Managing Change

The ability to manage change successfully is a skill to be valued. If you have managed change in your job or a previous job, be sure that appears  in your resume’s lead in “Summary of Experience and Accomplishments” and also in your cover letter. If you don’t have that experience, try to obtain it in your current position by asking to be included in whatever change issues are in process or anticipated. Major change doesn’t happen often, but small changes are part of everyday organizational life.

The following is a mini-book review of a new book by Barbara A. Trautlein, PH.D. entitled “Change Intelligence; Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change That Sticks”

The ability to handle constant change can mean the difference between organizational success and failure. Even though there are many tactics for managing change, the author cites research indicating a high failure rate for major organizational changes.

Change Intelligence book cover“We know a lot about organizational transformation…We’ve developed multiple models for leading change…We’ve conducted studies and found that positive change requires, among other things, a commitment from senior management, a ‘guiding coalition,’ and a ‘compelling vision.’ With all of this knowledge and all of these methodologies, why do 70% or more of major change initiatives fail? It’s not that any of these models or tools are wrong or useless – they are just incomplete. Successful transformation requires more than book knowledge and theory. To lead change, change leaders must know themselves.”

The author refers to CQ as “Change Intelligence” which she defines as the skill set required to lead a team or company through major change. ”You  can’t just tolerate change… you have to take charge of your career and your company and lead change.”

Adapted from a book review in Staffing Success, published by the American Staffing Association.

My Spin On Managing and Effecting Change

I think Trautlein got it right when she refers to the need for real leadership to effect major change.

From my personal experience the process of effecting change is two-fold:

The first part is a semi-democratic determination and planning process… the second part is autocratic implementation!

Part 1 – Determine why change is called for; what will the impact be of the change?;  what will be different as a result of the change?; what are the component steps for of this change?, etc.

An example is in order. An organization wants to centralize several administrative functions; the branch offices will no longer perform these administrative functions – rather they will be concentrated in a single central corporate office.

The steps to do this should be determined collaboratively… carefully and slowly. Lots of input from all – be sure everyone with a dog in the fight gets to weigh in on how this will impact them and their department. The individual decisions that come out of this process are determined almost democratically – a consensus is necessary on each to proceed. If it cannot be gained, then either there is not a need to be fulfilled or the need has not been thoroughly explored.

The point is that the different implementation steps to effect the change should be determined very collaboratively – virtually democratically. When this has been done… and each step to be taken has been documented and all parties have reviewed it… the person in charge… the leader…says “OK…anything else we need to decide? Have we covered all the bases? Speak now or forever hold your peace. Once we pull the trigger on this I need to approve any and all deviations from the plan.”

And then part 2 kicks in – the implementation of the change. And it needs to be done autocratically; no deviation from the plan without authorization. Why? Otherwise, people will pick and choose what parts of the plan they will ignore. In our example, a branch manager may want to continue to purchase office supplies from a favorite vendor rather than follow the plan that included centralized purchase of such things by the central corporate office.

If there is a flaw in the plan, it will surface pretty early in the process in which case a review of that aspect of the plan is called for.

In summary, organizational changes need to planned and determined democratically by all impacted and then implemented autocratically by the leader. Without a strong hand at the helm implementing, success will be hard to achieve.

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Don’t Let Your Quest for Success Lead You Into “Resume and/or Interview Fraud”

Don’t let your quest for success lead you Into “Resume and/or Interview Fraud”!!

The fall from grace not too long ago of former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson points out something recruiters have known since the resume was invented – a significant percentage of resumes are fraudulent – as was Thompson’s.

Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

A person’s resume is one thing over which they have TOTAL control. Therefore, there are NO excuses for Scott Thompson’s resume claiming a degree in computer science – which he didn’t have. He lost his job after 130 days at Yahoo.

The very same is true of YOUR resume… it is your work product …you are 100% responsible for its content!

Resume fraud comes in two flavors:

  • Errors of omission – hiding gaps in your work history or otherwise not revealing information that is part of the big picture regarding your background and qualifications.
  • Errors of commission – claiming a non-existent degree, a job title you didn’t have or accomplishments that weren’t yours.

Two other examples of well-known professionals that should have known better:

George O'Leary

George O’Leary

George O’Leary and Ronnie Few. Who?? George O’Leary’s dream job was to be Notre Dame’s head football coach. And he was. For five days in 2001. He claimed to have a master’s degree and to have played college football for three years… but neither were true. Bye – bye George.

few_ronnie_official_photo

Ronnie Few

Ronnie Few was Washington, D.C. Fire Chief beginning in 2000 for 22 months….until it was discovered that he lied about his professional and educational achievements in his resume. Bye-bye Ronnie. The list goes on and on of professionals well up the ladder of success who lost their jobs and creditability over fraudulent resumes.

So – how do employers guard against hiring someone with a ponied up resume?

They verify, verify and verify. A strong reference check will verify every degree and every professional affiliation. Modern search engines and internet search capability can lead prospective employers to the truth in a number of ways.

They look for red flags. Employers look for things that don’t make sense. They look for inconsistencies in stories, experiences and anecdotes. For hires of any significance, multiple interviews by several interviewers is the norm. Interviewers will compare notes to see if things mesh or not. If it doesn’t smell right – they will keep digging. If it doesn’t add up… they just pass on your candidacy.

They will do a Google search on your name. They will search on your full name (e.g. – Robert Harris) and your nickname (e.g. – Bob Harris). They will also search social networking sites as well such as LinkedIn and Google+. The questions is – what will they find there that will not hurt you, but rather help you?

The title above includes “interview fraud”. What is that you ask? Simply put, it is you making incorrect and misleading statements in an interview. If it is on your resume, you will probably be asked about it… in which case you will make statements that at the least “puff” your credentials and at the worst are incorrect .These incorrect and misleading statements will hurt you just as much as a fraudulent resume will once they come to light… and come to light they will with diligent interviewers!

In summary, resume fraud is more common than you would think.. so make sure your resume and interview is 100% truthful!! Don’t follow in the footsteps of Scott, George and Ronnie!!

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Does your Resume “Mirror”?

Don’t Let your Resume Do You In!

The process of screening resumes more and more is being done by scanners looking for specific descriptive words and phrases detailing specific areas of expertise and/or experience. The odds are that this is certainly true for many large organizations and sample resumemany of those that ask you to submit your resume via a web portal.

What does this mean for you?

It means that you need to write your resume to include the EXACT words and descriptive phrases that are found in the job listing or ad. As noted in Chapter 7 (Your Resume: The Key to Your Next Job – Better Get it Right!), every resume submitted needs to be custom written to present your credentials truthfully yet be in sync with what the organization is seeking. It needs to be as perfect a match as can be… word – wise. You may be 100% qualified for the job in question but never make the cut to get that telephone call if the resume screening process includes looking for key words or phrases that are not in your resume!

Website designers know that for a website to be included in the results of a particular internet search, the website in question must contain key words appropriate to the search.

For example, the NRI Staffing Resources’ website includes all of the possible job titles and skill sets appropriate to NRI’s four areas of specialization (accounting/finance, legal, healthcare, office admin/clerical). This tactic increases the chances of an internet search for a job in any of these four areas will bring up the NRI website.

The same principle applies to your resume; rather than trying to get a hit on a search engine, you want a hit on a scanner looking for certain key words and phrases! So it is absolutely necessary that the EXACT words and phrases that detail the desired credentials of the candidate to be hired… be in your resume! Your resume needs to “mirror” the job listing or ad!

What if you are conducting a campaign rather than replying to a specific ad or job posting? Do a search to find an previous ad or job posting for the position you are seeking and include those key words and phrases. If you can’t find an appropriate ad, look to the organization’s mission statement for any descriptive words or phrases that detail the organization’s values, etc. The point is if your resume is to be screened via a scanner, you really need to have the right words and phrases within it. So – think creatively!

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Want to be a Great Leader?

Success comes to those that learn and grow. Preparing yourself for the next step in your career is critical to achieving not only that next job… but the one after that.

This involves thinking and learning. If you desire to be a good leader of people – even a great leader of people – you need to really understand what leadership is all about. The libraries are full of books on leadership and new ones are hitting the street regularly. Yet, the basic principles remain the same. A brief self-analysis on your part will be helpful to gauge where you are on the leadership path.

george-hw-bush-pictureThe following is a re-print (with permission from NRI, Inc.) of one of the essays I wrote for NRI’s “Managing for Excellence” series. To what extent can you grade yourself B+ or better on the following six aspects of leadership?

Want to be a Great Leader?

A Leader Whose People Will Always Deliver the Goods?

The principles are simple and easy. Mastering them and then living them to a high degree is not so easy. Successful people have a healthy degree of humility and self-doubt that keeps them doing tough self-evaluations. As Mitch Fromstein – the late CEO of Manpower –  used to say: “great managers sweat the small stuff”. Sooner or later you’ll make enough mistakes to really learn what follows. The key is to learn them before the mistakes become job-ending ones.

1. Be an expert delegator. Understand that to delegate effectively you need to be specific about what the expectations are… the desired results. You need to be confident that whomever you have delegated to do a task or project has the capability to do so… and the tools and resources to do so. And once delegated – don’t meddle. Get progress reports, but don’t tell staff “how to do it” unless it is clearly going poorly.

2. Make sure your expectations are clear to all. And those expectations are two-fold: yours as a boss and those of the organization. Remember that “he who aims at nothing is likely to hit it!” All who look to you as a leader need to know what is expected of them and how it all fits together to achieve the organization’s objectives. Re-state those expectations periodically; they will fade from staff’s memory if not re-stated in the right context.

3. Never take credit for success – give it to others. Remember the words of President George H.W. Bush –  “mother would lecture us – “give the other guy credit. Nobody likes a braggadocio, George. Don’t talk about yourself all the time.” Wise words for us all. Recognize immediately and publically when people rise to the occasion. Recognize incremental success; not everyone will hit a home run every time… and there are times when effort also counts and also needs to be recognized.

4. It is indeed true that honesty is the best policy. Managers and leaders are judged daily by what they do and say. Straight talk and being forthcoming is critical for people to trust you. Trust lost is virtually impossible to regain. That is not to say that there isn’t a time for ambiguity – there is…but never downright dishonesty.

Hellmans Mayo Lid5. Don’t come unglued. Keeping your cool is critical to being a great boss and leader. Remember the directions on a jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise …. “keep cool – but do not freeze”!  Keep your eye on the target…the big picture….and remember that people are looking at youand to you for guidance. No one has confidence in a boss who gets rattled when the going gets tough.

6. Have a sense of humor. Gotta be able to laugh at yourself…. gotta be able to see the irony in things… gotta “lighten up” when it is called for – but never at someone else’s expense. Humor is a universal ice-breaker.

Learn these lessons… put them in practice… coach your subordinates to do the same. Develop a healthy degree of humility and master the process of evaluating how close to the ideal you are in thesesix dynamics. It takes time and discipline to develop the skills to be a great leader so work on it diligently.