thinking on your feet

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!

Three Reasons You Can’t Make A Decision 0

Sometimes decisions are made without a second thought. Other times the right answer just doesn’t seem to come. Here are three reasons managers give for not making a decision:

1. “It’s out of my hands” “Clearly this decision is way above my pay grade, so if you want an answer, you need to go see my Boss”. How much time and productivity is wasted? In the end, your Boss is going to send them back to you. Or worse, he or she will take care of your employee and now you are out of the loop and your Boss is thinking “why do I even need this manager if he/she can’t make a decision”?

I believe the decision is only out of your hands when you say it is. If you need more information, you can say to the person making the request “that’s a great question. Give me time to work on that and I will get back to you”. Then seek out your Boss’s approval or get the information you need. The key to making this work is to always get back to that person in a timely manner. Then you become the go-to person, and your staff is more likely to help you when it’s crunch time.

2. “I can’t make a decision without more information” – There’s a time to think and there’s a time to take action. When someone yells “fire” in a crowded theater, you take some kind of action.  You look around for flames, you sniff for smoke and then you are able to make a quick decision about what to do next. Committees are sometimes consumed by fires because they can’t come to a consensus and take action.

If you just take a moment to think about it, most of the decisions you will face you have faced before.  The form may be a little different , but the same rules apply. Successful managers are able to apply what they learned yesterday to tomorrows problem. Add in a basic understanding of your companies standard of ethics and you can take care of problems within company policy. Armed with that,  the outcome is usually successful.

3. “It’s My Way or the Highway” - This response is making a decision without really making a decision. Yes you have answered the question, but it is by shutting down the person and any better solutions they may have.  It’s never that easy these days. Similarly, new Managers seem to use the “Because I say so” decision making technique when they first get promoted. It takes a while for them to realize that (yes I’m going to use the cliché) There is No “I” in Team.

So don’t be afraid to make the hard decisions. The more decisions you make, the more experience you will have to pull from the next time.

think and speak on your feet – part two 3

In part one I said that the ability to “think and speak on your feet” is an important skill that often determines your success in job interviews. And once you land the job, many kinds of careers and occupations require this skill. To practice for your upcoming interviews try this exercise.

The exercise had you: print out a list of questions before you read through them. Cut them apart and put them in a jar. When you are ready to practice “thinking on your feet”, stand in front of a mirror, pull out a topic at random and talk to the mirror for two minutes about whatever is on the paper.

Now I want you to do the same exercise, but this time with real interview questions. It’s ok to look at them before you cut them up and put them in the jar. In fact, I would suggest you write notes  for yourself about each question before you begin the exercise. When you actually practice your responses out loud, do not use the notes, as you won’t be able to do that in the actual interview.

Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • Can you give me an example from a previous job where you have shown initiative?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Are you a team player?
  • What qualities do you find important in a coworker?
  • Can you think of a time when you dealt with a customer problem? What was it, what did you do to resolve it and how did it turn out?
  • How does your previous experience relate to this position?
  • When can you start?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

 

If you have been on interviews and were asked questions that you had trouble with, be sure to add them to your list so you will be better prepared the next time. And feel free to post those questions in a comment so I can share them with other job seekers.

The more you practice, the easier the next interview will be. Let me know when you hear those wonderful words, “you’re hired!”

think and speak on your feet – part one 0

The ability to “think and speak on your feet” is an important skill that often determines your success in job interviews. And once you land the job, many kinds of careers and occupations require this skill. To practice for your upcoming interviews try this exercise.

Print out this list of questions before you read through them. Cut them apart and put them in a jar. When you are ready to practice “thinking on your feet”, stand in front of a mirror, pull out a topic at random and talk to the mirror for two minutes about whatever is on the paper.

  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go first and why?
  • If you could have only 3 electrical appliances in your house, what would they be and why?
  • Why does glue not stick to the bottle?
  • What nocturnal animal would you be if you had to choose and why?
  • If Abe Lincoln and George Washington got into a fight who’d win?
  • If you had a snail that could magically grant wishes, what would you name it?
  • If you had the chance to go back in time for 24 hours, where and when would you go?
  • What’s your worst/best memory of high school and why?
  • What was your favorite pet you had as a child and why?
  • What is the most rewarding experience you have had and what made it so?
  • Who or what inspires you and why?

Now that you have practiced thinking on your feet, you are ready to answer specific interview questions. Check back soon, I will post a list of interview practice questions that you can do the same exercise with.