Leadership – Critical for Success – How to Excel in Your Job

Leadership – Critical for Success – How to Excel in Your Job

Peter Drucker said it all when he said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”. *

leadershipBoth are necessary for success… but leadership is harder to pursue and harder to attain.

Any road map for dynamic leadership will include:

1. Seeing the big picture. Picture in your “mind’s eye” the objectives of the organization (or your team, department or business unit). Don’t engage in or permit others to engage in any activity that doesn’t get you closer to achieving those objectives. Sure – every now and then a re-grouping is called for to get back on track… and every now and then some “pro bono” effort is needed….but don’t let extraneous “things” get in the way of pursuing the organization’s objectives.

2. Making sure subordinates are fully informed as to the objective(s) and buy into them. This often involves a discussion of “why”, “how” and “target numbers”.  Give them the parameters of action that can – and can’t – be taken; budgetary limits on spending and any other broad guidelines. Communicate clear and concise expectations of results.

3. Monitoring progress – but not hovering. Let staff do their thing… your monitoring is to prevent disaster, not minor mistakes or errors. “Doing things their own way” may well result in minor errors or mistakes. Make any mistake or error a learning process; risk-taking is inherent in the pursuit of success.  Remember – “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs!”

4. Measuring progress regularly. Benchmark progress against targets, and charge staff with developing plans to address shortfalls or to capitalize on above-target results. Guide their problem solving…but don’t do it for them.

5. Making sure every team member “sweats the small stuff”. One of John Wooden’s maxims for success is, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen”. Every team member needs to acknowledge that each and every task or action needs to be on-target, on-time and error-free. Sloppy execution is a sign of sloppy management. Sloppy management is a sign of poor leadership.

6. Recognizing and rewarding performance…publicly.  People like to be winners. The incremental achievement of targeted objectives determines who the winners are; it is the job of leadership to recognize and reward those individuals and teams. Create programs and mechanisms to regularly and publicly recognize those who achieve and set the standard for others.

OK… six components of effective leadership. Rate yourself on a 1-5 scale for each:

One or two points – I haven’t a clue where to begin

Three points – I am progressing but I have a ways to go

Four points – I am doing well!! Now it’s time to fine-tune

Five points –  Ain’t no such thing as a five… always room to improve.. give yourself a 4.7 or 4.8

Now – add up your points – maximum of 30 possible (6 x 5). Anything less than a twenty means you have your work cut out for yourself. Twenty-five or better – congratulations – Drucker would be proud of you. But don’t rest… keeping it going requires constant attention. Good luck!!

http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Peter_Drucker

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Moving Up the Career Ladder; How to Get that Next Job

Moving Up the Career Ladder; How to Get that Next Job

MovingUpTheLadderA job can be static – no change from day to day. A career, however,  is a progression; increased responsibility, new experiences, increased knowledge and wisdom, more money and usually a more rewarding position.

The big question is – how to make it happen after several years in the same job? You know your job inside and out… and do a good job of it. How to leverage it into your next career step?

Keep in mind that while luck plays a part in any success story, lucky people also make their own good luck! With that exception, however, your career and career path is no one’s responsibility but yours! So – how do you go about building a career path?

Like almost every endeavor – you need a plan:

1. Put together a “brag book”. It really isn’t a book and it isn’t bragging if you actually did it! Create two files – and suggest you make them both digital as well as hard copy.

  • File #1 – a series of documents you have written that detail your achievements and accomplishments. e.g. – “Chaired companywide meetings and efforts to define needs and requirements for a new phone system.” Or “Member of a small steering committee responsible for moving our offices to larger quarters including acquiring all new furniture and installing modular work stations.” These statements will end up in your resume and be talking points for future job interviews. This file includes any certificates you have received for participating in training sessions, community events, etc.
  • File #2 – includes copies of every performance review as well as letters and emails from other complimenting  you on your work. If you get a favorable  comment from a co-worker, supervisor, customer – anyone – document it in this file. Just be sure to include what it was about. “Bill told me thanks and that I was doing a great job” won’t hack it. Rather “Bill complimented me on the results we achieved for 3rd quarter – we were under budget for costs with zero errors” –  more like it!

This file will also provide material for future interviews and your resume but unlike file #1, these come from third parties and are “endorsements” if you will. When you get one – ask the person giving it to go to your LinkedIn profile and “endorse” you for that skill or area of performance. Be assured your LinkedIn profile will be reviewed by every prospective employer and you want those endorsements there!

2. Look ahead to the options available for your next job – specifically if with your current employer and generally if you need to move to a different organization to move up the employment food chain. e.g. –  if you are a staff accountant, your next job might be accounting manager, controller, A/R – A/P manager or some accounting specialty (tax, payroll). If a salesperson, perhaps sales supervisor or lead account sales.

 3. Once identified, research what you need to have in the way of experience and accomplishments to be eligible to apply for that next step. You can ask for more responsibility in your current job or the areas you seek. Offer to assist others….anything to gain the requisite experience. Identify people  who either have or have had the jobs you aspire to. Talk to them and ask them candidly to evaluate your candidacy for such a position. Talk to staffing service professionals that work in your area of expertise and ask them the same questions.

Your objective is to really understand what you need to possess on your resume in addition to the contents of the two files in your “brag book” to be qualified for the next step. Furthermore to know where your shortfalls are so you can work on them.

Also keep in mind that the process is not finite; organizations and hiring authorities have varying standards that must be met – some make sense and some may not. The only way to know for sure is to test the waters. With your current employer ask your boss, “I want to move up in the department – where do you see the opportunities are for me and what do I need to do to be qualified for them”. Register with one or two really good staffing services and go thru the  process of interviewing for a new position. Discreetly if currently employed; you don’t want to jeopardize the bird in hand!

4. Finally – exhibit positive factors critical when interviewing such as:

  • Possess and exhibit a great attitude.
  • Possess and exhibit a great work ethic.
  • Mirror the behavior, dress and communication skills of those you see as role models.
  • Understand and “talk the talk” of your current employer; exhibit pride to be working there –  be an ambassador for the organization to the outside world.

And as you go through the process – be reasonably patient. See my post of March 18 “To The Kid At The End Of The Bench – Careers and Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight”.

You don’t want to be someone who changes jobs every 2 or 3 years…unless it is with the same employer.  Changing employers frequently brands you as a “job-hopper”!

Good luck moving up the career ladder!

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12 Things to Do After Being Laid Off… (To Find A New Job!)

Today’s blog post was written by Bob McIntosh and came from his website http://thingscareerrelated.com –  a site with some great information …on things “career-related” naturally! Many thanks to Bob for letting me share this with you!

It could be sub-titled The Best Way to Find a New Job… so read on!

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12I was recently asked this question, “You just got laid off. Which is more important, start networking or spend a week writing your résumé?” I thought this was a great question but also believe jobseekers have to think of other important activities when starting their job search after a lay-off.

Below are some of the must do’s for people who are starting their job search. You’ll note that dusting off your résumé and networking are far down the list of priorities.

1. Take time to regroup. This is perhaps one of the most important things you can do when starting your job search. It’s also something people neglect to do by jumping right into the hunt the same day they’re laid off. Conversely, some people wait too long to begin the search, considering this a time to take a “vacation.”

2. Evaluate your frame of mind. Understand that unemployment can play emotional havoc on your psyche and may require seeking professional help. Many of my customers have shared with me their despondency and even depression after being laid off or let go.

3. Think about what you want to do. Now is the time to think about what you really want to do, not what you feel comfortable doing. When I was laid off, I realized that I wanted to change my career. Deciding what I wanted to do was one of my top priorities. I had direction.

4. Be dedicated to your job search. Determining your direction could take some contemplation, especially if you’re changing your career. Once you’ve decided on path you want to take, dedicate all you effort to getting there. Is it necessary to spend 40+ hours on your job search I ask my workshop attendees. I don’t think so. More like 25+ hours of smart job seeking is more like it.

5. Assess your greatest skills. This is tough for many people, especially those who have a hard time promoting themselves, so solicit the help of others with whom you worked or know in your daily life. Create a list of your strongest skills and accomplishments. These will make good fodder for your new and improved résumé.

6. Begin telling everyone you know–everyone. That’s right, everyone. You may think your sister in New York would never know of opportunities in Boston, but you never know who she may know who knows someone in Boston. Don’t focus only on the people with whom you worked; you’re limiting your reach.

7. Dust off the résumé. Ideally you should have been updating your résumé while working, but we know how work demands leave little time to do this, and when we return from a hard day of work we have little if any energy to work on our résumé.

8. Get on LinkedIn. With all the articles written about the effectiveness of LinkedIn, you should know by now that most employers–approximately 95%–are culling talent on LinkedIn. Take the time to do it right, though. Create a powerful profile and be active by updating often, joining and participating in groups, sending invites, etc.

9. Get out of the house. Your style might lean more toward attending networking groups, professional affiliations, volunteering, or using your local library’s computers (even if you have your own). Don’t forget your local One-Stop career centers that offer you resources and training and education. Get out of the house.

10. Step up your exercising or begin exercising. Nothing is better for the mind than improving your physical condition. You don’t have to join a club. Simply walk every morning or do yoga. Make sure you get up at the same time you rose from bed when you were working. Do not let your routine slip.

11. Develop your company list. You’re now in a good position to figure out what type of companies for which you’d like to work. Identifying the companies can help you with your research on them and career possibilities. Your list will also come in handy when networking with jobseeker groups and informational contacts.

12. Start knocking on companies’ doors. Use your company list to be proactive by approaching growing companies either by sending an approach letter introducing yourself to them or literally visiting your companies. Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute, asserts that your chance of getting a job is 47% if you use this method alone.

The list of must do’s could be endless, but it’s important to keep in mind the important actions needed to properly start your job search. If you are having difficulty getting motivated, speak to close friends, relatives, or trained job-search professionals who can help you with this serious problem. Motivation is required in order to put our plan into action.

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Again – many thanks to Bob McIntosh for sharing. Check out his website for more job-seeking resources –  http://thingscareerrelated.com

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“On-Boarding” Yourself – Avoiding the Mistakes that New Hires Can Make!

A procedure followed by most organizations when someone new is hired is to go through an “On-Boarding process – a process  to get the new hire oriented and off to a good and solid start.

Let’s talk about the sales-onboarding-Sales-Management-Workshop-300x213process of you On-Boarding yourself to avoid some common mistakes new hires can make!!

Just as first impression count – so do mistakes and displays of poor judgment during your first months on the job. After time – you will figure it out – or you will be gone! The key is to have a roadmap of do’s and don’ts to follow from day one.

  1. Dress and act on day one as you did for your interviews – day one on the job is still “show time”. As is week one and month one! Dress and act accordingly. Over the first several weeks – take measure of how people dress, how informal or formal is the culture. Adjust gradually as may be appropriate…but don’t be on the cutting edge – don’t dress to match the most casual or to mirror the most informal of those you work with. What you don’t want to do is to stand out in this regard!
  2. Pay attention to processes and procedures – take notes as may be needed. You may be given some written manuals or instructions as to certain aspects of your job. If not – take notes as things are described and/or as you are trained. What you don’t want to do is to require repetitive briefings on procedures and processes you could have captured in writing for future reference as needed!
  3. Sweat the small stuff. Operate in an error-free mode. Check your work and proofread.  You want to be – and be thought of – as a “Go-To” person. Those people don’t make mistakes – and if they do – they only make them once!  A great mindset I encourage everyone to adopt is “Do each and every task – no matter how small – with the skill, precision and efficiency of which you can be justly proud”. If you are asked to do some menial work – do it and do it in a first-class matter. It will be noticed.
  4. Minimize (truly!)  the social networking/media/texting, etc.  while on the job. First of all – when in a meeting or in a conversation – NEVER check emails or see what triggered the sound announcing an incoming whatever (news flash, text, etc.). It is just plain rude! Check email and respond to texts, etc. during breaks – not while you are focusing on the work at hand. Constant checking and responding breaks your focus on your work …and your inattention to the work at hand will be noticed!
  5. Avoid engaging in an office romance. They rarely end well, are NEVER a secret, can be very disruptive to morale. And if you do – against this advice – NEVER do so with a boss or subordinate… that is a job-losing course of action! And if you do – against this advice – NEVER do so while new on the job – don’t treat your workplace in such a cavalier manner!

Only you are responsible to manage your career…and that responsibility begins fresh each time you take a new job. Whether or not your new employer has an On-Boarding process for you to follow , set one up for yourself using these guidelines. Devise and manage your own On-Boarding process – one that will avoid job-ending mistakes! Good luck!

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Changing Careers? Some practical advice and how to find resources to help pave the way!

The following is a question asked following the webinar I did for the alumni of Georgetown University entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work” along with my response:

Dear Mr. Mulberger,

I enjoyed listening to your webinar this afternoon and thought that your presentation was very informative and interesting.

transition-3rd-blogI would like to receive your suggestions on how to go about changing careers from teaching math to working as an actuary. There are certain skills that overlap, however, there are other desired skills that do not show up on the resume. How could the cover letter and resume be enhanced to highlight qualifications? Would you recommend going back to school for an additional degree?

Thank you very much and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

“Webinar Attendee”

Dear “Webinar Attendee”

Glad it was of value for you!!

Before you sign up for another degree suggest you find a way to talk to a few practicing actuaries and and/or those who run such a department or internal program.

A quick google search for “actuary associations” brought up: http://www.actuary.org/ with this contact information – 1850 M St NW #300, Washington, DC – (202) 974-6007

The search also brought up other entities…all fertile ground for research.

Suggest you make some phone calls…you will note that the association President slot changes annually.. so they are volunteer leaders…practicing actuaries…. the Executive Director runs the association (is a salaried employee).. Track down one or more of them and ask them the questions that will give you the answers as to what your challenges will be to make that change. http://www.actuary.org/content/messages-president

“I am very interested in making the change from teaching match to being an actuary. Can you spare a few minutes to give me some  guidance and answer a question or two?” Most will say yes!

BTW – creative google searching is a great way to find and then gain access to people… I cover it extensively in a full chapter in my book….

Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!

Robb

As a matter of note – use google searches to find trade association professionals you can talk to such as I advised this person. I have a very detailed chapter in the book – “Basic and Advanced Internet Search Techniques” –detailing the Boolean Operators and how to get the most results with the least effort.

Do a google search – just copy and paste this string into a google search window; substitute your area of  interest for “actuary” and “actuarial”. Note the this search string follows google algorithms –  google search “rules” – type it EXACTLY as it appears here if you can’t copy and paste it.

(actuary OR actuarial)  (association OR society OR “professional society”)

From there – make contact as I suggested to my “webinar attendee”!

Good luck!!

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How do I Make a Career Transition?

The following is another question asked following the webinar I did for the alumni of Georgetown University entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work” along with my response:

Dear Mr. Mulberger,

I enjoyed listening to your webinar this afternoon and thought that your presentation was very informative and interesting.

transition-3rd-blogI would like to receive your suggestions on how to go about changing careers from teaching math to working as an actuary. There are certain skills that overlap, however, there are other desired skills that do not show up on the resume. How could the cover letter and resume be enhanced to highlight qualifications? Would you recommend going back to school for an additional degree?

Thank you very much and I look forward to your response.

My response was:

Glad it was of value for you!!

Before you sign up for another degree suggest you find a way to talk to a few practicing actuaries and and/or those who run such a department or internal program.

A quick google search for “actuary associations” brought up: http://www.actuary.org/ with this contact information – 1850 M St NW #300 Washington, DC – (202) 974-6007

The search also brought up other entities…all fertile ground for research.

Suggest you make some phone calls…you will note that the association President slot changes annually.. so they are volunteer leaders…practicing actuaries…. the Exec Dtr runs the assoc. Track down one or more of them and ask them the questions that will give you the answers as to what your challenges will be to make that change. See http://www.actuary.org/content/messages-president

You might ask “I am very interested in making the change from teaching match to being an actuary. Can you spare a few minutes to give me some guidance and answer a question or two?” Most will say yes!

Creative google searching is a great way to find and then gain access to people… I cover it extensively in a full chapter in my book….

Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!

Robb

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