Archive for the ‘jobs’ Category

With Labor Day coming to us in the U.S. this Monday as the unofficial end of summer and the first holiday of the fall, now is a good time to review your personal ‘time-off’ policy. And even if you’re a workaholic with to many open projects (like myself), you still need to find some time to get away from the work that you do, and more importantly, all the work going on around you, to keep yourself sane (or relatively sane, as in my case).

Try working this three pronged approach of scheduling time off:

Schedule Some Time Off To Take Care Of ‘Overflow’: You can get away from normal business and the chaos of those working around you so that you can take care of a few things, work related or personal, uninterrupted. It’s not really a vacation, but it gets you away to accomplish some important things that can relieve some of your personal stress. Just make sure you eliminate as many personal distractions as possible and get the work you’re getting away to get done done.

Schedule Some Time Off To Take Time Off…And Then Take That Time Off: This is your set up for a real vacation, away from any serious work. Don’t try to force yourself into having a good time by getting stuck to an itinerary, and don’t feel guilty if while inside some relaxation time your mind comes up with a clever idea to fix that nagging problem you left at the office. Jot it down quickly, then set it aside to deal with when you get back to the office.

Schedule Some Time Off To Review Where You Are: This one is pretty simple, and doesn’t need HR involvement. Set aside a regularly scheduled time and location where you can do a quick overview of tasks, goals, and maybe even life. It can be as simple as getting up 15 minutes earlier in the morning, having lunch with just your notebook on a Thursday, or a full weekly review on Saturday morning.


Monster Learning
A little soul searching in this time of uncertainty.

A status update on Facebook stating that all past American Idol champions should thank their lucky stars that Adam Lambert wasn’t competing in their seasons because “That boy is MADE OF WIN” got me thinking about my situation at the day job, which in turn got me thinking about this grand scheme of a side gig.

I am currently stuck with nowhere to progress at work. I’m not surprised with the direction of the business in this economy, but this is the first time I have ever sat in a job with nowhere to move AND some well applied hand breaks to the other duties as assigned that to keep me sitting still long enough to stew in my own frustration.

In a time where jobs are being slashed at all levels in broadcasting, there are still opportunities for the next big radio star. Just not many. So a combination of my timing of testing the market along with the timing of the actual market is my problem.

Or is it? What if I we’re actually so entertaining, so compelling, so dynamic that with minimal airtime I could truly be a turnaround player for the radio station I work for in the market?
One would think that someone would take a chance an take on potential star material, even if it means pushing subpar talent out of the way. Me having game changer talent is far from the case, but how far exactly? How much talent do I actually possess, and would it actual be enough to carry some steady on-air time?

Applying that same level of thinking to this business and personal consulting business that I named Fast Forward Business Properties, LLC., is the timing of starting a small business as my spare time is being overtaken by more and more uncompensated work hours the bad idea? Or, is my ability to actually consult not up to par, meaning the excuses don’t matter as much as I have no real growth potential in the first place?

Are you facing a decision to continue down a path that isn’t paying off as expected, but are unsure whether your obstacle is bad timing or insufficient talent? When I read Seth Godin’s book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) almost a year ago, it seemed like the talent I had would be adequate if I just rode out time until my number came up. Now, I wonder more and more if that time will actually come, and if I will still have the talent (or possibly even care) if that time actually comes.

How are you dealing with timing versus talent dilemmas?

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AIG used government bailout money that was supposed to help shore out the struggling insurance/investment giant to pay executive bonuses and avoid contract lawsuits, which could have but the company out of business for good. The right thing to do legally, but the American public, and its new President, are not happy.

NBC Universal finally found a new way to brand the Sci Fi Channel, and in few months it will just be SyFy. Seriously. With a new tag line of “Imagine Greater.” If you thought fan boy hate was reserved of geeks and comic book movies, search for some of the comments online about this one. The hate is coming on strong, and from plenty of people who were barely holding on the channel as it was.

Sometimes your company has to deal with bad timing. Sometimes your company has to deal with a serious gamble of a decision. As the economy continues to suffer, expect a lot more chances to test your crisis management skills while you have to explain your actions.

And make sure you are prepared for the backlash. Because its going to come.

Americans are losing money, jobs, and patience. American businesses are trying their best to adapt to the new economic world. It’s a frightful existence, and some very old companies with long standing reputations will not make it out of this.

So what happens when hard times come? People panic, leaders jump to a conclusion that they hope will get the best results with the least amount of effort and pain, and decisions are made that are meant to push the greater good, but looks more like the digging of their own graves.

Now is the time to make smart decisions that take advantage of the disadvantages of the current reality. Now is the time to continue advertising, so negotiate for new rates with your outlets that have taken good care of you so that you can continue to take good care of them. Now is the time to reach out to new, nontraditional customers to make up for the regulars you are bound to lose, but not alienate your current customer base that has gotten you this far. Now is the time to make sure the tough decisions you make are the right decisions, not just legally binding.

Now is definitely not the time for perplexing moves for the soul propose of generating buzz. There really is such a thing as bad press.

These are four questions you should be asking yourself when comparing your products and services to that of your competitors:

1: What is it that we do that our competitors also do?

2: What is it that we do that makes us come out better than our competitors?

3: What are we doing to make sure we stay better than our competitors?

No, you don’t ask yourself what the competitor is doing better than you. In most cases, when you look at a category where you are trailing behind the completion, you look to see what they are doing and then scramble your forces in an effort to attempt to out do them. It is extremely difficult to beat the established leader at their own game.

I call this living by an “Advantage: Us” standard. When you know your strengths, you have the advantage of working to ensure they continue to be your strengths. This viewpoint may seem a little short sided, but an “Advantage: Us” playbook will easily push back any pretenders to your throne in the eye of the customer. Just make sure you really are better than your competition for the reasons you are stating.

That doesn’t get you off the hook for the areas where you are at a disadvantage. You must acknowledge your company’s shortcoming and make note of areas where you are trailing the competition. But don’t get overly stressed. Unless your company is at the brink of going under, you will continue to get much better results by knowing why you are the leader in your field, and by doing what you can to ensure you stay that way. Just deal with the areas where you are lagging behind the competition by working hard to grow and improve, until you find yourself on par, or even better, than your competition. Then you ask yourself questions number 2 or 3 for that area.

Until then, your forth question is:

4: What else is left for us to do?

In working on my new writings, I’ve been reviewing lots of old writings to see if there are strings of pearls of wisdom that I can claim…or if I have been a classic flip-flopper. Submitted for your review and approval, and article I put on the Cool Corporate dot COM Blog in October of 2007. I actually got one comment on this, and if memory serves me correctly, it was spam…


If you are a manager, every so often you will come across an employee in your organization, hopefully under you supervision, that just shines above all the rest of their peers without much effort. That star or potential star employee is a gem you may have lucked upon, but it will take more than a little luck to keep them working for you and your company. And even worse than them leaving for your competition, they could get sullen and just stop putting forth any effort, and are no longer working ‘with’ your company.

How do you keep your stars happily working in their cubicles and shining for your company? If you were to ask any of these employees, I bet the following items would all be on their wish list:

* Give Them Co-Workers Who Can Keep Up – Nothing is more frustrating to a highly motivated, highly mobile worker that being partnered with a slug who just simply can’t keep up. Chances are your star is not stuck up or conceited, but if you place them in teams that aren’t performing because they truly can’t perform or just don’t care all long as the checks don’t bounce, you’re just showing your star that you don’t care about their level of effort. They’ll find a place where movement at their speed matters.

* Give Them The Resources They Need – Just like being placed with bad people, having poor or no resources available to get the job done means it will be harder–if not impossible–to get the job done. Make the jobs easier to get done, and they’ll get more jobs done.

* Give Them The Time They Need – Micromanagement is awful. Insane deadlines are awful. Not letting your stars get their job done, or rushing them to complete tasks sooner than they need to be completed will frustrate, confuse, and infuriate.

* Give Them A Chance To Screw Up – If Jack Welsh gets to blow up a building and still become CEO of General Electric, a star employee in the making could surely survive a missed deadline, target, or even bombing a presentation. They’re not screwing up on purpose. They’ll learn a valuable lesson from the occasional failure, and especially from a huge failure.

You’ve got a star employee, or a potential in the making. You’ve got a prime chance to directly effect the career and life of person who could be an eventual rock star CEO, or just another business burnout. Most of their outcome will truly be up to time, chance, and their own efforts. Don’t be the jerk that makes it harder that it needs to be.

Be In Sync with ‘BeInSync’ from Phoenix Technologies

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When you work at a News/Talk radio station, you would assume there is plenty of free talk about the news of the day. Well, not so much actually.

The station is work for leans heavy on the Conservative side, and our audience follow the every word of Rush Limbaugh. To say religiously would not be an understatement. Breaking news that does not qualify as’ You’re all gonna die’ will get complaint calls immediately. ‘You’re all gonna die’ news will get complaint calls over not letting Rush tell the listeners himself.

But you learn to flow with your audience. When you’re getting an influx of mostly one-sided conversations, you try to politely disagree. When you figure out that tactic will get you nowhere, you decide to just nod your head and let the conversation end on its own.

But our listeners are also our customers. And often, despite the assurance that you have heard the complaint before, you have to attempt to listen. And since we all know the customer is very often completely wrong, you don’t get the option to just nod your head until you can fake a cell phone call to make a getaway.

Living by the rule ‘The customer is always right’ reminds you that in their minds, the customer deserves some resolution to their problem. As a provider of a service or a product, you realized the customer’s problem is often of their own making, and the solution is to actually ‘fix the customer.’

You also know most customers don’t want to be fixed. They want to be right.

Managers should take the time to make sure any front-line employees know how best to defuse tense customer situations, and how to calmly elevate the situation to upper management if they can not make it work. And the front-line employees should be taken care of disproportionally well. Because they deserve it. If you don’t believe it, come watch our secretary work the phones when a server crash takes Rush off the air or keep a prize winner who claims they won a better prize then they are receiving at bay until a promotions director can scramble a make up prize package together.

Even with the news of more and more layoffs, you CAN NOT lesson your professional goals.

If you are showing up for work with the sole purpose of trying not to get fired, you are selling yourself and your company short.

I work for a company that isn’t doing so well at the moment, but our mission is pretty clear, at least locally. Come to work today, learn a little more, innovate a little bit, keep kicking the competition’s ass, and chances are we’ll get to do the same thing tomorrow.

It IS NOT show up, lay low, and take home a check at the end of the week.

My personal goals are insanely high. That in itself is a personal problem with failure at times to reach expectations…

…but if my only expectation was to show up, lay low, and take home a check at the end of the week, what kind of existence is that? It’s not worth my time, and probably not worth the money my company or personal clients pay me. And they currently aren’t paying that much

I have recently finished the book Fire Your Boss by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine, where the authors pretty much smack you in the face with the notion that your job is your job because they pay you, and you have every right to leave a job if someone offers to pay you more. But what’s going to motivate anyone to pay you more…or let you stay and keep your current paycheck. Marginal effort or massive effort?

The Fruit Company

The Fruit Company