Management

Are you making your own weather? 0

A fire crew works on a back-fire to prevent the wildfire from crossing Ferretti Rd. on Thursday August 22, 2013, as the Rim Fire has grown to over 36,000 acres in Groveland, Calif. Photo: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

A fire crew works on a back-fire to prevent the wildfire from crossing Ferretti Rd. on Thursday August 22, 2013, as the Rim Fire has grown to over 36,000 acres in Groveland, Calif. Photo: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

After speaking with a client this morning, I was reading a news article about the Yosemite wildfire. The TV interviewer was asking about the latest conditions. Lee Bentley of the US Forest Service said “This fire is making its own weather.”

This struck a nerve for me. In speaking with my client, she was concerned that her total employment history wasn’t long enough to justify the position she was applying for. Yet, as I reviewed her resume, she had progressed exactly the way others had done who held that position. The fact that she had done it sooner was a stumbling block for her, not an achievement. She was “making her own weather.”

As a Certified Employment Interview Professional, my job is to help my clients to believe in themselves and their value to a future (or current) employer. The first job is always to get the client to make “positive weather.” If they don’t believe in their value, it’s hard to get someone else to take a chance.

Luckily, we control how we think about things and can change our attitude. I’m sure the US Forest Service wishes they could do that.

Can you create a Brand in only four words ? Charlie did. 0

Joel Quass, Professional Speaker and Author talks about Branding

Traveling north or south near Saluda on Route 17 in rural Virginia, you can’t miss the sign in the yard. Measuring a generous eight feet tall by 20 feet long, a white plywood background with blue 3-d lettering, it’s just four words:  Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys.

As a former chimney sweep I have kept track of Charlie over the years. Charlie’s sign has been in his front yard (you’ve got to love the local zoning laws) for over 30 years. Charlie Carter was a brand before branding was cool. There is no phone number. Everything you need is there. At 55 mph (you can’t really go faster in front of his house because the road makes a sweeping bend as you pass the driveway) you know who he is and what he does.

Curious if Charlie has kept up with the times, I Goggled “Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys.” Guess what I found?

  1. Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys | Saluda, VA 23149 | Angies List

www.angieslist.com › Local Reviews › Saluda

Reviews you can trust on Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys from Angie’s List members | 12180 Tidewater Trl Saluda, VA.

 

  1. Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys, Saluda, VA – Manta

www.manta.com/c/mm60wbd/charlie-carter-cleans-chimneys

12180 Tidewater Trail, Saluda, VA, 23149-2539. Phone: (804) 435-3600. Category:Chimney Builders & Repairers. View detailed profile, contacts, maps, reports 

 

Charlie comes up as 1 – 10 on the first page. All with just four words.

Think about what you can do for your company in four words. Is your marketing this precise? Is your business this focused? Most people cannot describe what they do in four minutes, yet Charlie has done it in four words.

The same holds true in a job search. Can you share your Brand, your Value Statement (the answer to why should I hire you) in the equivalent of six tweets or less? Six 140 character sentences is about the length of an elevator pitch. If you can’t get someone’s attention during the elevator ride up, you should stay in the lobby.

Charlie has inspired me to once examine my brand, to challenge myself to say more with less. I encourage you to do the same. It has certainly paid off for Charlie.

Students should plan, so they never waste a summer 0

Joel Quass worked for VIMS on the Chesapeake BaySchool can be a stressful. Even the most motivated and inspired students face academic deadlines, family commitments, roommate distractions,  and other stressors. The thought of spending even part of the summer working just adds  additional pressure. Students view summer as spring break on steroids.

For me, summers were all about making money to pay for school. That was my plan. Summers involved long hours doing construction, pumping gas and being the Assistant Manager of a movie theatre.

But what if, with a plan,  you could use that time to forge a relationship with a multi-national corporation? Or work with marine biologists planting sea grass on sand dunes? Summer jobs in your field of interest stand out on a résumé and develop valuable contacts for future positions.

My best summer during college involved 18′ Thunderbird motor boats with giant Mercury outboard engines. My job was to chase the incoming tides up rivers that fed the Chesapeake Bay. Starting at the mouth of  the river at slack water, I would take a water sample. After logging the time and temperature, I would race upriver a specific time and collect another sample. All summer long I said to myself, “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this.”

As a  Political Science major, I never thought about leveraging that summer job into a career. That wasn’t my plan. Yet it happened in spite of myself.

I made some strong contacts at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and more importantly, at the marina where we fueled the boats. One of the Senior VP’s of the retail chain Best Products kept his boat there, and we had many of the same interests. Networking with Mr. Riley landed me an interview and a management position with Best Products after graduation.

My summer job helped me land a full-time management position after graduation by sheer luck. Imagine what a student could do during the summer if they had a plan.

Goal Setting – small ones count too 0

Joel QUass uses FoursquareFoursquare is an excellent tool for tracking my visits to the  gym. Plus the App gives me little encouragements, such as “3 times this week, your abs thank you!”

Six weeks ago on Foursquare, Jon H. became the Mayor of Supergym. For 8 weeks before that, I was the Mayor. The week I lost the Mayorship I had an out-of-town meeting and only went once. My goal ever since that day was to recapture my spot as Mayor.

Today it happened! The news flashed across my smart phone as I checked in at Supergym this morning. I could feel the positive endorphins surging as I walked from the parking lot into the gym.

However small, victories should be celebrated!

Corporate Responsibility: Companies That Give Back and Make More (Guest Post) 0

illustration of many color handsCorporations take social and environmental responsibility by giving back to their communities and practicing sustainable and ethical modes of business. Is your company interested in getting involved? One of the best ways to give birth to a successful foundation, non-profit partnership or philanthropic campaign is to find a corporate role model. Find a great company with a similar brand, culture and goals and see what works for them.

The type of business you’re in and the type of product you create will vary the type of charity you involve yourself with. See how some of the world’s most successful corporations are changing the world, and find what inspires you. Depending on the way your business is financially run, research what type of tax exemptions each charity type is applicable for and meet with different financial institutions to learn about your options. For example, the Plum card at American Expressgives you access to a recommendation engine that will help you find a non-profit addressing a concern that you care about.

Saving the Arts

The Hard Rock Cafe expanded its philanthropic help from music and the arts to humanitarian and environmental efforts; for over four decades it’s been looking for ways to help change the world. From its Local Ambassador Program that directly works in local communities on a daily basis to their Signature Series T-shirt line where artists create custom artwork on T’s and profits are donated to a good cause. Working with dozens of partners for their efforts.

Education

For a decade, BetterWorldBooks.com has been built on on social responsibility, selling books, donating books and funding literacy projects around the globe with the belief that education and books are basic human rights. For every book sold on the site, a book is donated. According to their website, they have converted more than 58 million books into over $10.4 million in funding for literacy and education (and) diverted more than 40,000 tons of books from landfills. This September, Sonic opted to make a difference in the amount of personal money teachers put into their classroom with the Limeades for Learning program. Participants voted on selected classroom projects and at the end of the campaign half a million dollars was awarded to 1,457 teachers around the nation.

Philanthropy

The vegan elf-like hybrid slipper shoes, known as TOMS, set an example that many apparel companies followed. Starting in 2006, TOMS set out with the idea of making products with little environmental impact and large social impacts on communities. It uses animal-free products, down to the ink, and 80 percent recycled boxes, store-front sustainable day-to-day functions, and company employees and employers believe in fair and ethical business practices within their supply chain, according to the Toms.com website.

Disaster Relief

In the wake of recent natural disasters, many companies stepped up to help. Tide’s Loads of Hope program brings mobile laundromats to devastated areas. One of their biggest breakthrough projects was the effort put forth post hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Cancer

Many companies have helped raise money for breast cancer research, since 1996 Lee jeans has spread breast cancer awareness with Lee National Denim Day. Where participating businesses donate $5 per employee wearing jeans to work. Over the years over $80 million has been donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Beauty company L’Oreal Paris has donated over $18 million to Ovarian Cancer Research with its Color of Hope cosmetics collection,with the goal to improve survival rate and help find a cure.

Going Green

Producing environmentally conscious products in a sustainable way is becoming more standard than fashion. Burt’s Bees makes eco-living easy with its affordable lines of eco-friendly bath and beauty products sold at most retail stores like grocery stores and Target.

The Alcoa Foundation, established by the global provider of aluminum, is one of the largest corporate foundations in the nation. Working for over half of a century and grossing hundreds of millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations supporting the environment and education.

Thanks to Guest Blogger Alex Davis

QA specialist for a PR company by day and a freelance blogger by night, Alex loves having online discussions with business analysts and offering his company the quality it needs to grow.

What do confidence, Dr Seuss and the words “you never know” have to do with job seeking? 0

I have written much about the importance of having the confidence to be consistent in your job search or any other activity. This Thursday the point was driven home by one of my Twitter followers.

Here’s the conversation: Dr Suess and the cat in the hat

:@Goodmgmtisnot “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss,9:30am, Feb 28 from HootSuite

@GoodMgmtIsNot Nothing like prose from Dr. Seuss 2 encourage even timid #JS 2 “go#confidently in the direction of their#dreams” Thoreau9:34am, Feb 28 from Web

@SageStrategis tEvelyn- Thanks for the creative addition to today’s quote9:47am, Feb 28 from HootSuite

@GoodMgmtIsNot  :) Don’t mention it Joel- many of your thoughts of the day give me pause. I like 2 reflect on the insightful words of others.

When I read “many of your thoughts of the day give me pause” the light bulb flashed over my head.

Having recently read a blog post from a person I respect about the “silliness” of daily inspirational posts, I had been tempted to stop my daily 9:30 am quote of the day.

I don’t include any links to my website, or special offers for reading them or any links to click. There is no direct financial gain by posting them. The point  is really to share something I find value in and have the confidence to continue in spite of what someone else may say or think.

Confidence is what creates positive stock valuations. Confidence and its twin sister trust, are what people expect from their Budweiser (that it’s not watered down). And over time people are confident that if they check their Twitter feeds @goodmgmtisnot @1stopjobsonline @joelquass  at 9:30 am est 7 days a week, they will see my latest quote.

From a “You Never Know” standpoint, I have written about my experience with a customer on the Jersey Shore and how the final chapter was written months later on a NJ Train going into New York City.

For a Job Seeker, you never know when you pick up the phone if this will be the job of a lifetime. You never know when you send a thank you card or make that follow-up phone call if this will be the action that ends in a job offer [4 reasons you must follow-up]. As a Job Seeker, you must have the confidence to keep doing the right things, even when the feedback is not there.

In the end, from an Interviewer’s  perspective, confidence and “your fit” in the company is what you need to establish during the interview process. You need to leave the Interviewer confident that what you have to offer and what the job calls for are the same, making them confident you the only logical candidate.

Thanks to Evelyn and her Tweet, I am more confident than ever that my daily quotes are enjoyed by many who read them. Thanks to the feedback from clients, I can say (paraphrasing Dr. Seuss) that “you never know” where you will go if you have the confidence to go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  

With only 346 days left in 2013, what future are you going to create? 1

Joel Quass asks what are your goals in 2013?

What do you see this year?

I have read dozens of articles about making New Year’s resolutions, both pros and cons. Many state that the very act of writing resolutions down helps solidify them in your sub conscious, and you are more likely to achieve them. Others quote Napoleon Hill and say, loosely paraphrased, “New Year’s Resolutions made without any action towards their achievement, are merely dreams”.

This morning I read – Strategy? Gut or Intuition? on LinkedIn. The author ends stating:

THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO CREATE IT.

Without going into the debate about self-determination, I want to encourage finding that scrap of paper where you wrote your New Year’s Resolutions. If they are not on paper yet,  jot them down and tape them to the side of your computer monitor.

Sure there are only 346 days left in the year. But if you use them wisely, you can create a future that more closely mirrors your expectations.

Now, more than ever, you need focus 2

focus, Linked in Summary

Where will you focus in 2013?

This morning I updated my Summary Information on LinkedIn. Why? Because my focus this year is more targeted than last year. Going over my written goals for 2012, I realized that I hadn’t been specific enough. I hadn’t really drilled down, to understand what I wanted to accomplish.

To put it in interviewing terms, when asked about my customer service skills,  I had said “I’m a people person”.  Well my dog is a people person, but you wouldn’t hire my dog to give a keynote presentation.

A focused response to the question about customer service would be my relating the story of when I was a Store Manager for Best Products in Hopewell Virginia. It was 8PM on Christmas Eve when I got a phone call from a customer who had bought a ride-on car for his 8-year-old son. The father was putting the car together after his son went to bed when he found the battery for the car was missing from the package. The father had called me to ask what I was going to do about it?

I told the man I would meet him at the store. I called my Assistant Manager, just in case it was a set-up (it wasn’t) and I drove to the store. We found the battery he was missing and his 8 year-old son’s Christmas was saved. Now that’s a targeted response to the question of customer service skills.

In reading my Summary statement on LinkedIn, I realized that I was talking as a “people person”, without clear focus. This caused me to think more precisely about the specific, measurable goals I have for 2013. Then I took that focused information and re-wrote my Summary statement. Now, my Summary more closely reflects my focus, my goals for 2013.

While the year is still young, I encourage you to focus.

Start by reviewing your LinkedIn Summary statement.

Is it focused? Is the information current? Does it really identify your value?

While you are on LinkedIn, take a moment and  Customize your public profile URL . It only takes a moment to get rid of all of those letters and numbers behind your name.

If you really focus, 2013 will be your best year yet. I, for one, can’t wait!

Managers – Are you paying enough attention? 4

Lessons from the Worst-Performing Companies in America
What’s caused U.S. firms to lose the most shareholder value in the last 10 years? A new Booz study — actually, a repeat of one it did in 2004 — once again came up with the same result

As I read this article, my mind flashed back to my years with Best Products Co. Inc. I had joined them right out of college. I was hired as an entry level Department Manager, but within a year I was a Store Manager for the company. I managed seven stores in as many years, moving frequently for the company.

After arriving in Hampton, Virginia, there was talk among our Senior VP’s of my taking on a District Manager role. Life was great and the possibilities limit-less. Then we bought Modern Merchandising.

We went from a one billion dollar company to a two billion dollar company over night. Everyone was very excited. In fact, we even had T-shirts made.  And our Senior Management spent the next twelve months assimilating the acquisition into the company.

We changed the names on our buildings; out with Dolgins, Miller Sales and the rest, in with the Best Products logo’s. We consolidated distribution centers, creating new efficiencies and re-aligned regional support offices.

The entire process took 12 months. And then we were ready.

But in the past twelve months, retail customers had gone off in a new direction. We had been so busy focusing on the acquisition and re-structuring that no one noticed our customer base was  leaving.

When I saw the hand writing on the wall, I left , purchasing the vending company I would sell two years later.

Every time I think things are running really well in my business I have a  flash back to my Best Products days. The lesson I learned then has stuck with me for over 25 years. So please, pay attention to your business.  

Did you go far enough? 3

Will you go far enough to find the gold?Have you ever had trouble locating something or have a problem you couldn’t solve?

When this happens: 1. You can try to figure it out or locate it yourself 2. You can ask someone else to find it or solve the problem for you or 3. You can just give up.

Yesterday I overheard a man talking to his wife in the supermarket. He couldn’t find the brussel sprouts. She took him further down the aisle and there they were. I heard him say to her, “I didn’t go far enough”.

If you are looking for brussel sprouts at the supermarket, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t find them. Not going far enough only means you may have creamed corn for dinner instead. But what if it’s your business we are talking about?

What if you have invested your life savings along with the savings of your relatives. What if you have purchased drilling and mining equipment valued at a million dollars to excavate a gold mine? Now what if you can’t find gold?

During the 1848 California Gold Rush, this happened many times. One claim in particular was talked about by Napoleon Hill. The story was of a man who had purchased a claim and had found a very large seam of gold. He had mortgaged everything and borrowed from his relatives to mine the claim. After a few weeks, the “mother lode” went dry. No more gold. What did he do? He sold his equipment to a junk dealer for 10 cents on the dollar and went home. He didn’t go far enough.

The junk dealer hired a surveyor. The surveyor went to the mine and told the junk dealer, “dig ahead a few more feet and you will find the seam again”. The junk dealer did that and found one of the richest gold mines in California.

Whether shopping for vegetables for dinner or running a business, make sure you go far enough. Don’t settle for creamed corn when you have your heart set on brussel sprouts. And never, ever give up your business or your dreams before you have gone far enough. Because, during the act of going far enough, you will almost always find your answer.

The junk dealer learned that in 1848. And because his wife went a little farther, the man I saw in the supermarket yesterday learned it too.