Category Archives: Original
I was recently featured as a guest blogger on the AICPA website.
I used to be afraid of networking. As an avowed introvert with a moderate case of shyness, too often I would pass up opportunities to meet and connect with people. Much later in life I would discover that networking was an acquired skill and was well within my reach. I let go of my fear of rejection when I realized that networking was not about me, but was about building relationships and finding ways to be helpful to others. I can do that. You can too.
Read the entire article at the AICPA Insights Blog
Every resume tells a story. Actually, if you do it right, every resume tells four to seven stories, but I’m getting ahead of my self.
Getting hired is first and foremost, a sales job. Selling anything is hard, and selling yourself is the hardest. This is what makes polishing your resume such an art, and interviewing so difficult. Somewhere, somehow you have to convince a handful of people that you are the perfect person for the job. What do you say? How much detail do you include?
We know what doesn’t work: too many details and mind-numbing facts about what you’ve done. Oh sure, you must include some details and facts. Unfortunately, facts alone rarely convince anyone.
Discipline is choosing between what you want now … and what you want most.
— Abraham Lincoln
It’s been more than thirty years since I read the Odyssey for a literature class in college. The details of the story have faded from my memory, but one passage remains as vivid as ever: Odysseus lashes himself to the mast of his ship in order to resist the incredible lure of the song of the Sirens.
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were beautiful to behold and enchanting to hear. They were dangerous yet beautiful creatures who lured nearby sailors to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. “Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption,” Walter Copland Perry observed.
The sirens are alive and well in our modern era.
There is always an element of serendipity to success. You have to be in the right place at the right time when the right opportunity comes along. However, to be successful in the modern corporate world you need more than just luck. You have to get three things right:
- You have to do good work.
- You have to be doing the right work.
- You have to be visible — people have to know about you.
Inside networking is critical in all three areas.
If you have a job, then I highly recommend that you produce a weekly status report. Not a full ‘status report’ per se, but a brief email with 3 – 6 bullets outlining your recent accomplishments and a preview of what you will be working on next week.
Here’s the logic: If you have a job — working for anyone but yourself — then you have a boss to whom you report. And if you have a boss, then on a regular basis, people will ask that boss, “What is
Imagine a scenario where you are meeting for someone for the first time. If you live in America, there is a good chance that the conversational exchange will go something like this:
An opening volley of small talk …
A bit more small talk …
Something about the weather …
And then someone will inevitably say … (wait for it …)
“So, what do you do?”
How do you answer the question, “What do you do?”
Conflict is a part of life.
It’s brought on by human nature. We each have different goals and dreams, and we each see the world just a little differently.
When you put us in a work environment, these natural forces become amplified — mostly by our ambitions — until they create inordinate amounts of tension, dysfunction, and stress.
This is, no doubt, why 70% of the American workforce is disengaged from their job.
For some reason, we are reluctant to address the conflict. Strange. It doesn’t have to be that way.
How visible are you at work? Chances are good that you’re making one of most common career mistakes there is — pouring a disproportionate about of effort into doing good work and not taking enough time to get to know other people.
I frequently give talks on careers and networking, and I’ve found many people fail to recognize one of the most powerful opportunities for networking that exists: networking within their own companies.
This is like wearing a cloak of invisibility.
Networking inside your company is some of the most important groundwork that you can do — and not just for yourself. Building a web of strong relationships up, down, and across your organization is invaluable for any projects and tasks that you could hope to accomplish, especially inside large organizations.
It’s tough to be productive these days. Focus is hard. As if the Internet wasn’t distracting enough, along comes one of the most insidious wastes of personal energy since the invention of the chat room. We’ve all clicked on them — the alluring list post, or ‘listicles’ as professional bloggers and content marketers like to call them.
Instant productivity tip: STOP CLICKING ON LISTICLES. Just stop. If you want to fell more focussed and be more productive stop clicking on any article that has a number in the title.
You know the articles I am talking about. Listicles are those articles written with seductive headlines like:
- 5 Things Super Lucky People Do — Time
- 10 Innocent Hand Gestures You Should Never Use Abroad — Huffington Post
Alfred Sloan, when he ran General Motors in the 1920s and 1930s, would refuse to make a decision at a meeting if no one could argue a strong case against what was being proposed. He felt that if no one had any objections to what was being decided, it was because they had not thought long and hard enough about the question under consideration.
Alfred Sloan understood that the best ideas — along with the best decisions — are forged in the crucibles of healthy conflict. If there are no objections leading up to a decision, then either people just aren’t trying hard enough or your team isn’t working on hard enough problems. Clear thinking, innovation, and good decisions depend on diverse perspectives and opposing points of view.
Healthy conflict can be a tense arena. It takes bold leaders to create a safe space where everyone can be heard. And it takes confident followers to speak their mind even when they hold a minority point of view.