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. 

 

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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.








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