Are You Replaceable?

11 10 2013

I sat in a meeting recently with my boss where twice during that meeting he made the statement “Everyone is Replaceable”.  I don’t recall what we were talking about or in what context he made the statement and that part is really irrelevant to the conversation that I’m about to have with each of you.  Replaceable_300x200

In all honesty, I want to be replaceable and we should all strive for that.  Why on earth would we want anything different for ourselves or those we manage?  If we aren’t replaceable, that makes us irreplaceable and what a lonely, stagnant place to be pigeon-holed into.  If you can’t be replaced, how do you get promoted?  You don’t.  Do you find yourself hoarding knowledge, information or skills that you aren’t willing to share with others?  If so, break that habit.  Trying to protect your little island at all costs does not equal job security in the long run.  You will eventually fall victim to automation, a reduction in force, or your employer’s need to replace you with someone who is replaceable.  

What we should work hard to accomplish is becoming indispensable to our organization.  Being indispensable is a mindset coupled with attributes and skills versus the functions of a job title or role.  It is about delivering big time impact no matter where you are.  An indispensable person is one you can hand any type of project, put in nearly any role, give a challenge to and they just go and make things happen.  They understand what needs to get done and adapt on the fly.  They love to learn and even more so, LOVE to teach.  

An indispensable person wears many hats, bringing something powerful, unique or pivotal to their work. They then carry and apply this approach to EVERYTHING they do.  We should ALWAYS strive to be indispensable rather than irreplaceable.  We should coach and train our teams to sail the ship without us.  We should hire talent that are strong in the areas where we are weak…people smarter than we are. 

Yeah, indispensable is the adjective we want used to describe us.  By being indispensable, we can be assured of one thing:  Few businesses can thrive for the long term without us.

Choose wisely between the two camps, my friends. 

 





A Full Plate Doesn’t = A Stomach Ache

8 09 2013

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I honestly wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “You have way too much on your plate”.  If I did have a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, I no doubt would be able to buy that Rolex watch I don’t need. 

I would agree that if a person were burning the candles at both ends, missing deadlines, not responding to emails, or phone calls, making costly mistakes or decisions and just sucking hind tit in their position, that yes, you have way too much on your plate and it would probably be a good idea to divest, digest or do a little portion control.  If that means speaking up to your boss or supervisor before you implode or explode, then please do.

However, some people are just good at being a “professional” over-eater.  If that individual is able to manage all the things on their plate, hit deadlines, exceed budgets, ask for seconds, and know when to ask for thirds, then don’t make it your business to worry about what is on said plate, especially if their (digestive) track record is a winning one. 

Your view of their plate could be a deceptive one so don’t be judgmental.  Also, evaluate why you actually feel you can make this statement.  Does it boil down to how you are interacting with this person?  If your idea of communicating is a “drop by” meeting or “shit on demand” (I need this yesterday) type of interaction, don’t be surprised if the red carpet isn’t rolled out for you.  They honestly aren’t sitting at their desk waiting for you to need them each day.   In almost every case, they have planned their work and are currently busy working that plan. 

Net, net…everyone is wired differently.  Some people accept their full plate and suffer in silence, there are those who piss and moan about their full plate to anyone that will give them an audience, and others who simply bite off more than they can chew.  But, there are a handful that are pretty darn good at digesting what’s on their plate plus welcome an additional trip to the buffet line.  For those rare few, don’t be so quick to think they are moody and stressed – think instead they are focused and flourishing.  There could be the chance that underneath all that food, they actually have a bigger plate than you.  And you know what, that’s ok.

   

 





A Heavy Heart is Tough to Lift

1 09 2013

heavy heartAs I sit here nestled in the solace of my favorite thinking spot, I am reminded of how when things get tough for me, I need to turn to that special little therapy that pulls me through.

Sweating through high intestity cardio on a treadmill, pressing some iron, hoisting kettle bells, or concentrating through a yoga class, while helpful for the physical me, just doesn’t cut it for the spiritual side…or should I say, my soul.  Sadly, none of the above can lift a heavy heart.

Sitting here composing my thoughts in writing is the only outlet I truly feel I have.  Many of my personal posts are marked as private, but there are the occasional few (like this one) that I will let slip through to a public forum.  I do it because I hope it helps others realize that things happen in this life, whether you percieve or judge them as good or bad.  These “things” that happen are important in our growth spiritually and emotionally in becoming and being in touch with who we really are.

I am of the utmost belief that things do happen for a reason.  And while they seem or feel devastating at the time, bad things in reality, could be good things as we are being given an amazing opportunity to grow and evolve spiritually.

While I won’t go into details the series of “things” that have occurred over the past several months in my life, I can say that I am fully conscious of the synchronicity of each and that there are important lessons to be learned on this path called “Who I really Am”.  In 2013, while I have my health, wealth and family, has proved extremely challenging in the area that gets the most of my focus.  Those who know me understand exactly what that is.

New realities unfold all the time.  I have to learn to accept the new reality.  Take my heavy heart, decide how I will improve my attitude and my belief system knowing “it is what it is.”  One thing is for certain – Now is real.  Accept it.  Do not judge it.  Evolve with what you have now.





When Your MOJO Is M.I.A.

9 07 2013

mojo-sdkIf you’ve ever been to the horse races, it wouldn’t take many visits to notice that thoroughbreds don’t run every day.  As a matter of fact, they run every 7-10 days at best.  Stop and think for a minute how that formula might work in everyday life.  We probably wouldn’t get much accomplished, now would we?

In the real world, we are expected to perform like thoroughbreds every day.  Bring our “A” game to the table and have laser focus.  But again, I say that is the expectation.  The reality is that sometimes we don’t have the same intensity day in and day out.  Whether it is a negative environment, a business deal gone sour or personal issues, nothing seems to be going right, you don’t feel like you’re growing and your mojo feels distant.

Who’s responsibility is it to bring us out of this funk?  Does that job fall on our friends, spouse, co-workers, relative or boss?  Honestly, these people can help us realize what is important, only as an individual can we really impact the results.

So how do you motivate yourself when your mojo is M.I.A.?  First, begin by understanding that this is a natural experience to go through and one that needs to be the exception and not the rule.  At the end of the day, there is personal accountability to inspire and motivate one’s self.  It is not your boss’s job to keep you psyched up every hour of the work day, nor your family or friend’s responsibility outside of the office.

Here are a few things that I do when I feel the anxiety or angst starting to affect my mojo:

  • Breathe…and embrace the fact that I feel a rut coming on.  I don’t fight it as it will make things harder for me.  The faster I try to dig, the deeper the hole might get.  If I don’t battle it, it will not gain more power over me.
  • Get Clear On My Vision – Truly visualize what it is I am hoping to achieve.   I focus on what needs to be done and helping others that rely on me to achieve their goals.  Without a clear vision, it will be one distraction after another.
  • Focus on one element of a project, complete that and move on from there.  Don’t make a huge list of to-do’s for yourself.  Even more angst and failure.
  • I work out and I don’t mean a stroll to the fridge and back.  I do cardio, weight, and core work every day.  I can’t imagine not having exercise as an outlet.  Things are a heck of a lot easier to tackle and look much different to me after a work out.
  • Examine my perspective.  I try not to hold onto an old perspective.  I try to watch how others look at things in order to help myself.
  • I make an extra effort to steer clear of the whiners and associate more with the people I view as winners.
  • Review my past successes and remind myself of the good things that I’ve achieved and that my next success is around the corner
  • I try to not procrastinate and associate pain with what might be the obstacle in my path.  (I’ve improved significantly on this one)

I can honestly say that I avoid many a rut by implementing the above.  I have the discipline necessary to stay on track.  At the end of the day, discipline is merely the motivation to stick with something.  That ongoing motivation is what keeps the proper level of mojo in place and allows me the ability to do my best work personally and professionally.





Are You Doing What It Takes To Become Indespensable?

8 07 2013

indesBe a change agent.  Differentiate or die.  Change for the sake of change.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard those phrases or similar lines.  One thing is certain – change is inevitable.  Our world is changing faster than the speed of light and if we don’t change along with it, we will be obsolete in our professional lives.

Regardless of what field you are in, you are being affected by technology in some way.  For the most part, companies are becoming leaner, more efficient, and learning to thrive with less people.  Gone are the folks close to retirement who took the buy out.  Ousted are the individuals resistant to change.  Few are the people still around that are clinging to the way things were done in the past and wondering how much longer the unacceptable will be acceptable.

Trust me, my intent is not to bum you out.  These are exciting times we live in and we have so many ways at our fingertips in which to ensure that we flourish and our futures are bountiful.  But we have to work harder on our special powers…that secret sauce that positions us leaps and bounds ahead of our colleagues.  We have to learn to be rain makers regardless of the position we hold, leaders no matter what title we have and artists regardless of the type of work we do.  And if that weren’t enough, we must consistently over achieve and raise the bar of expectation placed on us.

How do we go about doing that?  There are hundreds of ways and my formula will be different from yours and yours will be different from someone else’s.  No two ways will be identical.

Here are seven simple “habits” that I have adopted:

1.  Arrive early and stay late.  This shows you are dedicated to your job or you don’t have a life.  I actually do have a life, but have a lengthy commute to and from the office.  I have little patience for traffic and choose to miss it both coming and going.  I also LOVE the early mornings before my colleagues show up. That sacred “me time” where I am able to get things off my list that will create the clearest path for the remainder of my day.

2.  Make the company more money.  There are 2 ways to be successful with this one.  Figure out ways to increase revenues or save the company money.  If you can do both, all the better!

3.  Demonstrate leadership.  It doesn’t matter what title you have within a company, you can step up and be a leader.  Take charge, assume ownership, lead by example.  Oh, and take on the responsibilities no one else wants to do.

4.  Be fully present.  Only take a sick day or a personal day when you absolutely need to do so.  Rest assured, there is always someone keeping track of your attendance.

5.  Self-Education.  If you’re not regularly reading about industry, trends in trade, business publications, podcasts, articles on leadership, self-improvement or studying the habits of established successful people, you’re compromising your career growth.  Staying current, and being able to apply your learned knowledge demonstrates your understanding and place within the industry.

6.   Prioritize.  Many people have paralysis by analysis…you know, the to do list that never gets shorter.  It is so easy to add things to your to-do list, but just as critical to know what to take off.  Good decision making, delegating and prioritization are the signs of an effective leader, regardless of your title and stature within an organization.

7.  Say no to drama.  Don’t get caught up in the office politics.  I must admit that the entertainment value of showing up some days at work is priceless.  But at the end of the day, it takes your eye off of the ball.  If someone starts gossiping to you, take the high road.  Don’t give them the stage to interrupt your important work.  Simply excuse yourself by explaining you have an important project to finish.  This allows you to avoid the gossip without being rude to the gossiper.

Making yourself indispensable is something everyone can do regardless of your position or lot in life.  Our workplace no longer accepts the status quo.   It requires constant growth and change.  Being adaptable, and growing and learning as your company changes and evolves.  If you aren’t growing you are becoming obsolete.

At the end of the day, you are doing one of two things:  You are either working to make yourself indispensable or you’re working to make yourself obsolete.

The choice is entirely yours.





I’m Ready To Be An Adult Now

29 06 2013

job-huntI recently read an article where the  US Bureau of Labor Statistics cited that one out of every two Millennials—age 18 to 32–is either unemployed or under-employed equating to approximately 80 million people (there are actually more Millennials than Baby Boomers).  After spending the past 3 weeks interviewing some young folks for a couple of job openings within my department (all of which relate to marketing and brand management), I can honestly say that there are multiple reasons why junior is living in your basement at age 25.

The recurring theme was a lack of preparation, an incomplete understanding of what the job entailed, and the inability to think creatively on short notice when asked basic marketing questions.   But the biggest shocker of all was the lack of personal investment in themselves.  Only a couple read books, were on Linkedin or had the desire to read on-line content relevant to marketing, social media, self-help or success.  Where did we drop the ball with young people?  Why haven’t more established professionals and/or teachers taken these youngsters aside and explained to them about the real world where it isn’t always who you know and you can’t have the expectation that you’ll be able to ride someone else’s coattails and score a job.

There was even one candidate that said they were ready to be an adult now and if they were chosen for this job they would go the extra mile to invest in themselves and stay on top of the ever changing world of marketing or any field for that matter.

Here is what I look for in a candidate during a job interview:

  • Appearance
  • Verbal presentation skills
  • College education – I am more concerned that you have a degree than specifically what the degree is in.  Show me you can keep commitments, stay the long haul and not be a quitter by neglecting to finish your degree.
  • Have you done your homework on my company and the job you are interviewing for?  Did you find an inside coach to help you?  Have you thoroughly combed our website, made yourself familiar with the brand or product and thought of ways we could benefit from having you on board?
  • Have you tried to do research on me or the individual interviewing you?
  • Can you think on your feet with tough questions?  Go ahead, I encourage you to Google tough marketing interview questions and get comfortable answering the uncomfortable.
  • Do you invest in your self?  Meaning do you read books that will help you grow in the field you want to work in?  Do you study successful people?  What about Car University?  All of this is at your fingertips on the internet, just waiting for you to consume it.
  • Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and how are you using each platform?
  • Do you send a hand-written thank you note after the interview?

Here is my advice while you are job hunting:

  • Start establishing  a powerful personal brand independent of your work experience. Pursue your own aspirations and learn how to define them and market them to the corporate world.
  • Take advantage of being a digital native and learn as much as you can with the tools at the tip of your fingertips.
  • Rethink your social media presence.  If you come to work for me, social proof is critical    Ditch the party photos and all the liquor brands you LIKE and avoid the drunken tweets. Turn your public social media presence into a showcase of your personal brand and portal of interests and skills. Connect the dots for me and demonstrate how I can’t possibly live without you on my team.
  • Be unusual and memorable.
  • Show you have a big and growing network that comes with you when you get hired.

And, whether you’ve graduated from college or never went at all, never stop learning. The Web is filled with tons of information and on-line courses.

At the end of the day, I’m looking for moldable, adaptable, resilient people who can be mentored for current positions as well as jobs that don’t exist yet.  That same person who might have made my drink at Starbucks this morning or cleared my dirty dishes at dinner last night.





Stirring the Pot

14 06 2013

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No, I’m not talking about making trouble for someone.  Cooking and selling have many things in common…You are always working with a variety of ingredients to create the desired end result.  You turn the heat up or down.  You let things simmer to achieve perfection.

Are you stirring the pot enough with your business?  We’ve all had the experience of cooking something in the kitchen while also reading a book, magazine or watching TV at the same time.  Where you become completely, temporarily engrossed in what you’re reading or watching and then SNIFF, SNIFF, the smell of charred food fills the air.  I recently set flour tortillas on fire…no kidding…in my microwave.  I was so caught up with talking on the phone that when I smelled something burning, I kept checking my pots on the stove and for the life of me, couldn’t figure out what was causing the smell and smoke.  The skillet and sauce pan were just fine.  In our sales world, we can burn things up as well and it all starts with complacency.

Complacency is defined by Mr. Webster as:  A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger or trouble.  Hello…something is definitely burning here!  Complacency happens to all of us if we allow it.  For a salesperson, or entrepreneur it is especially dangerous.  When sales are going great, you have a large client investing heavily with you, or perhaps a project deadline seems way in the future, it is easy to let up and think the workload or commitment to customer service can wait.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the large client has cash flow problems, changes their marketing direction or moves to an ad agency and it doesn’t include your advertising medium OR you.  Couple that with the fact that a project is due next week and you haven’t closed a sale all month.  Did these things happen by accident?  Absolutely not.  The pot was left on the burner too long without any attention from you.

My advice:  Stir the pot before things start to boil over.  When sales are going well is not the time to sit back, relax or become otherwise preoccupied.  It IS the perfect time to use the positive energy and confidence you feel and apply it in new directions.  Research, read books that propel you forward with ideas and attitude, call on new prospects or touch base with your current customers  so they know you’re thinking about them.  By stirring the pot, you are showing care and attention to yourself as well as your customers.  You are anticipating needs and planning for future business.  It doesn’t take much work and the rewards are great.  Let’s face it, we all need to be Betty Crocker’s of our business.








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