Is Work a Drain?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot
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If work is a drain, then we are not working in our SweetSpot. That is, we are not using our talents, not engaging our motivators, not getting our needs met, and/or not serving others.

When we work in our SweetSpot, we have all the energy we need.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Your Most Important Work

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Success, Will=Our inner game
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The signs pointing the way to happiness (and success) at work and in life are right here, in plain sight. So why do we all seem to struggle?

Though we all have seen these signs time and again (e.g. “do what you love,” “go for win-win,” or “set a compelling purpose”), we can only understand and apply them when we are feeling good, buzzing high. This is true for us as individuals and in our companies. It turns out, then, that our most important work is to raise our buzz and help others do the same.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: alex-s Hacia Ojinaga via photopin (license)

Our Power and Purpose

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot
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​[W]e are torn this way and that. Social and business pressures push us, and we go along, but the spark within is hard to extinguish, and even as we hurry to conform we may pause to wonder if this is all there is to life, and we glance uneasily over our shoulders (once a week or more), wondering vaguely if we haven’t forgotten something, a cheerful word perhaps, a quiet moment, a little love – could it possibly be ourselves we have forgotten?

– Robert S. Hartman, Freedom to Live

We can not only remember ourselves, we can bring that spark to our social and business worlds for their benefit and ours.

So good, yes?

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: How? Find your SweetSpot and build upon it.

PPS: Shall we? Yes, let’s!

 

Today’s photo credit: SimonWhitaker Sky high via photopin (license)

How To Interview Well

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Job search
Reading time: 2 min.

If we see job interviews as tests, we will be too nervous, give off a low-confidence vibe, and choke. A better way is to see them as an exploration. As we might do if we already had the job, we turn our camera away from ourselves and focus on them. We ask questions and navigate by curiosity. And we remember that we are interviewing them (“How well does this role and company fit me?”) just as much as they are interviewing us.

Questions can cover the overall context, the specific goals, and the role: What is this company up to? What are they hoping to accomplish and why? What have they already tried? What’s working? What’s not? And why? What does this interviewer see as the problem and the opportunity? What’s their personal stake? How does this role contribute to the goal(s)? How will they know this role has been done well?

Of course, we can share how we might help and we are happy to answer their (scripted or not) questions. But by turning the camera and exploring, we open the door to a more natural, professional conversation, demonstrate what it will be like to work with us, and have a much less stressful time of it.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: If you’re finding it hard to turn the camera because they keep asking you (scripted or not) questions, try interjecting something like, “I am happy to answer your questions and feel I can do a better job with a bit more information about the organization and the role. May I ask you some questions?”

PPS: Sometimes you can’t turn the camera. Interviews for public sector roles, for instance, are frequently highly scripted so that every candidate is treated exactly the same. These interviews usually include time at the end for you to ask at least a couple of questions.  Best advice: list ahead of time a few of the best questions you’d like to ask if given the opportunity. And be gracious.

 

Today’s photo credit:
Destructive Compliments
cc

Perfect Pricing (and Salaries)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 2 min.

We can set prices (for our salaries or for the products and services we sell) perfectly by following these two rules:

  1. Our clients (or employers) feel like they are getting a great deal.
  2. We feel like we are getting very well paid.

 

Wait. What?! How can we have both of these?

Like this. First, find clients (or employers) who likely have need in the area of business that we’re good at solving. Next, explore with them what they most need in that area, why that’s important, and what would be a conservative estimate for the money saved or gained when they get what they most need. Then ask for a healthy portion (10%, say) of that money and deliver what they most need. What savvy client (or employer) wouldn’t jump at such a deal? And won’t we feel very well paid?

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: If a client or employer doesn’t jump at this deal, they may have more pressing needs in other areas. Or we may have not fully explored this need with our client or employer and their teams.

PPS: If the “healthy portion” isn’t enough to be well paid, we can either offer our products and services to more people or improve our products and services until they deliver a larger amount of savings or gains.

 

Today’s photo credit:
LukeBlacks
cc

Our Best Start

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Job search, Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1

In an interview, in a sale, when working with colleagues, or when leading others, we best start by understanding what our counterparts need, want, and desire. Then we can explore with them how our talents, products, services, ideas, and requests serve those needs etc. Our first steps are to ask open-ended questions about what they want and why. Then we confirm our understanding of what we hear.

We may be tempted not to use this approach as it appears to take too long. Really, though, anything else generates resistance and lengthens the time to get hired, make the sale, come to agreement, or see proper action.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: jakeandlindsay cc

Following the Script Too Closely

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Career
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[There’s a video bonus with today’s Note. See the PS. -m.e.]

“You’re good at {insert school topic here}, you should be a {insert some well-admired job here}.” “This is the typical career path in this industry.” “That’s how everybody does it? Oh. Okay.” “To pursue my dream I have to take a serious pay cut.”

If we follow the script too closely, our work and lives will fall rather short of meaningful.

Mix it up. Go for whatever propels and supports you. Our world is plenty big and rich enough to accommodate you.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Watch this 1-minute video that Alex Gladwell at Rainbow Scontayo created. It’s of me riffing on this idea. Also via YouTube or Facebook. Thanks, Alex!

Today’s photo credit: “My right to choose. Perhaps my very life.” via photopin (license)

What Is Your Sense of the Sum?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Organizations
Reading time: 2 min.

What is your sense of the sum? Negative, zero, or positive?

Some people are zero-or-negative sum. They believe that the world is a harsh place, that you have to get your share before someone else takes it, that you have to protect yourself, that big problems are non-existent or someone else’s fault, and that we need a savior to go to battle for our side.

Some people are positive-sum. They believe that the world is full of wonder, that there’s plenty to go around, that our big problems are real and solvable, that all boats float, that helping you succeed helps me succeed better, and that we need systems of leadership that foster more trust, accountability, and interdependence.

Everyone else is somewhere on the continuum between these extremes.

The dance between these extremes is one of the major sources of both conflict and creativity in our world. “If only I can get you to see it my way, everything would be better,” seems to be the universal mantra. But the extremes are not going away. Yet fighting about who’s right can drain our energy and our souls.

Knowing where we are on this spectrum is important. Knowing where our ideal clients and workmates sit on this spectrum (they will sit within a range, usually but not necessarily near us) is also key. We can give our careers a great boost of meaning and reward by choosing to work with mates and serve clients who resonate with our sense of the sum.

No need to fight about this anymore.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Anders Sandberg cc

The Best Way to Land a Job These Days

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Job search, Sweetspot
Reading time: 2 min.

Job boards, applications, resumes. Oh. My. Stories from the front lines tell us that the traditional way of finding a job is pretty well broken.

The best way to land a job today is to a) become a “killer candidate” and b) grow our network until it includes our next employer. Growing our network is how we will find the opportunities. Read more about that here.

Becoming a killer candidate is not about ticking boxes. It is not a form of beauty pageant; it is not about becoming someone we are not.

It is about clarity.

It is being clear about who we are and what we offer. I suggest people figure out their SweetSpot and use it to target appealing industries and companies and to hone their personal marketing content (elevator speech, resume, cover letter).

It is also about clear conversations with potential employers.  We do not start off talking about our qualifications nor do we jump through hoops in some attempt to match what we think they want from us. Instead, our conversations focus on understanding what the hiring manager is trying to accomplish overall. We explore next how this role–if it is done well–would contribute to that hiring manager’s and the overall company’s desired results. Only then do we talk about us. Only then do we tell stories that demonstrate how our talents, passions, perspectives, and experience line up to (help) deliver those results.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: None of this is difficult. It is just different.

 

Today’s photo credit: Canadian West Coast Fishing via photopin (license)