Full Employment Blues

Most of my clients are hiring new employees and finding it much more difficult than it was several years ago. The main reason? Full employment. As much as they want to attract top quality candidates, it’s much tougher today.

This will sound like a sweeping generalization (and it is), but most candidates who have been unemployed for more than a few months without a reasonable explanation are out of work because they’re just not that talented. Of course, there are exceptions, but at 3.7% unemployment…well, you do the math.

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Leadership Musings

Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, was recently interviewed at The Atlantic Festival by Lorena Powell Jobs. He shared highlights from his 15-year tenure as CEO, including some musings on his leadership philosophy.

He mentioned three key principles. First, lead with optimism. “No one wants to follow a pessimist,” he said. Second, take bold steps, not baby steps. Leaders need to be able to take risks, and you can’t take those risks if you’re taking baby steps. Third, relentlessly pursue perfection. Never accept good when you can have great.

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Electronic Dialogue

Communication can be challenging, to say the least! When you speak face-to-face, you can see body language, gestures, and hear intonation. If that same conversation is on the phone, you essentially miss the body language and gestures. If that message is conveyed by email, you lose the intonation as well; and if text, it can be even more obscure.

Many people shoot off an email without regard to how the recipient is going to receive or interpret the message. For example, one person I work with reads whatever is visible on the screen of her phone. Her staff knows that everything important needs to be in the first few lines.

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Tune into Your Co-Workers

You never know what baggage people bring to work every day. No matter how well things seem to be going, you can bet that something is lurking in the background. You just don’t know what it is.

Some people are great at compartmentalizing and can have productive days even if something personally challenging is happening concurrently. Others will sit at their desks and stare into space, completely unaware of anything going on around them.

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Back to School

September has a “back to school” allure, even if you haven’t been a student for years. Not only are we reminded of it by omnipresent advertisements of school supplies and the like, but feelings are conjured from our own memories.

This is always a good time for a fresh start on whatever needs rebooting. Are there goals that have languished? A new project that was backburnered? A special initiative that will energize your team?

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“We’ve Always Done It This Way”

Change is almost always received with at least a little resistance. When someone says “we’ve always done it this way” it’s a signal that you’ll need to do more work than just the change itself. You’ll need to “sell” your people on why this specific change.

When planning for change, then, you should plan for the change itself in addition to internal persuasion time. Yes, this takes more time, and yes, you need to do this.

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Analysis Paralysis

You can be thorough, methodical, systematic – whichever word you choose – but if you overdo it, it may hurt you. Of course, you need to be disciplined to obtain the necessary information to make a decision, but often the incremental time analyzing isn’t going to give you that much more information.

+ Through over-analysis, you may miss the point, as aptly described by the cliché of not seeing the forest through the trees.

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Emotion vs. Passion

We love seeing examples of people expressing their passion, especially when it reinforces their desire to do well for their clients or colleagues. Passion is contagious and can even lift others out of lethargy.

There is a distinction, however, between expressing passion and being subjectively emotional, or “overly emotional” as some people describe it. When this happens, people lose their objectivity and they are less effective influencers. I’ve seen many examples of this, with both positive and negative emotions.

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