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Archive for March, 2009

Involve People in Problems and Work Out Solutions Together

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Organizations from all sectors, of all sizes, all over the world are facing very tough challenges. We are in the midst of a crisis. Most managers and professionals, whether in business, government, educational, or non-profit organizations are facing enormous pressure to produce more with less, much less. This requires tough, decisive action and the risks are high.

The tendency of those with management responsibility is to personally assess the situation, come up with a plan of action, and then announce and implement it. If that means downsizing or layoffs, so be it. That particular solution may be necessary in some cases, but in many cases, I find that such “solutions” developed independently, in isolation, and at the top, often create more problems that they solve – for one basic reason. They fail to involve people in the problem, and therefore, fail to get their best thinking and commitment.

In fact, I believe this principle: involve people in the problem and work out the solution together to be a business imperative. This is no soft, touchy-feely, lose-win approach for organizations; it takes much more courage and toughness to go for a true win-win.

The opportunity today is to get authentic and real with people—to have open conversations, to look at the problems and honestly share the issues at hand—and then listen to people and let their ideas flow.  When mutual understanding and respect is present, the spirit of synergy inevitably starts to develop. Synergy is always exciting and tenuous because you are never quite sure what it’s going lead to. All you know is that it’s going to be better than before, better than what either party could come up with themselves.

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Managing Fear and Insecurity

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Much of our world is gripped with a sense of fear and insecurity—fear of losing jobs, homes, or our future. In such a state of insecurity and vulnerability, it is easy to see why people might resign to being in survival mode and looking out only for themselves, at home, at work or in the community. In this environment people tend to respond by being more and more independent. The mindset becomes: “I’m going to focus on ‘me and mine.’

Certainly, independence is vital; however, the problem is that we live in an interdependent reality. Our most important work, the problems we hope to solve or the opportunities we hope to realize require working and collaborating with other people in a high-trust, synergistic way—whether at home or at work. Having an interdependent mindset, skills and tools are vital, especially now as we work through challenges unlike anything most of us have ever seen in our life time.

The principles found in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are all about helping people learn how to understand and build interdependence. The more you really understand and practice the habits, the more you will build the core skills and character necessary to successfully respond to the many challenges that will inevitably come your way. As a result, you will be able to manage your fears and insecurities, and take charge of your life—which, in turn, can reduce your fears and insecurities.

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How to Land a New Job in a Tough Economy

Monday, March 9th, 2009

If you or someone you know is looking for a job, I would like to share a couple thoughts to help you find new work. One of the things I often tell people is that you can’t do a job-search the way you used to. Most people rely on a job application form and a resume. That doesn’t work anymore, although, those are useful things. In today’s world you have to adopt a new mindset for finding and securing a job—and not just a job but work that you would find meaningful.

The new mindset is: be a solution, not a problem to a prospective employer. When you call or submit your resume, it likely goes into a pile with perhaps hundreds of other resumes or applications. This is a problem for the employer; you are one more person they have to deal with.

However, what if you took the time to really research the company you want to work? Read up about what’s going right now in the company. Find someone you might know to talk to about what they’re dealing with and what they’re trying to accomplish. If you don’t know someone, make a call to find someone willing to spend a few minutes with you. Network with their suppliers or one of their clients to get a better understanding of the company, department or person you want to work for. Between the Internet and networking, you can piece together a picture of what would be of specific value to them. From there you can see if your experience, talent, skills, and passion match up to what they need. Now you can creatively position yourself as a solution and differentiate yourself. Get a conversation started in the company by presenting yourself as a solution to their problems not as a person looking for a job.

The tougher things get the more creative and solution-oriented you have to become. Be a solution, not a problem—and you’ll significantly increase your ability to land a new job.

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