there was a recession?
5. Be nice. Be nice to yourself and to others. Work places are more stressful than before. Individuals are worried. People are suffering. Take care of yourself and your family, friends and co-workers.
There was a great article about how Oprah’s empire has not only produced billions but also how it has launched many other personalities, increased book sales, and brought work to hundreds.
We all have that possibility whether we are working a job or starting out in our business. We can help others with their careers, bring success to people we work with and help make dreams come true. But you have to take a first step. Here are three things to think about:
I often recommend my coaching clients who are not working to volunteer. It is a good way of getting out, meeting people, and finding work as well as doing good.