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.

Vision-Statement-Graphic

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”.

AI-Touch-Screen-Technology-Graphic.

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.

AI-Professional-Woman-Action-Blurb-Graphic

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!

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon:  Tech Employment Opportunities Still Ranked Near the Top in U.S.

Helpful Tips For Composing a Difficult Email

While no one ever wants to be the bearer of bad news, there are times when we must compose a difficult or even “harsh” email. Whether it be sharing honest feedback, a differing opinion, or informing a colleague of a mistake; these instances which may not quite warrant a phone call or personal meeting, are still worthy of a properly written message.

male hands working with laptop computer

Often, however, even the most harmless words can be misinterpreted in written form, so naturally those conveying criticism of any kind have the potential to create more unnecessary tension between you and the recipient.

Preventing fallout is the goal when sending a hard email, yet fortunately, Sara McCord, professional advisor, writer, and career contributor, has offered some valuable guidelines for composing those difficult emails.

Line one: Start with a friendly opener.

McCord states, “When you’re writing the opening line (after the salutation that is), it can be helpful to imagine it’s a conversation. If someone walked up to you and dove right into their point, you’d be put off.” Often it’s something as simple and obvious as “Hope you enjoyed your weekend” or “How are you today?” that can get the message off to a good start.

Line two: Thank your recipient.

When appropriate, recognize your reader’s efforts. In short, always acknowledge the positive before the negative. Thanking your recipient for their efforts, time, work or thoughts on the issue at hand, can help to soften the impact of the rest of your message.

Line three: Show that you understand your reader’s perspective.

Of course, you don’t want to waste too much time before getting to the main idea, but pointing out a possible strength within the recipient’s work, standpoint, or input, will help them keep an open mind to the actual point you are trying to make. As an example, McCord suggests, “…you might tell a direct report that you can see how the strategy they implemented would help the team operate better [or] you might tell a colleague they did a great job addressing the client’s main concern”. However, what is important here is to keep your comments honest and sincere, as most people notice when they’re being “softened up” for something negative. Also, be sure to keep the praise related to the issue at hand, and don’t overdo it to the point where your main message becomes muddled in the process.

Main body of email: Provide structured explanation.  

While you may feel that your recipient does not particularly care to read the details of why you are heading in a different direction, in actuality, it shows your reader that you have enough respect for their input and intelligence when you do provide ample explanation. Nevertheless, you do want to avoid over-elaborating on the problem, so try to keep your sentences as clear and concise as possible. McCord suggests the examples, “We decided to go a different direction because we needed a strategy that prioritized cost-effectiveness, due to budget constraints”; or perhaps, “… I’d love to see [these] changes carried through other aspects of the presentation because we’d like them to be consistent”. If you are offering multiple changes, McCord advises the use of bullet points to clearly delineate your ideas. However, the key is to include the reasons for your change in each sentence. In this case, budget constraints and/or consistency throughout a presentation are the desired results.

Concluding line:  Offer your assistance.

McCord advises that, as the writer, you should “[always] end by asking if you could clarify anything or answer any questions”. While it’s commonplace to remind the reader to contact you with any questions, there is an important purpose for including those words. Ending your email simply with your critique provides a very one-sided approach to the subject. Offering your help, not only shows your concern with the reader’s response, but also upholds a collaborative spirit wherein you convey the message that you plan to solve the issue together.

Of course, the sign-off consisting of a simple “thank you”, “best”, or “sincerely”, is all you need for a closing.

Subject Line: Choose words carefully

While the subject line is reliant upon the content of the email, you should still keep the tone non-confrontational and constructive. Some even suggest that for emails of this type, avoiding words like “urgent” is a good idea. Also, be sure not to offer too much information directly from the body of the message in the subject line.

Email Envelope On Mobile Showing One Message Received

Integrating these tips the next time you must compose a difficult or potentially negative email may just make the experience less uncomfortable for both you and your recipient.

Further reading:  The Importance of Skilled Business Writing

 

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

Have a Great Idea at Work? Getting Superiors to Approve Your Suggestions

Do you have a great idea for your company? Perhaps you’ve thought of a way to save on expenses or speed up production. Conversely, maybe you’ve already submitted an idea and had it rejected. Most managers encourage feedback and ideas from employees and staff members. However, even good ideas can be rejected if they are not presented correctly. Time is money, and for managers, if the idea doesn’t spark immediate interest while proving a certain amount of worth, your good idea may be discarded.

Getting Superiors to Approve Your Ideas - professional man and woman speaking

Unfortunately, the majority of ideas presented by employees are never implemented. In his article, “10 Ways to get Your Boss to Support Your Ideas”, leadership expert, Dan McCarthy stated, “I’d compare [the chances that management will accept your idea] to baseball. A 300 average (three ideas implemented out of ten) and you’re an all-star.”

However, before submitting your next great idea to your superiors, here are some tips to help ensure that your suggestions will have a greater chance of crossing the threshold into realization.

Tips for suggesting ideas to managers

  1. Research thoroughly. Before even thinking about going to your supervisor or manager, make sure your idea is thoroughly researched from every possible angle. Are other companies implementing something similar, and if so, how is it working?
  2. Know key personnel. As you develop a plan to reveal a new idea, it would be beneficial to first understand the personality or leanings of the person or people to whom you’ll be presenting and direct the presentation towards those individual(s). For example, a manager with an analytical sense will want to see charts, graphs and figures, while a more intuitive type of manager may prefer to hear the information verbally, as it relates to the facts.
  3. FOMO can be a powerful incentive. The “Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, is a common mindset which may actually work to your advantage while highlighting ideas being presented to management. While most companies will be hesitant to risk their reputations on new ideas without a fail-safe guarantee of success, they will also consider certain risks to avoid being surpassed by their competitors.
  4. List the benefits. How is this new idea going to benefit the manager and the company? Obviously, employees may have plenty of ideas and suggestions to help ease their own working burdens, but a manager will want to see how it will affect their job duties and the company as a whole. Will this new idea provide financial gain or savings, and if so, in what ways? Will it require hiring more employees or laying any off? Does it enhance production times?
  5. Conduct an experiment first. Find a way to conduct an experiment and use the results as part of your presentation. An experiment is a great way to show your plan in action while providing valuable facts and information that a verbal presentation on its own wouldn’t likely be able to accomplish.

Getting Superiors to Approve Your Ideas - woman presenting graph

Ideas and suggestions are usually welcomed by upper management. However, remember that the majority of suggestions are never implemented, so don’t be discouraged if an idea isn’t accepted: Instead, concentrate not only on building upon and improving your idea, but solidifying its presentation as well.

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

Communications Review: Are You Sending Effective Business E-mails?

Here to Stay

It’s safe to say that hard-copy interoffice memos are passé; as they’ve long since been supplanted by the ubiquitous e-mail.  The functionality of e-mail allows us to stay in touch with our customers, suppliers, and team members with a significantly lowered cost and increased speed over traditional snail-mail.

business-emails-keyboard_envelope_email-keyE-mail also ameliorates some of the challenges of communicating through international time zones.  For example, your location in New York likely makes it difficult to speak at will to your partners in Japan or Australia, in real time.  Yet, through e-mail, business associates from remote locations can communicate with greater ease, as well as speed.

On a social/personal level, most have forgone the traditional e-mail in favor of texting and other instant messaging platforms, yet in the business world, there remains a certain sense security and formality to an e-mail message.  The ability to encrypt messages, attach confidential documents, schedule messages for later dates, track message arrivals, receive automatic receipt notices when your message has been opened, and correspond with several parties at once, makes e-mail a standard choice for almost all types of business communications.

Best of all, e-mails leave an undeniable electronic “paper-trail”, complete with time and date.  If the need ever arises, you can follow all of your correspondence paths, and even review earlier messages without first needing to file them somewhere physical in order to search and recover them, or any other sort of complex action.

It’s unmistakable that the advantages of e-mail in the business world are immense.  For better or worse, e-mail is a vital part of our culture’s communication method, especial in the business sector. As it won’t be going away anytime soon, be sure you are using it to its full and most effective advantage.

Here, we discuss some basic, yet perhaps forgotten or overlooked, imperatives which we should all be upholding when sending business e-mails.

Good vs. Bad

Succinct Communication

William Shakespeare once wrote “Brevity is the soul of wit”, yet seemingly, many neglect this concept.  Self-importance is hardly a reason to pollute your communications with effects that only you want to hear.

One Question Rule

Ask one question (or two, closely related questions) per e-mail.  Is your e-mail program set up with only an INBOX, SENT and TRASH folder?  Chances are, you have folders for people, various sub-topics, accounts, projects, and so on.

The individual who sends out an e-mail requesting a response regarding the latest financial report, the date of your next golf outing, when you’ll be sending over your new hire assessment, as well as the results of the most recent customer survey, may have a difficult time getting a timely (or complete) response from his or her recipient(s).

Even today, many  individuals feel they are doing their associates a favor by condensing a myriad of issues into one e-mail message, when, in fact, they are actually obscuring the significance of the most important matters (i.e., financial report) while reducing the chances of a timely response on any of the other less pressing questions (i.e., golf outing).  Categorizing questions – even if it means sending an extra e-mail or two – will allow recipients to easily organize topics, better dedicate their responses, and reply in a more timely and thorough manner.

Efficiency

While you should never use the subject-line to type out the bulk of your e-mail’s text, this space should definitely not be ignored or disregarded.  If you must send out a general reminder notice to your group, you can save everyone time by including the brief details in the Subject-line.  E-mail-Verload Solutions offers this helpful list of frequently-used e-mail acronyms to simplify and improve the effectiveness of your subject-line.

The Mechanics of E-mail Construction

Before you begin, you should be able to answer these two questions:

  1. Why am I writing?
  2. What do I expect to gain from this e-mail?

If you cannot definitively answer these questions, don’t send an e-mail.  A nebulous intent before you begin writing makes it almost certain that your message will not be clear.

Remember our friend Shakespeare above, and build your e-mail so that it is brief, functional, and respectful of your recipient’s time.  A template can also be quite helpful.  This particular blog at myenglishteacher.eu offers some extremely useful e-mail templates based on the subject and type of message you need to send.

However, regardless of your e-mail’s topic or intent, there are some basic guidelines which are generally applicable across the board.

  1. Use the name of your recipient(s) in the salutation.
  2. Include a pleasantry to set a congenial mood. (For example:  Extend your congratulations on a recent promotion, or express gratitude for an effort on your behalf.)
  3. State your request or issue as clearly and concisely as possible.
  4. Follow your request with a specific action to take, and then welcome the recipient(s) to contact you for any necessary clarification.
  5. Conclude your message on a hopeful/positive note, and don’t forget to say “thank you”.
  6. Include your closing/signature. (Tip: Be sure your closing/signature is concise and includes your name, title, company name, basic contact information. Use your “settings” function to set up your signature to appear in all newly composed messages.)
  7. Proofread thoroughly before clicking “send”.

When Not to E-mail

business-emails-communication-device-graphicE-mail can have a downside, too.  Sometimes communications require a great deal of detail, which can force you to throw all the conventional rules of a good e-mail out the window, so to speak.

However, when you feel that a particular e-mail’s back-and-forth correspondence is becoming unmanageable, do not be afraid to pick up the telephone, or even better, speak in person, if possible.  Ten or twenty interruptions to your day can be more time consuming than a brief phone call or face-to-face meeting.  You might be able to solve a problem in five or ten minutes on the phone that could have dragged out for a couple of days or more in e-mail.

While e-mail can be an indispensable tool, there will always be times when there is truly no substitute for conversational speaking.  In fact, as this technological age has advanced to a point where many of us are communicating with coworkers and associates almost solely via means of electronic messaging, we have come to realize that a misunderstanding can easily arise for the simple reason that the written word often does not convey the same emotion or intent as does the spoken word; even if the objective is identical.  When texting or e-mailing someone on a personal level, you may include a corresponding emoticon to soften the lines of your message, however, in business, where emoticons are less often used for fear of seeming unprofessional, words can often be misinterpreted.  This article at Fastcodesign.com further describes why certain sentiments can often be misread via e-mails and texts.

The Takeaway

E-mail is a fantastic contrivance, but it is not the ultimate solution to every communication problem.  The average professional can typically encounter up to 100 e-mails per day, and there are times when a brief conversation could eliminate 20 percent of your inbox. Therefore, choose your communication methods wisely, and not solely out of habit.

Conversely, the ability to make your e-mail messages work for you through proper composition, organization, and etiquette, can simplify as well as maximize your interactions with coworkers and associates, while conveniently documenting your exchanges for future reference.  When used effectively, the benefits of e-mail communication truly are invaluable.

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.

Five Trends That Are Impacting Career Choices

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions we will make, as it affects and determines so many aspects of our lives. We all havetrends-that-impact-career-choices-marble-hitting-other-marbles specific talents and interests that will lead us toward certain professions, but we must also be mindful of the external influences that are projecting us in a certain direction. It is important that we keep an open mind to what attracts us to certain fields and not others.  Sometimes these choices are based on personal decisions and inclinations; other times they stem from peripheral circumstances, such as economy, technological advances, and sociological changes.

Therefore, when considering different career options, it is important to also study the societal trends that may affect our choices, both now and down the road.

1.   Technology growth

It’s no secret that technology is growing faster than many of us can keep up with, and this continued growth is also resulting in more jobs in the United States. Consistent advances in technology are not only ensuring new jobs requiring additional skills in specific industries, but also within their education and training. Technology has also opened the doors for telecommuting, offering employees the option of maintaining high paying jobs while working from the comfort of their own homes.

2.   Globalization

When it comes to remote work or telecommuting jobs, a person does not have to be in the United States to “work” in the U.S. or any other country, for that matter. While this opens the market for job seekers to work for anyone from their own home, it also puts a great deal more competitive pressure on organizations. Companies will be looking for individuals who grasp the need for innovative marketing and can contribute to the business agenda without boundaries.

3.   Downsizing

While younger workers are steadily replacing the baby boomers who are now reaching retirement age and leaving the workforce, there are a number of jobs currently held by baby boomers that may become obsolete. According to 247WallSt.com, jobs such as Desktop Publisher, Communications Equipment Operator, and Textile Machine Setter/Operator, for example, are steadily on the decline.  As these employees retire, companies are turning more toward technology, making many positions previously held by skilled workers either outdated or unnecessary. So when considering career choices, it is important to research which traditional careers which may be severely impacted by baby boomers leaving the work force in conjunction with new technological advances.

4.   Improved medicine and delayed retirement

This is a two-layered trend which is impacting career choices right now.  Life expectancy has noticeably increased within the last 70 years. In fact, in 1945, the average life expectancy was 66 years, as opposed to 2015 when the standard life expectancy was recorded at 79 years. Today, people are living longer due to further education in nutrition and wellness as well as technological advances, all of which have led to trends-that-impact-career-choices-glasses-on-keyboardimproved medicine. This means there are a greater overall number of people in the workforce, as individuals are working into the later years of their life; sometimes by choice, and other times out of necessity.

“The current average retirement age is 62—but new college graduates won’t be able to retire until age 75, according to a new study from NerdWallet,” wrote Kate Ashford in the Forbes article The New Retirement Age? 75, Study Says.

So while people may generally be living longer, many individuals will need to work at least a decade longer than the current retirement age due to the high cost of education, enormous student loans, and increased living costs. This may affect career choices in two ways:  Some will put a heavier relevance on a generous paycheck to counteract the anticipation of working well past standard retirement age.  Others may more acceptingly consider that since they are going to be working further into their golden years, it would be advantageous to decide upon a fulfilling career they will ultimately enjoy.

However, it could also be argued that future up-and-comers may find fewer available jobs openings in years to come, as older workers remain in their positions longer.

5.   Social Media Marketing

This is perhaps one of the fastest growing career trends. Social media has become a cornerstone to the survival and advertising success of any business, and finding individuals who know their way around this marketing platform is crucial. According to an article on DigitalTrends.com, the average 25 to 54 year old checks their social media accounts approximately 17 times per hour, resulting in an average of 4.7 hours a day engaged in online communities.  Therefore, Americans are exposed to the most amount of advertizing while scrolling their social media newsfeeds.  Consequently, the ability to stay ahead of the competition on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn is a valuable tool that companies will continue to look for in their employees.

In Conclusion

With enough patience, insight, and inquisitive research, you can begin to assess and ascertain how current societal trends in business, technology, employment, and even medicine, will ultimately impact your own particular career choice.

 

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

Managing Vs. Coaching – Achieving the Right Balance

Successful companies have successful managers, and successful managers know how to balance managerial duties with coaching and praise managing-vs-coaching-balance-businessman-and-teamtechniques for their teams. Managers are necessary for organizing and facilitating employee productivity, making it possible for their work staff to succeed without impediment; yet sometimes, a real business leader must also take on the qualities of coach to ensure their team achieves what it should.

Basic managerial traditional duties

Regardless of industry, all managers have certain basic traditional duties. Some of these include managing employee schedules, assigning tasks, making sure shifts are adequately covered and ensuring customer satisfaction. Managers are also responsible for making sure their teams meet deadlines, company sales goals, while also handling crises within the company and between employees. They are responsible for keeping their eye on the bottom line, overseeing a portion of accounting and banking duties, and foreseeing any problems that may arise so as to get ahead of them.

Basic coaching duties

While managerial duties involve overseeing the employees and production, coaching duties are more along the lines of developing goals and ways to achieve them. In the coaching role, managers will strategize to find the best way to achieve success, then they will work with the employees, offering advice and maybe even incentives to make sure the goals are obtained. Employees are encouraged and motivated to succeed, which also leads to the company’s ultimate success. As a coach will guide his or her players in a sport’s league and offer praise and encouragement, a managerial coach will do the same with their team of employees.

The importance of having both managerial and coaching skills

A manager who focuses solely on the managing aspect of his or her role usually tends to be primarily focused on the bottom line. With this approach, the employees, as individuals, risk being overlooked through a lack of external motivation.  Conversely, a coach who does not incorporate any managerial duties may be well liked by the employees, but the business may eventually fail due to inattention to important details.

Finding a balance and knowing when to coach instead of manage

managing-vs-coaching-leadership-word-collageQuality managers tend to be natural problem-solvers. When approached with an employee crisis, it may be the manager’s immediate instinct to solve it on their own. However, sometimes it is best to take a step back, and help the employee find a solution on their own. Not only does this build a stronger relationship between the manager and employee, it also gives the employee a sense of accomplishment and worth. By using this coaching technique, employees develop further autonomy and managers are able to spend more time on other important aspects of their role.

Achieving an ultimate balance between the supervisory as well as the coaching facets of a managerial job is vital, and may not necessarily be easily achieved.  However, it is worth the effort to learn and employ these tactics. When possible, managers should work with the employees to solve basic problems while offering instruction, guidance and support along the way. Building a strong working relationship will go a long way toward the continued success of any organization.

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.

Exploring Talent Communities and Their Role in Recruitment

While Talent Communities have a great deal to offer the world of recruitment and professional networking, they are neither employment agencies nor job boards.  They are, rather, segmented online groups which encourage the convergence of individuals with similar goals and talent-communities-businessman-holding-globe-of-professionalsinterests to interact and share information for the benefit of all.  Through collaboration of members, Talent Communities can offer a wide range of employment information and resources on an unofficial level.

Although they are beneficial to recruiting, it is not necessarily their sole purpose.  Members often brainstorm problems of various descriptions, very much akin to the phenomenon that prevailed from the 1980s through the early 1990s when the Internet was virtually unknown to the common person.

Group History

Before the World Wide Web was introduced, computers of all makes and varieties communicated through common telephone lines with modems via Bulletin Board Services (BBS).

From approximately 1978 to 1996, computer enthusiasts helped others solve their technical problems in many separate areas called SIGs (Special Interest Groups) covering employment, philosophy, science, creative writing, social phenomenal, or anything else you could imagine.  Essentially, Bulletin Board Services embodied the concept of the World Wide Web before it even existed as a mainstream medium.

Full Circle

Fast forward to the internet-driven 21st century, and we find we have parallel communities that are essentially SIGs.  People with similar interests share information and support each other, while reaping the benefit of available and easily-accessible expertise.

Recruitment Contribution

Although Talent Communities do offer a wide spectrum of service-related advantages, it is not wrong to assume that they are essentially career oriented.  They present a great opportunity to network within your own niche; you can enhance your contacts with connections very specifically tied to your career, rather than more generically as you would on most social media platforms.

Another feature that Talent Communities allow for is social recruiting, where professional recruiters or hiring managers seek top job candidates who are actively seeking employment.  Whether these recruiters are running the communities or not, candidates can advertise their availability simply through their participation.

Why Create a Talent Community?

In terms of time and effort, large companies (greater than 200 employees) spend nearly $5000 for each new hire.  If your company is in the habit of hiring 400 employees per year, that equates to two million dollars annually spent on recruiting.

On average, it can take six weeks to hire a new employee (eight weeks in the medical profession).  Having a critical position unfilled for a month and a half isn’t simply inconvenient; that empty desk may be costing an employer approximately $2000 per day in lost revenue.  Compared to the $5,000 cost of hiring, the loss of $84,000 in revenue is quite significant.  Also, there is often more than one vacancy, so it starts to add up very quickly.

By turning your “Careers” section into an inviting Talent Community you can have an ever-present pool of candidates.  Most of them will be passive candidates (those who are not actively seeking a job, but are curious about your company).  A number of active candidates will be present; some of your own employees must participate to answer questions, supply information, provide articles to show that the Talent Community is active; and in this modern age, when the upcoming crop of replacements for the retiring Baby Boomers is going to be 25 million short, you should invite your retirees and former employees.  Not only do they have the expertise to drive the Talent Community forward but they might be persuaded to return to work and offer their expertise while the employment supply-and-demand formula finds its balance again.

Benefits to Job Seekers

talent-communities-woman-working-at-laptopAn interested visitor can get a very specific idea about a particular employer when they explore that company’s Talent Community.  Understanding the corporate culture makes it much easier to decide if the job is a good fit for them.  Information provided by current and former employees will let them know if the available opportunities match their goals.

As they get to know the company, the company gets to know them.  This familiarity makes it much easier to apply for and obtain a job.

Furthermore, establishing an online rapport or relationship with a current employee opens the possibility of getting a personal referral.  Companies have reported that they grant more weight to a personal referral than they do to any other form of information about a potential hire.

The Takeaway

For employers, it really doesn’t get much better than having your own Talent Community full of potential hires.  It’s going to reduce your hiring costs, significantly speed up the whole hiring process, and save quite a bit of money in terms of lost revenue.

For job seekers, accessing a Talent Community can provide you with clear window into a company of interest, as well as the opportunity to communicate with other employees at the same organization.

Therefore, Talent Communities are a truly a win-win option for all participants.

By 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.

Data Analytics and the Recruitment Process

Data-based Decisions

As human beings, we all have our preferences and partialities, and our preconceived leanings often influence our decisions; for better or worse. Yet, preconceptions and favoritism should never play a part when conducting a job interview. However, there are data-and-recruitment-connectors-blue-backgroundoccasions where even one’s subconscious views can contribute to what we call the “Interviewer Effect”.

To limit the “Interviewer Effect”, many organizations are beginning to move closer toward the effective use of data analytics when reviewing a candidate’s qualifications.  This allows employers to make more evidence-based decisions, rather than relying on, or being overly influenced by “gut instinct”.

The assemblage of large conglomerates of data-based information for purposes of analysis, commonly referred to as Big Data, also proposes challenges of its own.  However, data analysis can be a helpful tool when employers are faced with difficult recruitment decisions.

Data Resistance

There are many who resist Big Data due to its expense or apparent complexities, but the availability of BDaaS (Big Data as a Service) has now made the whole process much easier.  Eliminated, is the need to invest in the expensive infrastructure of Data Warehouses, specialized IT staff, Data Lakes, and discrete servers.  Right now it is a quarter of a trillion dollar industry, certainly not some newfangled idea that “won’t last”.

Even if you want to create a private Big Data resource, it is no longer particularly difficult.  With the advent of ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) software, transforming your databases from disparate to self-contained internal files has rendered the use of Big Data almost automatic; and running it at prescheduled intervals keeps it up to date without a great deal of effort.

Private Big Data used in conjunction with BDaaS is a highly effective combination.

People Analytics

BDaaS has innumerable applications, but in the case of recruitment, we’re interested in the portion known as people analytics. There are organizations that have dedicated themselves to analyzing all of the available information from every main social media site, in addition to a plethora of other less obvious information sources.

Hiring companies can provide these organizations with a list of their top 10 prospects and, in turn, be advised as to which one would be the best fit for their company.  Conversely, going in empty-handed with only basic specifications will still result in locating a closely suited prospective candidate.

The Role of Gamification

Even beyond data analytics, a form of strategy analysis, most recently known as Game Theory or gamification, now also has a pivotal role indata-and-recruitment-woman-connecting-profiles-on-screen many forms of problem solving, including hiring.

While reasonably new, the process has some key advantages.  It is intended to help employers move beyond resumé-based information by presenting a candidate with a game scenario, allowing the employer to isolate which individuals are more likely to devise innovative and effective solutions to problems.

The interviewing process of asking questions and interpreting the answers is basically analog in nature, and some believe, can increase the opportunity for biases.  Seeking results through a game which tests externalized thinking and creativity is digital in nature, in that answers are either right or wrong .

The gamification methodology has actually “gone corporate” with big names such as Google™ and Facebook™ offering the “Google Code Jam” and the “Programming Challenge“, respectively.  Winners almost inevitably get interesting, fun, and great paying jobs.

Candidates Don’t Need Big Data

Unless someone works for a Big Data specialist, it is essentially unavailable to private individuals, but ultimately, that is of little concern.  A simple web search will reveal companies matched to the interests of most job seekers, as will the services of a recruitment agency.

In terms of interview preparation, those interested in one of the more innovative companies may encounter tools designed to create scenarios, but essentially the strategy remains the same:

  • Isolate an issue which your potential company is currently experiencing;
  • Craft a solution; and
  • Use it to pitch yourself as the person who is best qualified to implement that solution.

Finding a Balance

The evidence is clear that data technology has not only affected employers and job seekers alike, but has changed the job market drastically. Not only has it created access to once unavailable prospects, it has become a crucial decision-making tool.

Of course, this is not to say that employers must not practice and perfect their own skills of objectivity, good judgment, and proper attention to their company culture when seeking new candidates or conducting a traditional job interview. However, smart employers are also embracing the advantages that data analytics has to offer, and consequently, opening their organizations up to a world of talented and compatible job seekers.

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.

Working for a Small Company VS Large Corporation: Pros and Cons

The workforce can offer a vast sea of employment options with a variety of industry choices, both established and emerging. Yet, one decision that job seekers often find themselves having to make is whether to work for a large or small organization.

Understand What You Need

small-vs-large-company-woman-with-glasses-thinkingDepending upon what is available to a candidate with your specific skill set and experience level, you can certainly choose what sized company to work for according to your own partiality. Chances are you’ve heard numerous, albeit valid, arguments through the years, boasting the advantages and drawbacks of each.  As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to companies of all magnitudes, so doing your research as well as being in tune with your own preferences, will determine what decision is best for you.

Recognizing your own work style, personality attributes, and career goals is the first step in making a solid decision.

Small Companies

Remember that a small company can sometimes offer the opportunity for you to wear many hats, so to speak.  When you work in a smaller, family-like atmosphere, individual roles do exist but are sometimes less distinct, and you may have the opportunity to participate in vital areas of the company which you might not have in a large corporation.  This, in turn, can offer you the chance to accumulate broad areas of expertise.

While you may be able to work more closely with upper management, offer ideas, and participate in crucial decisions, your employee benefit package may not be as munificent as with a larger company for the simple fact that there are fewer contributing employees.  On the other hand, small organizations can offer a sense of unity and bonding that may not exist in large companies with multiple, spread out departments. In addition, small company employees may find they are able to communicate more freely and frequently with superiors when important issues arise.

Large Companies

Some individuals appreciate the definitive structures and stringent regulations of a large company which can take away a great deal of guess-small-vs-large-company-blue-double-buildingswork through formally established human resources and legal departments.  Yet, while small organizations can offer you more varied experience in a frequently less formal setting, larger companies provide talented employees with opportunities for gradual, steady advancement in what is often a more stimulating, fast-paced environment.

Organizations of a larger size often don’t feel the effects of a slowing industry, slight economic downturn or even a bad management decision quite as intensely or quickly as a small company might, yet employees can still be individually affected by downsizing if the need arises.  Also, large companies are usually able to offer their staff more bountiful benefit packages, based on the larger number of participants, however, employees may need to really step up their game to be noticed and considered for promotions and raises.

What to Remember

It’s important to bear in mind that neither decision to work for a small vs. larger company is necessarily right or wrong; it is merely a judgment of which one matches your personal and professional needs.  Furthermore, what may fit your career goals right now might not be the case five years from now.  So, whatever your decision, don’t hesitate to accept the challenges each one has to offer, because you are sure to acquire valuable experience either way.

 

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.