The Art of Delegating Part 4 — “No Backs!”

Of course you can get the job done better yourself.   Of course.  But…

It’s your job as a manager to communicate what needs to be done effectively enough for staff to be able to run with a task to completion.  It’s also your job as the manager to create an environment that fosters teamwork, trust and cooperativeness. A surefire way to destroy all of it is to pull back a task that you’ve assigned someone, or worse yet, simply hand it off to another employee midstream or do it yourself.

In the case of my colleague (see introduction post), the floor manager should have told Josh; “drop what you are doing and do all of the clean-up right now.” if he expected it to be done within minutes of asking Josh to do it.  At the very least he should have first gone to Josh and asked “why haven’t you done the clean-up yet?”  He would have been given the smart, reasonable explanation that because not all of the dirty production work was done yet, it made more sense to clean up after all of the work was completed.  But instead, the floor manager went to Steve and told him to do it, leaving Josh standing at his production machine feeling confused, frustrated and deflated as Steve breezed by doing the job he was supposed to do.ArtOfDelegating4

“But, they aren’t getting it done–or done right!” you say.  Still, it’s no reason to derail a workers self-esteem and morale by going around them.

What is the “right” way?  Let’s say it was Cathy’s job to fill 10 bins with product every morning, and sort 6 bins of parts, all by 9:00 am.  No one has ever specified which task had to be done first.  So every day for 4 days, Cathy did the products first, then the parts.  Imagine how she would feel if she arrived the 5th day only to discover the parts were already done?  And there is a co-worker, now walking over to the products, to get them sorted. “What?  But that’s my job.  Why is that person doing my job?”

If your goal for that employee is to feel frustration, fear and a sense of failure, congratulations it’s been achieved.   If it’s not, do not undermine your employees efforts by taking back a task you’ve assigned them, especially without their knowing.

The right thing to do was advise Cathy there is a specific order of importance that needs to be followed, and give clear, concise instructions on what that is–from the beginning—not reassign the task to another worker without even giving Cathy the courtesy of an explanation.  No matter what the reason.

What kind of work environment have you cultivated?  Are you approachable?  Are you respectful?  Or are you condescending?  Are you just plain rude?  Perhaps you take the path of least resistance to avoid any type of conflict—which often results in pulling away a task and reassigning it to someone else instead of confronting the actual issue.  All that does is pit people against each other and generate an environment of ill will. If your employee is stuck mid-project and not getting the job done, it could be they are afraid to admit it.

If you somehow forgot to share important instructions, own up to it, don’t make it about the person’s performance.  A good manager will pull that employee aside, apologize for not being clear initially, and give them the necessary instructions and tools to successfully complete the task.

A good manager will be straightforward, truthful and respectful of their staff.

Don’t ‘pull the rug out from under’ your employee.  Take the time to determine what the hang up is for getting a job done, or done right, and take the opportunity to coach your person through the rough patch. Work it out together, even if it means having a difficult conversation, or taking a look at your own behaviors and making some modifications.  Your employees will respect your honesty. They will appreciate your willingness to work with them.  They will be more able to trust you. You will foster a more positive, teamwork based environment.

Have you experienced bad delegation as an employee? Have you struggled with delegation as a manager? We would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share this post with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

The Art of Delegating Part 3 – Secure “Buy In” With Conviction

Just because you asked to have it done, doesn’t mean it will get done.  Or be done well.

You’d like to see your people step up and do more than just the literal basic job. In fact you expect it, because that’s how YOU work.  Sure, they moved the boxes over to the other side of the room like you asked, but made no effort to align the boxes neatly in the new location.

How can you make sure your employee is not only committed to doing the task, but embraces the opportunity to do it well?

Do they believe the quality of the job they do is a reflection on them?  Or are they just going through the motions throughout the day, because their perception is; it’s ‘just a job’ and anyone could do it, or worse yet ‘who else is going to step up and do it’?

Don’t assume they are automatically buying into the job they are given.  ArtOfDelegating3The job is often at the bottom of the “I care about this” list.  Family, finances, and health will always trump “job” in the subconscious mind.  Make the effort to find their “commitment trigger”.  What motivates them in life?  What would motivate them to want to be a top performer?

Find their Trigger!

Describe the task in a personal way that addresses their needs, and reinforces the importance, and benefits, of going beyond the basic requirements.  Approach the discussion in a positive way, include all the details, and speak to some aspect of what your employee cares about.

Then provide quantitative measurements for reaching success.  Perhaps a FAIR, GOOD, EXCELLENT scale for them to strive for.  “When your performance is “Good” I am especially pleased.  When performance is “Excellent” the entire management team takes notice and is pleased.”  Make sure they understand the elements they are being held accountable for in achieving results at each level. Then, step back and let them work without being micro managed.  Responsibility and authority go hand in hand.

Have you experienced bad delegation as an employee? Have you struggled with delegation as a manager? We would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share this post with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

The Art of Delegating Part 2 — Listen and Repeat After Me

“But you said go roll it out at 1:00, so that’s what I did….”

Oh but not like that……

How many times have you concluded that your employee must be a real idiot to have screwed up a task so badly? You wonder why in the world he/she gets the same thing wrong, over and over. ArtOfDelegating2 Yet, the employee feels like he/she followed your instructions perfectly?

Clear, two-way communication is essential to ensuring the job is done right.  How hard can that be?

First, make sure your delivery is positive.  How many times have you thought to yourself  “oh no, here we go….” with dread about getting a new assignment?  Well guess what? Your staff most certainly does this too.  Think about how you sound as you explain the scope of a new task or project.  Are you the bringer of dread?

Be upbeat, speak slowly, and include all important aspects of the assignment, including cost parameters, urgency of timing, quality expectations and ‘what if’s’.  Assure your staff you intend to provide plenty of support tools via email or print as needed.  It’s important to make clear what it is you are asking for, not necessarily how to get it done.  Make it clear that you are there for them if they have questions or concerns.

Then ask your employee to say back to you what he or she understands the task or project to be. There’s always more than one right answer.  Their interpretation may reveal a different way of getting the same job done—perhaps in a better way.  That’s your golden opportunity to guide your employee into taking ownership of the assignment, and clear up any misunderstanding about what the task actually is.  It’s also an opportunity for your employee to ask questions as to how you’d prefer the task be done, or make suggestions.

If every time a task is slightly “complex” your worker has to endure a 30 minute oration by you mid-stream that belittles them or assumes they are not competent when in fact it was your poor instructions or unexpected outside factors that got them stuck in the first place, that employee is going to be less and less enthused about coming to you for… anything. 

Once you are both on the same page, agree on a time to circle the wagons.  Unless you are comfortable with going from zero to complete without any communication or clue how things are progressing, make sure you establish expectation requirements on getting progress updates throughout the project.  Use this time to provide positive feedback to your employee, as well as find out how they are feeling about the project.  This will give you some piece of mind to see how things are coming along, or allow you to get things back on track before it’s too late.

Have you experienced bad delegation as an employee? Have you struggled with delegation as a manager? We would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share this post with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

 

The Art of Delegating Part 1 – Decisions, Decisions

A delegator is only as good as their ability to define the task to complete is.  Do you actually know what you want?

Decide on the task or project.  Consider every detail about it.  Leave nothing out.

Then, choose your worker.ArtOfDelegating1

Your employees can’t read your mind or deliver results if the task is not made clear.  If you have an idea of what you want, but cannot write down succinct steps as to what it is or how you need it to happen, you are not ready to delegate it to someone for completion.

“Just do what you think.”

That might be fine for a seasoned professional you trust implicitly.  But it is a dangerous game to play, especially if “what they think” isn’t anywhere near what you were hoping for.  It wastes your time, their time, and the company’s profitability.  Are you sure that you want that particular person to attempt to do the job?  Consider the task, and choose wisely the person to get it done.  Maybe it’s not an assignment appropriate for certain members your staff .

Once you’ve clearly defined the scope of the job and know what your employees strengths and limitations are, also be clear as to what you are willing to be flexible about BEFORE setting them loose on the task.  Nit picking details and endless corrections throughout an assignment will not only frustrate you, but will put your employee over the top with angst, lack of trust and respect for you.

“Counterproductive” is the polite word to describe an ever changing assignment.  Know what you are asking for and know who you want to do it before you ask for it.  Make sure you’ve left no important details out. You may want to even add a couple “what if” contingency plans for unexpected snags.  Then stick with your decision.  With clearly stated instructions and expectations, your employee will be able to hit the mark with ease instead of chase a moving target to exhaustion.

 

Have you experienced bad delegation as an employee? Have you struggled with delegation as a manager? We would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share this post with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

The Art of Delegating – Introduction to a 4 Part Series

The other day I was talking with a former colleague who manages a production department, and is struggling with delegation issues.  He described an incident where two employees actually fought a tug of war with a broom over who was going to sweep the shop floor.  One ended up storming out, and consequently was written up.

“How can this be?” I asked.

As it turns out, my colleague had promoted someone into a floor manager role who was lacking in certain skills; namely, the ability to delegate.  “Josh” was on a press finishing up a product run.  The floor manager asked Josh to sweep and dump the trash before the end of the day.  Josh had about 25 minutes left to complete the product run, and just over an hour left in the day. No problem.  But when the floor manager saw dirt on the floor and the garbage still there 15 minutes after assigning him the task, he turned to Steve and said “go sweep and dump trash or it will never get done.”

And so the problem began.  ArtOfDelegate

Josh, while working hard to finish up his run, caught a glimpse of Steve sweeping.  Confused, he felt Steve was being an opportunist by trying to take away his responsibility and make him look bad. Steve thought he was just doing his job, didn’t appreciate Josh getting possessive about the task, and  felt “set up” by the floor manager. In the end, neither got the job done, one was written up and the floor manager ended up with the chore.

“My department seems to really struggle with job satisfaction.  People are quitting more, and the energy is so heated sometimes you can cut it with a knife.  What do I do?  I don’t want to demote they guy now, but he can’t keep the peace, get things done, or even keep employee morale intact. He’s out there doing their tasks instead of crunching numbers half the time!” my colleague sighed.

Just because a person is assigned responsibility to manage others, doesn’t mean they should have been.

Clearly, the floor manager is lacking on all sorts of levels and his manager needs to think about how to coach him through, or out.  Having him learn some delegation skills would be a step in the right direction.

The clinical definition of delegate, as a verb, is:

To choose (someone) to do something

To assign responsibility or authority

To give (control, responsibility, authority, etc) to someone: to trust someone with (a job, duty, etc.)

Entrust (a task of responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself.  “he delegates routine tasks”

Day to day, delegation is three basic things.  Communication, letting go and empowering the other person.

Communication is key.  Less than 1% of the entire population is composed of bone-a-fide mind readers.  There’s a good chance your employees are not in that 1% group.  If you don’t actually say what you want, they are not going to know. When you articulate clear, concise instructions that your team can understand and run with, you will be better able to do your job.

As a manager, you have to be strong and secure enough to let go of control.  Did you forget why the people working for you were chosen?  You are not a one person team.  Let go! Trust that others are competent.  Remember the people working for you are being paid to do a job. Give them some credit that they know how to do it. Keep in mind that there is always more than one right way to get things done, and someone else’s way can be just as successful as your way.  When the people around you look good, you look good.  Let go, and you’ll be better able to do your job.

Last, as a manager, you have to let the people you hired to do the job do the job.  Step back and let your employees do their job, without fear of having the task taken away mid-stream .  Are you the press operator?  No, you’re the manager.  Are you the designer?  No, you’re the manager.  Are you the sales person?  No, you’re the manager.  Respect the various roles and duties within your organization.  Most importantly let your workers do their job completely, in a way that makes them feel glad to be there, and gives them a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.  If you let them do their jobs, and feel the positive results of getting it done, you will be better able to do your job.

Sounds simple, but there’s a little more to it.  Welcome to a 4 Part Series on the Art of Delegating, posting the next 4 Mondays.  If you need to delegate, follow these four basic rules of thumb and you will see increased productivity, and find yourself  with more time for things you should be spending time on.  That is, of course, unless you enjoy running ragged doing it all yourself while your employees stand by and watch.

Have you experienced bad delegation as an employee? Have you struggled with delegation as a manager? We would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share this post with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

The Game Tracker, Part 1

In the beginning, I was the girl in the background, ease-dropping on the “guy conversations”, wanting to know more.

Oh, but I wasn’t invited into those dialogues. Instead my curiosity was met with sarcasm. I endured smirks and taunting’s, like “What?  You want to shoot Bambi? Awwwwe, you wouldn’t shoot Bambi, would you?”

Once I finally expressed interest to a more temperate boyfriend, I became the girl wearing mismatched, oversized men’s camo clothing.  Clunking along through the woods with my size 7 feet in a men’s 11 Sorels.

From there, I trailed behind several boyfriends, trying to do exactly as told; walk quietly, no sudden movements, sit still, stay down wind. Oh, how cute I was.  Oh, how patronizing things were sometimes.  I was “darlin” and “sweetie” and “hon” a lot.  I would be told “horror stories” about field dressing and blood trails, challenging my sensibilities.

Then I built my own bow.

I was given a hodgepodge assortment of 5 arrows.

I practiced daily.

I became a really good shot.

In 6 years and 4 boyfriends, I spent many days in the field, but had yet to bag my first deer. It was in those early years that I discovered a few important things, like; not all guys were good hunters, and watching a guy take a 250 yard “Hail Mary” shot across an open field while screaming out obscenities might not be the thing to emulate, and what it took to unwrap and eat a snickers bar without getting caught. It was in those early years that I discovered my paralyzing, unconquerable fear of heights, and my intuitive comfort level being alone in the woods.

I discovered hunting was my calling.

Shortly after those 6 years of trials, tribulations and “ah ha” moments I landed the dream job that would shape the rest of my life: selling ads for a leading hunting magazine. The floodgates of knowledge and opportunity opened up for this girl in a matter of weeks, as I met virtually every major manufacturer and personality in the hunting industry over the winter.

I found a new circle.

And it wasn’t at all like the one I started out with.

The first “real” hunting attire I was given was more exciting than getting a diamond ring. A complete TreBark camo outfit—still the most cherished articles of clothing I own.  And although I was proud as punch to show off my self-built “compound bow in a kit”, Olympic Champion Ann Clark had other plans for me.  Suddenly I was the proud owner of a Hoyt Specta bow, which I still have today.  Then, Jim Dougherty presented me with a dozen (yes, a whole dozen!)  matched arrows. Clearly, my new colleagues were determined to have me “dressed for success”.  Soon I was to find out why….

That next fall I was invited to be part of the Inaugural All Woman Bowhunt, hosted by Bob Eastman, President of Gametracker Company. An elite group of a dozen women from the outdoors industry banding together for a week of media blazed deer hunting on Bobs private property; the “Tens Or Better Ranch”.  The group included amazing women like Ann Clark, Ann Hoyt, Jeanne Dunn, Kay Richey, Marilyn Nicholas, Kathy Beutler, Jan Bobsine, and my dear friend Loral I Delaney.  I confided to Loral I that I felt out of my league. I could barely contain my excitement to be surrounded by such fabulous women in a hunting camp.

Talk about going from rags to riches–surely I was dreaming! Was this all just a Cinderella fairy tale? I packed up my fancy TreBark outfit, a few other mismatched items, my new bow and arrows, and by then I had acquired a dozen Rocky Mountain Broadheads from Barrie Archery….

And I was on a plane to Michigan with Loral I.

Bob Eastman’s “people” picked us up and brought us to his home. Stepping into his house was like walking into a wildlife museum.  Dozens of stunning exotic mounts were displayed throughout the main floor.  Animals he had harvested from all corners of the earth were there.  It was truly breath taking.  I was in awe of Bob Eastman before I even met him.

And then we were introduced.

He was bursting with energy; a complex, articulate, innovative, creative man with a serious passion for the outdoors. I watched him bounce back and forth from playful banter with his guests to stepping aside with his staff to talk business.  He approached me squarely, enthusiastically, and addressed me by name.  He never once called me ‘darling, sweetie or hon’.  He pulled me aside and asked me questions about my work, and told me about his company.  He talked hunting with me on purpose, as an equal.  He was genuinely excited that I was a part of the group.  He made me feel welcome, but more importantly, he made me feel worthy, when, admittedly I was wondering why, with all the women to choose from, I was invited to be a part of this group?

1stLadiesGroupBob Eastman became my first outdoors idol.

One of the criteria for Bobs hunting event was agreeing to use his String Tracker product. Like most hunting accessories, I’d never heard of them until stepping into my new career, and I had much to learn. I was becoming a sponge for devouring information.  He spoke about the String Tracker with such conviction that by the end of the week, I was ready to go out and convert every bowhunter in the country.

By the end of the week, I was the only participant to arrow a deer. And it was my first deer, ever! And it was harvested using the String Tracker.  Cameras snapped image after image of Bob and I, Loral I and I, and just me.  The inaugural event wasn’t even over, but Bob was already talking about setting up the next one.

He made me feel accomplished. I was showered with lavish gifts including a hand painted wildlife scene from Chuck Denault. I was celebrated at dinner the last evening of our event, and my confidence as a bowhunter simply rose off the charts. That confidence has stayed with me for years and years.  And through the years of working in the hunting industry, Bob always treated me like a good friend and colleague.  He bragged about my first deer to everyone he came in contact with, even years later. 1stDeerWithBob

I am blessed to know Bob Eastman and have shared our passion for the outdoors in business, and hunting camp. His supportive, confidence boosting nature has made a lasting impression on my heart, and in my life.

 

You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”, and “Words from the Wild”. Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in my personal perspective, and PR Brady AdVentures.

Stuck On The Bad

It was my great fortune to meet Sally (not her real name) years ago through an outdoors workshop program. We taught workshops together, and became friends.

Sally was extraordinary.

I’ve never known anyone else so artistic, expressive, and truly gifted.   Watching her come up with an idea was like watching magic unfold.  She had an eye for color, for concepts, and for creativity like I’d never seen.  I’ll never forget the day she showed me her multicolored hand painted chairs.  Crazy cool!  As was often the case, they were works of art.KateStuckOnTheBad

And what an adventurer–a lover of the outdoors. Sally was a woman of the earth.  So natural.  She was someone who you could paddle out in a canoe with and simply breathe.  No words required.  And, it was a priceless experience to work side by side with her, teaching outdoor skills to others.  She sparkled when she taught–she was so excited and animated.  Her love of the outdoors spilled onto everyone she came in contact with.

She was so very proud of family—so intent on being a good wife and mother. Her creative energy flowed to her family, and her unique ways of bragging up her kids were all over the house.  She was so very proud of her kids.  The way she talked about them, I wished I had a mom like that growing up.

And she was such a loving soul. So caring, and giving to others.  Even when we weren’t able to stay in touch, she still thought of me.  I treasure her Christmas cards—especially the one containing the photograph filled with their litter of puppies! I am honored to be able to say I know Sally. I think of her often when I am in the woods, especially if I am lost. She was an expert in orienteering.

Was.

The last time I saw her was years ago, because, well, Sally ended her life.

I share this story with you for a very specific purpose. Although extreme, it serves as an example of how important it is to be aware of our behaviors.  Especially potentially destructive ones; how important it is to recognize and own them, reach out for help, and make the effort to modify them when needed.

Everyone saw Sally as the amazing woman I did, except Sally. Perhaps you, too, know someone like Sally, someone who has made that fateful decision–lost a battle to the invisible demons that rattle inside their heads.

We think we know people.

But sometimes, there is the person that we all see on the outside, and a different voice sneaking around their mind on the inside, unseen.  Some people, like Sally, truly struggle with self-worth and validation on the inside.  That is something we never see.  In fact, all of the praise in the world could not ever make up for just one micro-small criticism in her mind.

One simplistic example:

Perhaps her manager celebrates her excellent performance with a long list of all of the things she excels at as a teacher. He thinks she’s great—the best even, and goes on about how pleased he is with her for 30 minutes. Then he suggests she may want to just tone down the time spent on little Johnny, it would give her more time for the other kids. Sally listens to all of the praise, but then disregards every bit of it after hearing the suggestion—hanging onto how she should have been toning things down.

Just think how a lifetime of storing up those criticisms could weigh on a person if they let them!

Why is it so hard to hang onto that positive piece? Why toss the compliments out the window and obsess about the bad stuff?  Interpretation plays a strong role in focusing on the negative.  Psychologists refer to it as a survival skill. We humans are all pre-programmed to give more attention to negative than to positive incoming data.  We’ve done it since the beginning of time, as a mechanism of self-protection.  For some, even if that negative piece is less than 1% of the overall data they receive, they are glued to it. And goodness knows we are splattered with good and bad data all day every day.  We get it at home, at work, with friends, and in public places.  If all you retain is the bad, it can become paralyzing.  It can affect your relationships, work, and jeopardize your overall success.  For some people, like Sally, those tiny negative bits can accumulate, and develop into a force that completely takes them down.

How can you protect yourself from letting criticism dominate your life?

No one is exempt from getting knocked down from time to time. It’s how you handle the getting back up part that counts.  Real people seek counsel.  There is no shame in seeking professional help to re-program from a deep rooted thought process or mind set.  But before you ever get to that point, here are 4 simple steps of preventive medicine that have worked for me—perhaps they will work for you too.

Live a Life of Gratitude

Being able to open your eyes, look around and fill your heart with everything that you have to be grateful for, leaves little room for negativity to creep in. It also attracts other like- minded people that will keep that momentum going.  Being thankful, grateful and appreciative all generate positivity.  What goes around, comes around.

“Act As If”

Make a list of the things you are really good at. If you find yourself being sucked into negativity and criticism, pull out that list, remind yourself of things you are good at, and think about how you want to feel about yourself.  Just as your self-talk can bring you down, self-talk can bring you up.  Recite your positive list, and “act as if” you are all things positive, amazing and wonderful until you actually believe it yourself.

Consider The Source

It’s a fact. Not everyone wants, likes, approves of, or chooses the same things that you do.  If a person criticizes you for your personal choice, take a good look at them, realize it’s about them, not you, and discard their comment.  It’s ok to agree to disagree.  Their opinion isn’t going to make or break your pathway to success, right?  With that said, there’s usually strength in numbers.  If 57 people all approached you on Tuesday saying you could have gotten your point across without dumping lunch on Louise—well, re-wind the scene–maybe you did overstep a bit.  Being humble, and open to addressing a true weakness will shift your brains thought process from one of negativity to one of empowerment and progress.

Be Positive

Surround yourself with all things positive—all things. Begin each day with a positive statement. Write yourself uplifting sayings on sticky notes and post them around the house.  Set aside time each day to do something you love.  Initiate positive feedback towards others. Practice describing situations in a completely positive light.  Walk away from the people and stories that drag you down, and spend your time with people who are enthusiastic, energetic, and generate a positive energy.  Remove all the toxicity from your day that you have the power to, and “Act As If” the rest of it isn’t there.

Criticism, even positive criticism, can be hard to swallow, yet it’s something we all have to endure throughout our lives. Recognizing you have a tendency to cling to the negative is the first step to ending it’s potentially dangerous effects.  If your life is filled with positivity, there’s just no room for the negative.   If you’ve experienced this type of behavior more often than not, choose to do something about it.  Create a plan today for kicking negative feedback in its proverbial butt.  Clear the way for empowerment, motivation and positivity in your life.

 

PR Brady AdVentures is always ready to help you get there. Message me today to begin exploring your full potential with a Personal Power session or Custom Retreat. Feel free to share with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

 

The “I Blew It!” Post-Interview

You did your homework, got to the top of the resume pile, were called for an interview, made a stellar impression, and it all seemed to be going great. The department manager gave you all the cues that you are a “shoe in” for sure.  They will be wrapping things up in a matter of a couple weeks.  You shake hands goodbye and  leave the building filled with excitement and anticipation.

You get home and fire off an eloquent “thank you” that same day.

A couple weeks come and go.

You fire off an email reiterating your interest in the position….

Two more weeks with no response…..

And then you find yourself crying out “I blew it! I don’t know how, but I blew it!  I didn’t get the job! What did I do wrong???”

Sound familiar?

Why is it that we always go for our own jugular, blaming ourselves? What if they blew it?

It’s easy to feel rejection during the job seeking process. There’s no room for speculation if you have the rare fortune of receiving an actual rejection letter.  But the truly frustrating situation is when it all seems to go ‘from hero to zero’ the moment you walk out of the interview.

That dreaded dead air space of no post-interview communication whatsoever.

Think through your interview experience carefully one more time. Walk through the communication exchange. Do you feel confident about everything said and done?  Then unless you picked a great big green goober out of your nose prior to shaking the interviewers hand on the way out, or something equally awful, there is no reason to assume the lack of post interview communication is because you blew the interview.  There are many other possible reasons why you haven’t gotten to that next step of the process yet.

Consider just some of the real alternate possibilities besides “you blew it” for starters.

Shortly after the company’s hiring team had their great interview with you:

  1. The company put a freeze on hiring until further notice.
  2. The decision was made by someone above the interviewer to hire from within.
  3. The decision was made by someone above the interviewer to hire the CEO’s kid.
  4. The original plan to expand operations, develop the new department and positions was derailed or delayed.
  5. Budget cuts eliminated the ability to fill the position entirely.

Without a doubt, the polite, responsible, and “right” thing to do is to not leave a candidate hanging. But that isn’t always taken into consideration. Who isn’t overextended these days? And not all companies have a culture that includes that kind of courtesy to their job candidates. Truthfully, in any or all of these situations, the last thing on anyone’s mind at that company may be to follow up with job interview candidates, especially if it’s to say they’ve been usurped.  Perhaps the company works under a “hire by committee” format , or crap is hitting the fan in the office. And in that case, do you really want to work in that kind of environment??  If you are certain that your stellar interview was in fact, stellar, then all you can do afterwards is continue to do your best to keep that positive connection going:

  • During the interview, ask the interviewer for a timeframe when they expect to reach a decision. (let’s say they will reach their decision in 3 weeks), and get his “agreement” for you to keep in touch regarding status.
  • Send that eloquent thank you on the interview day.
  • If you can come up with a compelling, question or statement about the company or position, email it to the interviewer halfway to that 3 week decision date—further demonstrating your interest in the company and position.
  • After that 3 week decision deadline, reach out via email first thing in the morning, and ask if you are still being considered for the position. Include the heads up that you will also follow up with them by phone at XXX time (should be late that afternoon or before noon the following day).
  • Call them at XXX time with a short message reiterating the content of your email (your interest in the position and status of where you stand in the hiring process).
  • If there is no response in a week, email the interviewer again, reiterating a key point you saw eye to eye on and how interested you are in the position. Include the heads up that you will also follow up with them via phone on XXX date–make that phone call date a week later.
  • Call them on XXX date. If you get voicemail, be prepared to leave a short, well stated message including your interest in the position and a request for an update on the process.
  • Wait another 2 weeks. If there is no response, make the phone call, reiterating your interest in the company and position, ask if the position is still available.
  • Wait another 2 weeks, email the interviewer again, asking for an update on if the position is still available and the status of the hiring process.
  • If still no response, make a note to email the interviewer in about 45 days, checking in to see if they have placed someone yet, how the chosen candidate is working out—and do they have any new positions coming open any time soon?

If your interview was with an HR “minion”, your efforts could end up not making much if any difference.  But if your interview was truly with the decision makers, these steps will remind them why they felt you were a good fit.

Keep your head in the game, and keep the communication going. Not hearing back on an interview that went well doesn’t automatically mean you “blew” it. Always remember there is only one you, and you have great value! Rejection is not always about you—it could very likely be about them. Always be positive and at your best!

 

PR Brady AdVentures is ready, reasonable, and available to help you with your job search process. Message me today. Feel free to share with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

Archery Sales and Equipment-A Perspective

Although it’s sometimes hard to imagine, I’ve spent perhaps 30 years working on my archery equipment needs.  With me being technologically  challenged, the idea of switching out my set up and accessories on bows for hunting versus target was just too much, so I have several set-ups.   My multiple bow arsenal is complete with all accessories, practice and “go time” arrows matched for each bow.  Each bow has a purpose, whether it be outdoor target, indoor target, bowfishing, rugged “out west” hunting, etc.  I take care to maintain my equipment, and by doing that it has continued to serve me well years later.  My NEWEST bow is my Martin Scepter.

Yes, a Martin Scepter (I believe now they are on Scepter V Series).  It has been the only bow I pick up each September bow opener for years.  I absolutely love that bow.  Love it!  It is easy on my body as I age.  I consistently bring home dinner with that bow.

Sure, it would be cool to have the latest and greatest.  But do I actually need all that?  Of course not.  My Martin Scepter takes care of my needs.  It shoots perfectly.  I have complete confidence in the field with it.  It holds great sentimental value (especially now that the Martins are no longer the helm).   I don’t really care much about “keeping up with the Jone’s” and upgrading to the newest model or hottest brand out there each year.  The animals don’t judge me for what kind of bow I’m shooting—or how old it may be.  And I don’t care what anyone else around me thinks.  Not everyone has deep pockets, or a need to impress others.  Guess that makes me not an ideal consumer.

For me, when I go to the practice range and see 3 or 5 or more guys standing around with their brand new top of the line bows that they have spent well over $700 on, I smile.  We both will hit the bulls-eye.  But my shots are a lot less expensive.  I’m not judging.  Perhaps for some people it’s their first bow, and of course, you have to start somewhere.  I glance at them and think to myself;

“There’s a new garage door in his hands, there’s a week in Bonaire, Scuba Diving, there’s gas and camping fees for an entire deer season, or there’s enough replacement arrows for the rest of my life.” I am grateful that I have the wear-with-all to be frugle.

Now, if Santa Claus delivered me a brand new top of the line bow for Christmas, I sure would embrace it with wild enthusiasm.  But until my Martin Scepter falls apart in my hands, it will remain my steady companion in the woods.

So, when  someone like me walks into a Cabela’s, or Archery Retail store, looking for a $4.00 bag of replacement nocks, how in the world do you upsell me?

Start out with a conversation—find something out about my current equipment situation. Now that you know, consider me a long term project and provide me SERVICE! SERVICE! SERVICE! SERVICE! SERVICE!

Help me — You just found out I have at least 5 bows and they are all at least 10 or more years old.  I’m very busy and travel all over to hunt.  I could use someone else’s help with equipment upkeep and maintenance. Does the store offer a maintenance plan? A chronograph?  Can you re-string and tune my bow? What do you charge to fletch a dozen arrows? How can you help me have more time in the field?

Information – Offer me something useful to think about.  Give me some of the latest legislation, or rules and regulations, just to have, or update me on what’s the latest and greatest in equipment, and how it measures up to what I currently use.  Perhaps I should consider a new rangefinder?  Maybe there is a new scent technology outfit that would be great just for me.

Opportunities—whether they are for seminars, practice shooting, hunting trips, social leagues, or special sales, share something about the store with me that will encourage me to come back.  The more times I come back, the better the chances I’ll be making additional purchases.

Sometimes it seems retail has gotten away from the old adage, “treat each and every customer as though they are your only customer.” It’s what I am expecting from the sales staff when I am standing in their store.

So is it true I’m not an ideal customer?  No way!

Small purchases are nothing to balk at.  The sales person who takes the time to know me, and respects what I need, and don’t need, will quickly become a trusted vendor in my eyes. That’s who I will turn to when I do decide to make bigger purchases, or it’s time to retire my favorite bow. That’s who I will look to for hunting and shooting ideas, and a feeling of community.  That’s where I will tell everyone else to shop.

PR Brady AdVentures offers individual and group training on Sales and Customer Service Excellence.  Empower your team and increase your bottom line–contact me today!

Manufacturing Across The Pond

Ah yes, consumerism.

Several years ago I purchased a wonderful oversized lounge chair.  It has become my favorite destination to collapse into in the back yard, after a long day out in the field or the boat.  I have used it as a spare bed.  It’s adjustable, comfortable, sturdy, and will likely last forever.  Last week I went to that same store, to hopefully purchase another lounger to keep in my RV (yes, that Toy Hauler of mine that has had dozens of things go wrong right out of the dealers lot, and ongoing problems).  To my pleasant surprise, the same brand was at that store!  To my not so pleasant surprise, when I picked it up, it was much lighter, the fabric much thinner and the frame much less sturdy. It will not last forever.   And the price?  About 40% more than my original lounger.

How disappointing. My brand loyalty went right out the window.  Again.

Seems manufacturing and production has shifted into making the cheapest product the fastest, with little regard for product longevity, and the majority of it is done overseas.  Can’t even count how many outdoors products like flash lights, lanterns, camping accessories, and so on have literally fallen apart in my hands 6 months into the purchase. Not one product says “Made In America”.  What happened to quality made product, anyway?

Is there a global perception that consumers no longer buy based on performance and brand loyalty?  Are they really only surfing for the best “deal” of the moment, constantly brand hopping based on price, with no concern for long term use or where the product was made?  At least that’s what some experts claim.  If this is true, consider what that does to the American Manufacturer, if the cost to generate product continues to become higher than the price the market is willing to pay?  There are certainly many cases where it makes sense to produce product in other areas of the world, but is it the answer for everything?  Probably not.

Several weeks ago an old friend reached out to me, asking for support in boycotting products manufactured overseas. He admitted having had a hand in the developing of outdoors products in China, many years ago.  Today he is filled with regret, and a burning desire to spearhead change.  Who would have guessed, 15 or 20 years ago, that sharing some ideas would come to this? I remember those days well.  First one treestand manufacturer started manufacturing overseas.  Then another, then another….and pretty soon, you couldn’t find but a handful of treestands manufactured in the United States.  And just as fast as the origin of manufacturing changed, there became a need to develop an organization whose sole purpose was to protect those “manufacturers” from product liability, as more and more treestand accidents were occurring.

“You get what you pay for?”

The thing is, at the end of the day, what do foreign made product profit margins really look like? Weighing out the cost to manufacture in the USA, versus the cost to manufacture overseas.  As new businesses are developed, it’s easy to grab that international production referral, and jump on the import band wagon to produce a product at a profitable price point overseas.  But close scrutiny may reveal it’s not such a good deal after all.

There are many unique costs associated with overseas production that may prove “it’s a wash” at best to set up shop across the pond.  Sure, overseas labor costs are a fraction of the cost of labor in the states.  But it’s not that simple. Don’t forget the expense of having qualified experts on site to manage QA and general operations. Long distance management, especially without your own right hand man on site, can be highly stressful. You can’t just run down the hall to check on things—your livelihood is plugging along, thousands of miles away.  And about that QA?  Maybe materials are less expensive overseas, but what kind of quality do they deliver?

Consider my new lounger.  Or my new Toy Hauler–the plumbing began failing in the first year, the parts made overseas couldn’t survive traveling over the road (hummm, isn’t that what you do with an RV is drive it down the road?).  Just sayin’.

In addition, the entire process associated with importing of goods is complex, expensive, and sometimes unreliable.  What happens to your cost to do business, or your seasonal product, if your ocean freight container is pushed to the back of the list and doesn’t make the boat on schedule?  Your entire year can be held hostage by elements completely out of your control. Conversely, the cost to manage that piece of your business with a seasoned expert can destroy ROI in a hurry as well.  The way to capture your best CPP is volume.  VOLUME.  But after investing in it, and manufacturing it, where do you keep that volume?  Not completely factoring in the cost to store product until it hits the shelves will also skew your bottom line. From overseas, to customs, to rail, to road, to warehouse (or distributor), to storefront, to consumer.  Any problem along the way can wreck your year.  What else can go wrong?  Suddenly discovering you have invested in a great big “boat load” of poorly made product that you can’t sell.

I want a sturdy lounger.  I want a brand new camper I can feel safe using when I’m far away from repair resources. I want a treestand that won’t break out from under me.  I want to see products made with pride in the USA, bringing strength to our economy and helping to support our peoples’ wellbeing.

Are things like that important to you?

Do the math.  All the math.  There are communities all across our country begging for manufacturing opportunities, and willing to work with companies to bring them in.  Maybe it makes absolute sense to paddle over to a foreign country and build your mousetrap.  But you may find that it’s not such a good financial deal to manufacture overseas.  You may also find that you will gain a regime of loyal purchasers and a favorable reputation in the business community because your product is made in the USA.  The grass isn’t always greener, manufacturing across the pond.

 

Want help doing the math, or more information on offshore manufacturing feasibility?  Contact PR Brady AdVentures.