What Employees Should Know About Team Transfers

Whether voluntary or not, change in any capacity poses its challenges.  Nevertheless, alterations in our routine are certain to generate opportunities for development and expansion of knowledge.

In the workplace, we may choose to stay within our comfort zones; even preferring to trade a chance at professional growth for an existing sense of security.  However, quite commonly, we eventually reach a point where change is not only imminent, but necessary in order to begin the next chapter in our career. For those who are not quite ready to re-enter the job market, this next step may simply include transferring to a new team within their current organization. Thus, following some basic steps will make the shift significantly less taxing.

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Author and career content writer, Ryan Galloway, cites the valuable advice of Stephanie Linker, member of the global investment management corporation, BlackRock. It is there she lead a team responsible for event and mobile technology and even launched the company’s first mobile app.  After several years in this role, Linker knew she was ready to take on more responsibility, which soon characterized the next stage of her career.

1.  Build a sense of familiarity.

Linker recommends making the effort to meet as many individuals on various teams within your organization. Building and/or fine-tuning your own personal brand, while asking the right questions and seeking mentorship when necessary, will help provide the foundation you need to enter the next phase in your career. Linker suggests workers aim to gain insight on a team’s most significant needs and challenges, as well as working and leadership styles.

2.  Clearly – but carefully – express your intentions.

Galloway quotes Linker who affirms, “Communication is key when considering an internal move. How you convey the message that you’d like to work on another team can mean the difference between a smooth transition and messy break-up”. Expand upon the formally scheduled meetings and performance reviews, but refrain from directly asking for a transfer right away. Rather, focus on communicating your interest in the team with which you’d like to work, as well as your eagerness to gain knowledge on a larger portion of the company. Once it’s time to make the shift, the process will seem more natural, creating less static during the process.

3.  Consider your choices.

Before entirely committing to their pursuit, employees must ask themselves some fundamental questions regarding their potential transfer. These questions should include 1) whether the role will offer a sufficient level of challenge, 2) if it will help you grow professionally, 3) how it will fit within your lifestyle, 4) whether you will be gaining new skills or maximizing current ones, and 5) what you will be giving up by transferring to another team.

4.  Never “burn your bridges”.

Remaining on good terms with former team members is always recommended, but unlike starting a brand new job, a transfer means that you are still basically maintaining the same group of colleagues and coworkers. While your direct daily connections will change, you may still be dealing with the members of your former team on some level. Showing that you continue to be a supportive part of the whole will ease any tension as you learn to define your new role with new team members.

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Conclusion

As a final word, Linker offers the following advice to employees pondering the option of a team transfer: “You’ve got to ask for what you want. If you see a place where you can add value, you’ve got to raise your hand. No one’s going to hand you your next opportunity.” And we couldn’t agree more.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Informational Interviews: Understanding the Basics

What is an informational interview?

Also referred to as an “informational conversation”, an informational interview is a type of meeting where job seekers attempt to obtain guidance on their career of choice, industry, as well as the corporate culture of a potential future place of employment. Meanwhile, employers have the opportunity to learn more about a specific job seeker, ascertaining their possible value to the organization as well as their potential fit within the corporate culture, while also building upon their own pool of viable future hires.

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In an informational interview, job seekers can be either active or passive candidates; meaning they may be true job seekers or employed professionals looking to gather knowledge about their field of choice. In either case, the candidate is gaining valuable leads, network contacts, and expertise.

How do informational interviews differ from typical job interviews?

In a traditional job interview, the conversation is centered upon hiring and a specific job to be filled; whereas an informational interview provides level ground for participants to learn about one another on a more equal basis. However, it’s important to note that even if a direct employment opportunity is not being discussed, professionalism is still top priority.

Coined by best-selling career author, Richard Nelson Bolles, an informational interview can either be initiated by a job seeker or by an employer seeking to construct an assemblage of candidates for possible future positions.

However, when a candidate initiates an informational interview, close attention must be paid to etiquette. Job seekers should remain heedful of the fact that the employer is taking time out of their schedule to meet with them. In this instance – much like a traditional job interview – educating one’s self about the company and industry is crucial. Also, be sure that the meeting does not markedly exceed the 15-minute mark.

How should one locate contacts for an informational interview?

Much like a traditional job search or candidate screening process, connections can be made through job boards, career and social networking sites, placement services, newspaper “want-ads”, professional meet-up and trade associations, company websites, teachers and professors, professional recruiters, and job search engines.

What are some tips for job seekers looking to conduct their own informational interview?

Executive/career coach, speaker, and author, Tad Mayer offers some helpful guidelines for candidates looking to organize an informational interview with a prospective employer or expert in their field.

1.  Set an agenda that will get you the answers you need.

Ask the other party for their “story”, background, and what led them to their current role or position. Follow this question by asking for any pertinent advice that the employer or field expert can offer. For purposes of reference, be sure to provide information about yourself as well. By explaining your “story” to the other individual, you are providing them with a more effective opportunity to offer their assistance. Once they can understand your unique perspective, they will be better able to properly tailor their responses and advice in a more helpful way.

2.  Reach out to the right people.

Assure that the individual with whom you choose to connect will be both helpful and reliable. In other words, search for contacts who not only possess valuable knowledge based on where you are in your career, but also those who are most likely to agree to the meeting. Mayer asserts that the latter criterion is essential, especially when you are starting out. The more informational interviews you are able to complete with willing individuals, the more practice you will have for those deeper in your network.

Informational-Interview-Woman-accessing-Social-Network.jpgThe Takeaway

The reasons for partaking in this often overlooked career resource can be limitless, and the benefits are often multi-faceted. Whether you walk away with a job offer, some future networking prospects, or even a new friendship; informational interviews are a win-win for everyone involved.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

What To Do When You’re Dissatisfied With Your New Job

You have finally secured a position at that illustrious company you have been eyeing for several years now. After a series of interviews with the organization’s most relevant decision-makers, you are hoping this will be the job where you can finally settle in, long-term.

However, there are those certain occasions when our initial impression of a company may not quite correspond with the reality of the job and what it entails. If you find yourself in this position, you are certainly not alone. In fact, a recent study performed by the software company, BambooHR, indicates that nearly 31 percent of all new recruits quit within the first six months of employment.

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While sometimes the best response is to immediately seek new employment, it is also crucial to think before you act. Lea McLeod, career coach, author, and founder of the Job Success Lab, shares some strategic advice with employees who have found themselves ultimately dissatisfied at a new job.

1.  Identify what works and what doesn’t.

So, if you’ve decided that you “hate” your new job, ask yourself why; and avoid generalizations at all costs. We all feel a little “out of sorts” when we start a brand new job. McLeod states, “You’re used to feeling competent and now you don’t. This sense of discomfort might feel like failure or frustration – and that might be the source of your thoughts of quitting”.

Conversely, there is also the chance that the work is not what you originally agreed to, the culture is negative, or perhaps you’re dealing with the results of poor management. Unfortunately, these are circumstances that may not improve with time.

However, McLeod recommends that new hires also look for aspects of the job that are working. “Maybe you’re working for a great company with potential for advancement. There might be great mentors and experienced professionals on your team to learn from,” adds McLeod. Consider whether the long-term benefits outweigh the current or short-term negatives and/or inconveniences. At this point, you’ll be better adept at deciding upon your next course of action.

2.  Communicate with your manager.

Once a company has invested the time and resources in recruiting a new employee, they will likely not be thrilled at the idea of having to start the process all over again, especially after only a short period of time. Therefore, it’s quite likely you’ll be able to utilize this as a form of leverage while being honest about any problems you are having on the job.  If the company went through the process of choosing you above another group of candidates, they were probably quite confident in your ability to succeed in the position for which you were hired.

Perhaps there is a circumstance of which your boss is not aware, which can be easily rectified. It’s common – even for those in leadership positions – to unknowingly fall into non-constructive professional patterns. A reasonable manager will prefer that you communicate your thoughts calmly and honestly, rather than suffer in silence while your productivity plummets, causing you to eventually move on to a new opportunity.  “[By] asking for what you need,” says McLeod, “you may be able to change the path of this new job”.

3.  Create a time frame.

Since all new jobs require a certain period of learning and acclimation, McLeod suggests that unsatisfied new hires dedicate a certain time frame to making things work. “Get a mentor. Meet weekly with your manager. Build relationships with the colleagues and teams around you. Do everything you can in your control to make the job the best experience possible,” says McLeod.

If at the end of the timeline, you’ve noticed that nothing has improved and your feelings toward the position are unchanged, this is when you should consider a plan to move on to something more suitable.

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In Closing

Often, we are swept away by prominent names, highly competitive salaries, and other valuable perquisites when job hunting; yet there are so many other important factors which contribute to the success and sustainability of a job offer.  Even if the initial impression we receive during our interview shows potential signs of a negative fit, we may ignore our gut feelings or even rationalize what we’ve acknowledged, simply because we need the job.  And who can blame us?  That is why McLeod, and most career experts at large, will continue to reiterate the importance of practicing “due diligence” during your job search.  Ask the right questions and trust your instincts for a better shot of staying out of that infamous 31 percent.

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Corporate Vision: How to Communicate Your Ideas to Team Members

When deliberating upon factors most conducive to a successful business, there are few points more meaningful than that of effective communication. This is far from a new subject, even in conventional business circles; however, we believe that as standards and expectations rise with an executive through the ranks, so must the complexity of your understanding of core concepts and methods. To have a phenomenal and dynamic corporate plan is one thing; it is entirely another to be able to shape and share that vision so that it materializes in the minds of the crucial team members that will be working together to bring it about. As the leader (even if the plan itself is fundamentally collaborative) it is still in your hands to not only illustrate the plan cohesively, but you must also inspire your team to get that creative energy required for a true vision.

 

 

The Roots

Now, getting into the foundation of it all, our first step is to develop a well-fleshed-out vision statement.

A corporate vision statement is an overview, summary, and precursor rolled into one powerhouse delivery which, if done correctly, can be one of the most dynamic and powerful tools at your disposal for decision-making at every strategic juncture of operations, from rollout to closing.

We’re going to take a quick step back to make a key distinction that is often a bit muddled:  The difference between a proper vision statement and the company’s mission statement. The distinction is one of focus and it breaks down fairly simply:  A mission statement pertains to what is, while a vision statement seeks to shape what will be.

To develop a solid vision statement that is truly effective, it must in turn be crafted by as many guiding perspectives at the highest level of the company. Therefore, it’s recommended that you seek out and redraft as many times as needed to get a truly cross-sectional statement from all the leading players; such as your board and stakeholders, as well as department heads and management personnel.

The Crafting

Now that we have our definitions lined up, it’s time to hit the collaborative drawing board with some of these tips firmly in mind:

Project: This is about the future, so think ahead creatively and with gusto. Where in your team’s wildest dreams do you want to be in five years? How about ten?

Clarity: Remember, your vision statement has to not only be comprehensible, but inspiring. You want to engage your team every bit as much as challenge them (and yourself).

Progressive: In keeping with the purpose of the vision, use strong and active language. Nothing in your vision statement should be remotely passive.

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The Rollout

Finally, don’t be afraid to challenge your statement. In fact, this is how you go from draft to cohesion, with constructive input and evolution-based critique. Putting your vision through the grindstone will inevitably lead to a stronger and more stable whole, every time. Above all, avoid the dross of carbon-copied language and buzzwords. Your vision needs to present clear emotional content:  A complicated goal when dealing wholly with pre-established corporate cultures.

Equally vital, is that you know precisely who you’re targeting. A statement crafted around an IT organization is going to be markedly different from that of a marketing agency, and understandably so.

In the end, the astute executive emerges from this process as more effective leader, on all fronts.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Understanding Artificial Intelligence and its Effect on the Job Market

Earliest Signs

In the 15th Century in the Netherlands, if you were a weaver, it was a manual skill you learned from your mother, and she from hers.  It was a coarse-weave you created, but it was the only thing available.  At least, that was so until the steam or water-powered textile loom came along and took away a large part of your livelihood.

That technological behemoth could turn out high quality, finely woven cloth by the yard…by the mile!  That was “automation”—and its first big impact on human labor.

People have railed at automation in the past, and these weavers were said to have thrown their wooden shoes (sabot) into the machines in protest.  It may not be true, but it could possibly be where we get the word “sabotage”.

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There is a Difference

We need to make a distinction here.  Automated Manufacture (AM) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are two completely different concepts, and that must be perfectly clear.

Automation is not an intelligent process.  It does eliminate some jobs (usually very difficult ones), but also creates many others.  The machines must be maintained by someone, and usually more is produced, so it must be sold, shipped, and handled, requiring more people.

Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, is a simulation of human thought process by a program designed to take unregulated input, interpret it in a human-centric context, and respond as a human would.  For example:

A pair of empty paint cans come down twin conveyor belts, heading for two filling stations—one automated, the other controlled by AI.  On the AM side, the can comes to a stop under a spigot when it hits a solenoid switch.  The AM dispenses one gallon of paint, applies a lid, and presses it closed before sending it on to the labeling machine.

On the AI line, the conveyor is halted when a camera recognizes that a paint-can has arrived.  It follows it protocols, fills the can, puts a lid on it, and sends it off to the labeling machine.  The net effect is the same, however…

Let’s imagine that the cans fell over, or that they are upside down.  Now what happens?  The AM machine is going to pump a gallon of paint and make a mess.  The AI machine will not.

It has been trained to react to problems.  Maybe it has an air-powered piston that will kick the can into a “reject” container.  If it is really sophisticated, it may have a system to rotate a can under its scanner until it recognizes that the can is oriented properly before proceeding with the operation.  In either case, no paint was wasted, no mess was made, and the company saved money.

There are lots of examples of routine, middle-skilled jobs that involve relatively structured tasks, and those are the jobs that are being eliminated the fastest. Those kinds of jobs are easier for our friends in the artificial intelligence community to design robots to handle them. They could be software robots; they could be physical robots—Erik Brynjolfsson; American Academic, Professor /Director at MIT

AI Learning

As AI advances, it can be left on its own to experiment (either in reality or in simulations; it has no way to tell the difference).  It has massive speed and infinite patience so it can try every possible combination within the parameters given by its human teacher.

After thousands and thousands of tries, it learns to group certain actions together that lead to success, and eliminate strategies that always fail.  This is the way humans learn, too.

Advantages

A sufficiently indoctrinated AI is called an “Expert System”.  Consider an AI programmed with all the knowledge, techniques, and strategies of the top 20 Thoracic Surgeons in the entire world.  That would be great if the International Space Station had a remote Robotic Surgeon and an astronaut had appendicitis.  And that’s only 250 miles.  How about that same unit (dozens of copies) all over the world run from a central location, or each being discrete and autonomous?

That expertise can cover any field from auto mechanics to particle physics, but it can go a step further and freely combine the knowledge of one field with another in order to make new connections and extrapolations that humans might not make for years, centuries, or ever.  The fact is that a hacker doesn’t know what an electrician knows, who doesn’t know what a gardener knows, who doesn’t know what an electronics engineer knows, and so on…  Blending of knowledge could remove most of the impediments to our progress.

For example, we talk about esoteric materials—like Carbon Nanotubes—being necessary to build a “space elevator”.  We require a material strong enough to support its own weight from Geo-stationary Orbit all the way down to the surface of the Earth so that a ride into space would cost between $1-3.00 per kilogram, instead of our current price of up to $20,000 per kilogram via rocket.

That’s all very noble, but it is difficult to accomplish.  Scientists have been working on this for decades and still haven’t come up with an answer.  An AI might be able to solve the problem in weeks or months.  Maybe we already have the knowledge for anti-gravity, warp drive, or teleporters, but it is spread over dozens of fields and professions, and might never be discovered because there are so many barriers to understanding between disciplines.

Disadvantage—You’ll have to learn

Jobs like data entry and server maintenance have the potential for going the way of the dinosaur.  These are easy tasks for early and basic artificial intelligence programs.

If you want to go into the field of artificial intelligence yourself, it’s going to be necessary to study things like statistics, robotics, and algebra.  There are even courses of study arising in our educational institutions.  Do your research to make sure that they are not just pandering and are actually offering something of value.

If you want to stick to the more familiar things, then Data Science is probably a very good bet.  We’re still going to need human minds to figure out how to sort Big Data to get the most use out of it.  So make sure you understand things like Ruby, Python, Hadoop, SQL, Java, and JavaScript, of course.

Jobs will go, but new ones will arise

AI will displace workers—there is no doubt—but people already working in Tech will have a relatively easy time of upgrading their skills to remain relevant.  For people outside of tech, there are still opportunities.

The job of teaching AIs how to understand spoken English is falling to actual English teachers.  By simply expanding their skills a tiny bit in the computer field, they suddenly become a much-desired commodity in the world of computer AI development.

If you step back and look at technology from every era, it has displaced jobs but also created a lot of jobs—Ginni Rometty; American Businesswoman, President/CEO of IBM

It’s only going to get better

AI will eventually be able to spot a cyberattack in mere microseconds, and end it.  Right now, however, security is a great field to be working in.  Some employees still make poor judgments like open unexpected e-mail attachments, or follow links to unvetted websites.  And, as with anything new, IoT, or the Internet of Things, is exposing us to a brand new collection of vulnerabilities.

In the latter case, the camera which you have covering your inside front door so that you can see when the kids get home from school—it might be hackable and accessible to anyone in your neighborhood.  The same is true for that nanny-cam you keep in the children’s bedroom “just in case”.  If you can write code that delivers unhackable IoT devices so parents know that strangers aren’t watching their children, you’ll have a job for life.

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The Takeaway

Knowing that change is coming, and is inevitable, is what will allow you to be prepared.  Don’t wait until the last moment.  If what you are doing now is likely to change substantially, start building your adaptation strategy immediately.  This is all the warning you are likely to get so take advantage of it!

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