Thank You And Goodbye

Two years ago right now, I was preparing to announce my resignation from my corporate position.  Oh, how I felt like I was carrying a “dirty little secret” around most days.  I couldn’t seem to pull the trigger.  So scared to set things in motion. Just couldn’t do it.  Day after day, almost there….then nope, can’t do it.  Holding fast to the mantra “leap and the net will appear”, I was waiting for the right time to present my two week notice.

And waiting.

What was the right time?  When is the right time to walk away from a sure thing?

Ha, that’s assuming what you have is a sure thing.  Something you are happy with.  Something you, and your employer, can see yourself doing, and doing, and doing……forever…and these days, everyone is expendable.  There is no sure thing, except for death and taxes.

In my case, I could have stayed at that position forever.  I loved the job itself, the customers, the territory, the colleagues, and generally speaking, I loved the philosophy behind the company I worked for. I would still be there “if only”. But despite all of it, there were enough unfixable “if only” dynamics going on to make me realize, it was time to go after what I was most passionate about.  At least give it a try, or maybe live with regrets for the rest of my life.

So the day finally came for me to say “Thank you, and goodbye.” more or less.  Well, the way it really went down was;  I met with the Business Manager mid-afternoon, presented my heart-felt resignation with a commendable 2 week exit plan (demonstrating my commitment and respect for the company, the customers, the job and the future) all of which she was grateful to receive.  The next morning, while on my way to my first meeting, I received a call, and was advised to not keep any of my appointments, but instead drive into the office, turn in my phone, company lap top and anything else, and see personnel about wrapping up the loose ends as this would be my last day.

Not what I expected.  That’s just not how I roll.  Leaving people hanging.  Leaving things un-transitioned, and “untidy”.  Frankly it was rather devastating, somewhat humiliating. Certainly eye opening.

But, this is often how companies deal with resignations.  Whether you initiate the separation or the company does, it seems that more and more, the two week notice is not a part of the process. Being walked out the door is.  This begs the question; how do you keep it a professional and positive break?

One simple phrase and we are done here:

“Take The High Road.”

Okay, so it’s not so simple and we’re not done here, but truthfully, the key really is to always take the high road.

In my case, sure I could have focused on the ‘real’ root cause of what pushed me to make my decision, but that would have proved nothing, changed nothing, or meant nothing to them.  Instead, I focused on what positive outcome came of my situation, and looked at things in a positive light. Circumstances lit a fire under my rear, and awakened something in me.  Deciding to resign presented me an opportunity to pursue my heart’s desire, my passion.  Keeping that in perspective allowed me to act diplomatically, and feel proud that I maintained professionalism throughout the resignation process. That, in turn, reflected what I stand for in business and life.

Five Simple High Road Tips

Behind Closed Doors—without a doubt, in life, never tell anyone anything you want to remain a secret.  Even your best friend.  Your mom.  Probably not wise to tell the dog.  For sure not the bird. So for goodness sake, don’t whisper in confidence to anyone at the office that you intend to resign. No one should know a thing until after you officially present your resignation.  Why not?  Out of respect.  Besides, perhaps they’ll try to convince you to stay. But most importantly, because no matter how good someone’s intentions are, your secret will somehow, some way get out, and to have your employer hear you’re leaving through the company grapevine is tacky, disrespectful, and unprofessional.  No matter if you are ‘hating on your job’, or especially if you are not, it’s simply not taking the high road to leak the news.

The Animals Are Restless—when word does get out that you have resigned, keep in mind, maybe you will be afforded a transition period, or maybe not.  Either way, make sure you don’t spend the remainder of your time in the office spewing horror stories to your colleagues and customers about how awful it’s been to work there.  The damage control that will need to happen long after you are gone could be unforgivable Likewise, how rude to initiate bragging sessions about your new position, there’s no need to rub it in to those you are leaving behind.  If someone asks what your next step is going to be, have a short, articulate explanation prepared that simply states the facts.  Take that high road, remain professional, and don’t be construed as someone who tried to launch a mass mutiny.

Be The Superhero—even if you are already an overachieving super employee, do your best to remain, if not exceed that image once you have reached your decision to resign, and follow through right up until your last minute.  Spending your remaining time, however long that may be, ensuring your customers and/or replacement is going to have a smooth transition will speak volumes to your integrity. While a two week notice remains standard, normal, and the expected, do what makes sense for your situation. Continue to work hard, be helpful, offer transition time. Let your employer know you don’t intend to abandon them in a pile of chaos. Take care to not burn a bridge here. Let it be their decision to not take you up on your help.  Your customers and colleagues, if they knew you at all, will know the difference, and you will end up on top, having taken the high road.

Greener Grass—of course….I repeat OF COURSE, your employer is scared shitless that you are going to run over to the competition, whether they admit it or not.  Can you blame them?  They are thinking it, suspecting it, fearing it—some, perhaps, worried about their entire workforce 24-7, 365.  If you live your life taking the high road, then most likely you’re not jumping into the enemy camp in the first place. But unless you tell your employer up front, they will not know it, and they will be writhing with a growing discomfort, that could fester into a bitter resentment.  Even if you do tell them, they may not believe it.  There’s only so far you can go on this planet; “it’s a small world after all”.  If you want to salvage any hope of maintaining a positive, professional relationship after you’re gone, offer some reassurance that you aren’t jumping the fence.

That is, of course, unless you are going to work for the competition.  Then, that’s a whole new discussion we should be having off-line.

The Exit Interview—careful what you say, and how you say it.  Accusations, criticisms, and blaming, no matter how true it all is to you, is definitely a low road approach.  Talking trash about the company, processes, or people could easily come back to bite you. The interviewer is most likely going to be trained to draw it all out of you if you are not paying attention.  If you worked for a super-sonic ass, they probably already knew that.  Maybe it was their plan in the first place, with the intention to force you out.  If the compensation, or the job description, or the business rules or whatever were just not aligned with your way of thinking, don’t give the interviewer a verbal thrashing about it.  Resist the urge to unload on them, and keep your tone as positive as possible.  Perhaps reposition your thoughts something like:

“This company’s complete lack of a system for tracking performance and incentives was a total rip off and made me crazy” could be turned into “I appreciate the many important business rules and procedures this company has taught me during my employment.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re leaving your job for a better position, to be a stay at home parent, to start a new business or franchise, or if you plan to walk out the door and file a law suit against your employer. Regardless of your motivations for leaving, always take the high road and follow these tips during the resignation process.  Keep things on your end positive, professional, and peaceful.

At the same time, understand that your employer may not reciprocate with professionalism.  They may not have it in them. They may support business acumen or a culture that doesn’t allow a “live and let live” arrangement to occur.  So be it. ???????? Let them walk you out, talk you down, and do you wrong.  The fact that you, at least, did take the high road will speak volumes about you to them and everyone else, to their chagrin. If you need to take legal action, you can do that once you’ve officially severed the ties.

But if your employer does also take that high road approach, it’s a beautiful win-win!  You both will be able to maintain a healthy, positive business relationship that could be useful down the road, sometime in the future—a great credit to both of you.

So, on that note,

Thank You and Goodbye!  😉

 

Looking for some discreet coaching with career plans? Need to hash out some specific issues you are facing?  Contact PR Brady AdVentures, I’d love to help!

 

Ouch, A Rejection Letter!

It keeps happening.  You apply for a job, knowing you are perfectly suited for it, but you are passed over.  Sure, it’s typical to not hear a word, but when you actually see it in writing…‘thanks, but no thanks’…well….how demoralizing, right?

As a firm believer in limitless possibilities, I challenge you. What if you tried looking at rejection differently?  Here is an excellent perspective I came across recently, written by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran. She is the founder of New Chapter New Life, is a career coach, speaker and author of an ebook called, Should I Stay or Should I Go?

“How to Act After Getting A Rejection Letter

We all hate rejection. It makes us feel bad that someone doesn’t really like or want us. When you see you’ve been rejected in black and white it’s can take the wind out of our sail as a job seeker.

After we get a rejection letter and recover our balance the tendency is to shy away from that company, those people and maybe even that type of job. It can and often does, change our behavior and often not in a way that serves us well. Don’t let that be you.

Let’s look at a rejection letter first and then what your actions and behavior should be following a rejection letter.

What Does A Rejection Letter Really Mean?

If you made it through all of the screening process as a candidate, you are obviously well qualified for the position you pursued. It also means you’re doing a lot of things right in your job search to get this far. Keep doing the right things.

A rejection doesn’t mean you were a poor candidate, it means they felt more aligned with someone else. You never know how difficult the decision may have been between you and someone else. They had to make a decision and it could have come to something like a coin toss simply so they could move forward. They had to pick someone.

It means they thought well of you and despite any negative thoughts you might have about them, they’re feeling just fine about you.

The door on future opportunities is not closed. In fact, now that they know you so well, you could be considered for other openings. It’s more productive to utilize the applicant flow you have rather than dumping all the resumes and interview information than to start over again the next time.

The fact that the company went so far as to send you a rejection letter is a sign of a well run company.

So, often these days, the job search is a black hole of communications. If they thought enough of their candidates to do this level of follow up, you want to keep them on your radar.

What Should Your Behavior Be?

If you loved the position, hiring manager, and company then keep working at getting hired for a position. Just because they rejected you for this position doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be perfect for the next one. It’s not a door closer. You now have a list of “insider” contacts that you can use to your advantage.

After you let the dust settle for a while, circle back around with your contacts and let them know you want to be considered for other positions now or in the future. Showing some spunk and confidence is alluring and memorable. Keep your perspective about what this means.

A rejection letter shouldn’t cause you to change what you are doing unless this letter makes it a cool dozen you’ve received. If you have repeatedly got to the final round of interviews and not chosen, then rethink how you might be presenting yourself.

Sure, you’re going to feel rejected for a while after you get a rejection letter. Go indulge and yourself today then get over it and keep doing all the right things that got you this far.”

Job searchers would be wise to heed these words of wisdom from Dorothy Tannahill-Moran. Always get contact information from the individuals responsible for the hiring process so you are able to keep in touch with them.  And once again, although I may be sounding like a broken record, please try to remember….There is only one you, and you have great value!  Rejection is not always about you!  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.

 

To Show, Or No Show?

First thing Monday morning I called the Bemidji RV service store hoping to secure an appointment for my malfunctioning fridge.  The man on the phone said they were backed up two weeks.

“But…but….all my food will go bad!”

“Can you get here right away? Maybe we can sneak you in.”

“Oh, thank you!  I am about 40 miles away.  I’ll leave right now!”

After spending over two stressful hours trying to maneuver the Toy Hauler around the shed and through the narrow curved “driveway” out onto the narrow tar road, I finally made it to the RV dealer. It was almost noon and the place was packed.  Surely they thought I stood them up.  They had no idea what a nightmare this newbie went through to get there.  But they didn’t question, or turn me away.  They smiled, welcomed me, and serviced my rig.  It got me to thinking about a LinkedIn comment someone posted, clearly in response to an incident he’d experienced.

“Have you ever been stood up for a meeting that was secured in advance and confirmed shortly before?  What about after traveling a great distance to get there?  How did you handle it?”

Unfortunately, yes I have driven the distance for a no-show, (have been cancelled on, underpaid, not paid, not called back and have been generally disrespected) a time or two over the years.  Ah, the feeling of deflation to arrive to the front desk, state your name, company and who you are there to see, only to be told, “I’m sorry, but John’s not in today, he took the day off.”

He decided this overnight?  After we confirmed via email yesterday?  And he couldn’t let me know?  When I drove 3 hours to get here?

How positively infuriating!  How rude!  How dare he? Gawd, what’s wrong with me that he’d do that?

As important as we think we are, not everything is about us.  Not everything that happens is because of us.  Most things that happen to us have nothing directly to do with us, and would happen with or without us.  We just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.  There are many others in the same boat with you.  If you were to stop and ask 10 strangers on the street the same question, seven of them or more would have similar stories.

Don’t take it personal when the bad thing happens to you.

The malevolent people in the world would pick on you, your neighbor, the other guy or whoever was closest at the time exactly the same way.  And the truth is, the poor sorry sack of stuff who simply didn’t show, will never experience the kind of joy in life that people experience when they live a respectful, authentic life.  How could they?

So, first and foremost, consider the source, knowing what goes around comes around.

But of course, not everyone blows off meetings for the sheer fun of it.   How do you tell the difference? We can control our own behavior.  We cannot control others.  The good news is, though, we can control how we respond to theirs. It is so important to take a breath, and reserve judgment until you have enough information.

You don’t know the other guys story.  Maybe he was raised without being taught about respecting others, and he stands up everyone without giving it a second thought.  Or maybe he stood you up because his house just burned down and he lost the dog and the wife skipped town with the kids while he was being diagnosed with a horrible kidney disease.  Either way, it has nothing to do with you.  You are simply the nameless, faceless, receiver.  His main concern is not you, how far you drove, how long you planned, what you gave up to give time to him, or any of it. You are, actually, somewhat irrelevant to his situation.

Still, you want to feel whole.  You want to feel like you matter.  “Awkward” doesn’t even begin to describe how difficult it can be to request an explanation from a stranger who dissed you. But with a little effort, you can determine if your No Show was an insensitive act, or an unavoidable incident.

The Genuine Situation—you immediately know circumstances were beyond their control when they proactively reach out to you, and openly, fully express remorse about missing the appointment, asking for forgiveness and a reschedule.  Usually.  Almost always.  Unless the person is a true “player”.  But we don’t want to go there, right?  People are basically good….keep repeating it….people are basically good…

They wanted to meet with you.  They perceive you as having something of value.  Perhaps they confused their schedule and didn’t realize “today was our meeting!” until your call or email after the fact.  Either way, you will be provided an honest, valid reasoning why they didn’t show up.

The Unintentional Game Player—this person may have tried to reach you, long after you headed out to see them, but it’s a 50/50 at best.  The issue is they don’t perceive you as part of their day-to-day, even if they do think you have something of value, so you are not necessarily on their radar to communicate with when plans change.  Or maybe they scheduled the meeting because they are “expected” to, and then use other circumstances as an excuse to not show. “Oh, was that today?  Oh well, something came up.” They are pulled in many directions. Consequently, they are not open to sharing details, or circumstances behind why they didn’t show.  It’s not a big deal to them. They don’t consciously recognize the effort involved for you to get to them. They will likely not offer an explanation, but make assumptions like “well, Jane can stop in any time when she is coming through town.”

As though you are routinely coming through John’s town.  Ha!

The Intentional Player—sometimes known as the “bigger than life” personality.  The world revolves around them. They answer to no one.  You are just another vendor, basically an annoyance, and underserving of their time, courtesy or respect.  A rare few may actually schedule appointments simply to look like they have them.  If something else comes up, they’ll disregard your appointment without a second thought—it was probably never on their books.  Maybe they enjoy toying with vendors to see how bad they want the business. If you should happen to arrive late, they will “not be available”, regardless of how hard it was to get there, and not make use of the limited time you do have remaining. They never had any intention of keeping your meeting.  They will not offer an explanation for their No Show—and if they do give one, it will likely not be particularly truthful.

 

With the amazing technology we have today, there really is no excuse for a No Show from either party.  Granted there are always exceptions.  But if you do experience a No Show, here are some things you can do to feel whole and move on.  First off,

Let it go, and know it’s not about you.

Trust your gut.  From what you feel, do you think the person is a player or not?

Decide how bad you want that business.

You will have to reach out to them.  When you do so, leave a message but also get it in writing:

  • Make it clear you were there for the agreed upon meeting:

Dear John,

When I arrived to your offices on Monday July 7th at 8:00 am I was disappointed to learn you were not available for our meeting.  The receptionist at the front desk could not offer any explanation.

Besides being “documentation”, this calls out who you are, and that you were indeed there, in case John really is being inundated with meetings and lost sight of yours in the process.  If something has happened to John, whoever is checking his messages will see your email.

  • Express genuine concern at their absence

Because this has never happened before, frankly I am concerned for you.  Is everything okay?  What happened?  I hope nothing serious.

Although it’s awkward to reach out to strangers, you don’t actually know at this point if you’ve been played or not. Being genuinely concerned is never something to be embarrassed or ashamed about—we are all human, and this gesture could soften even a player’s heart…..or at least get you a response from his gatekeeper.

  • Mention any names that will trigger them to recall the meetings importance

As a courtesy, I have let Bill and Lisa know that we have not been able to meet, so they can adjust their schedules accordingly, as well as work with your back office team on how to move forward until we can meet.

If other people are involved as part of the reason for your meeting, this will bring top of mind awareness that you’re not the only one they left hanging, and perhaps your meeting should be moved higher up on the importance scale.

  • Provide an alternative plan

Currently, the next time I will be in your area is the week of   xxxxxxxx.  I would be happy to reschedule an appointment with you during that time. 

For now, don’t put all your eggs in this basket. If possible, only offer to reschedule several weeks out, and at YOUR convenience, and only if you have additional business to conduct or reasons to be in the area. This will show you aren’t instantly available and waiting to be duped again, as well as prevent spending another wasted day on the road. Once you are able to determine if there is real interest to keep the meeting, you can decide if it warrants a more immediate response.

  • Leave the ball in their court

Assuming you are still interested in pursuing the best solution for “widget companies”, I look forward to hearing back from you shortly with suggestions for rescheduling our meeting.

Again, I do hope all is well with you and yours.

This gently questions their initial intent, and closes with a lingering sentiment of care for their wellbeing. If the relationship was meant to be, you should be getting a call or email back.  If you hear nothing back, you may want to re-evaluate how bad you want to do business with this person, or company for that matter.

Thank goodness No Shows are the exception, and not the rule.

On my wall hangs a simple mantra:  “Life is Good.  Business is Great.  People are Terrific.  And Don’t You Forget It!”

Need help with your teams’ ability to set, keep and close appointments?  Contact PR Brady AdVentures for a custom program designed to meet your company’s needs.

The Art of Listening, Part 3–5 Steps to Becoming a Better, Active Listener

“Just because it popped into your head, doesn’t mean you should blurt it out.” 

How many times has someone cut you off in mid-sentence with some uttering, either relevant, or completely irrelevant to what you are trying to communicate?  How many times have you done it to someone else?

Sadly, most of us are acutely unaware that we even do it; and shockingly, some people actually believe it’s perfectly acceptable behavior. Some individuals live with the additional hardship of having medical issues that may intensify bad listening behavior, but the bottom line is,

Poor listening is unacceptable behavior.

How would you feel if in the middle of sharing your emotional, painful experience with someone the listener blurted out “oh, now there’s an outfit I could wear—how cute!”? Pretty rude, and insensitive, right?

What if, as you are looking for serious, specific feedback to a problem, the listener is constantly checking their IPhone messages, and clicking away?  Pretty rude and insensitive, right?

Or what if, as you tried to share your cliff hanging story, the listener kept interrupting you with statements about what you should do, or what they would do….all of it being inconsequential since the event already occurred?  Pretty rude, and insensitive, right?

In our ever-revolving “self” filled worlds, we often bull doze over others in their quest to simply share information, or tell their story.

For the person trying to speak, often, it pays to be proactive and pre-empt your “floor time” with a blanket statement to your listeners.  If you are not looking for an exchange of information throughout your communication, tell them straight out before you begin that you would like to share something in its entirety, asking everyone to hold all comments and questions until you have completed what you have to say.  Another, more abrupt response would be to simply stop talking.  Once your listeners realize you’ve stopped talking, politely suggest you continue with your information another time, when they are better able to listen.

In business situations, strong listening skills are especially critical.  It can be a costly mistake to interrupt a prospect who you are trying to garner business from.  If you ask your prospect a specific question, then interrupt them with everything you think you know about it and how you can solve their problem—you’ve just committed a heinous business crime. You’ve sent the message loud and clear that what they have to say is not as important as what you do.  Chances are, that person is not going to volley with you for the floor, or politely correct you.  Perhaps they become very quiet and reserved.  Or they look away, or smile and nod, and look at their watch.  You blew it.  You have come across as a “know it all”, made a terrible first impression, likely lost their attention, respect, and possibly the sale.

What can you do to make sure you are not perceived as a poor listener?  Put that ego aside. Begin practicing today, to improve your listening skills! The first thing to do is physically prepare to listen.  Take several deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth.  Are you calm?  Great.  Now check yourself at the door, and read on.

5 Steps To Active Listening

  1. Focus on the other person. Turn off the phone. Turn away from the TV, or any other distractions around you. If possible, face them in the same sitting or standing position they are in. Look them in the eyes as they speak to you, noting their expressions. Give an occasional nod to show them you are listening.
  2. Do Not Interrupt. Pay attention to the person talking and do not start “talking in your head” with possible arguments, suggestions, or comments and blurt them out. Do not allow yourself to wander off in the privacy of your mind with a conclusion while they are speaking to you. Do not decide you know how to solve it, what to do with it, or what they are about to say next. Commit to yielding the floor to them until they say they are done.
  3. Become completely “other-aware” and listen carefully to their words. You checked yourself at the door. Now it’s all about the speaker. Notice the inflection used as they speak. Are they being facetious? Are they being serious? When appropriate, ask open ended questions to clarify anything they said that you don’t understand, or want more detail about. Be aware of and listen for what they don’t say, as well as their actually stated message.
  4. Restate back to the person your understanding of what they said. “Is this what you mean?” “Did you say…?”
  5. Ask any lingering open ended questions for clarification, then present your response as appropriate. Continue to look for feedback from the other party, engaging them with eye contact, and gestures as appropriate.

Want to make a great impression? A very positive thing you can do as a result of active listening is come up with a discussion item list. Often a conversation will lead to a number of off shoot-topics that make for good additional conversations. Rather than try to dump them all into the main conversation, hold them aside on a list, and when appropriate, propose discussing one, or more of them at another time, if right then is not the right time. This is a sure fire way to demonstrate to the speaker what a good listener you are!

“Earlier you’d mentioned _ _ _ _ _, can you tell me more about it?”

As your active listening skills improve, you may come to find that in return, you receive a stronger listening audience as well. Having actually heard the whole message, you will have a deeper understanding of, and a better ability to, respond to situations and opportunities. People appreciate being heard. They appreciate clear feedback and action.

It is never too late to become the best listener you can be. Embrace the Art of Listening!

Contact PR Brady AdVentures for course offerings on Developing Active Listening Skills for you or your team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Listening, Part 2 Human Nature—Pick me! Pick me!

While human beings are social animals, we are also ego driven.  We want to be thought of as smart.  As right. As having the answers. We want to be the one to be picked. The one to be looked up to.  But without proper training, when provided limited or general information, our natural instinct is to reach conclusions based on our own existing knowledge or biases, to ‘show what we know’.  It is much easier than doing the work required to actually get the whole story which may, or may not, lead to an opportunity to ‘show what you know’. The required work is a learned skill.  The skill of listening.

We would all like to think we have amazing empathy and self-control when engaged in interpersonal communications. The reality is, most of us are so wrapped up into our own heads, wants, needs and perceptions, we don’t hear a thing.  The reality is, we often respond to others impulsively and based on what we think, not on the content of the information being given to us.

We place a far higher value on what we have to say than what we have to hear.

“Look at how much I know!”

Poor listeners miss great opportunities.

The most effective communicators spend 80% or more of their efforts asking probing questions and listening to the answers, before they ever venture an opinion or recommendation.  They have discovered a most important piece to effective listening: You can’t give out an accurate response to someone until you allow the other persons information to get in.

A real life example of ineffective listeners:

Jan is sitting at a local coffee shop catching up on computer work.  Bert, John, Kate and Terry enter the building together and join Jan.  After shared greetings, a conversation begins.

Jan: “Today I decided that I can’t be going on any more extensive, multi-day hikes that require packing in all the gear, tent, water and food,”

Bert, interrupting:  “There are plenty of day hike areas I can share with you.”

John, interrupting:  “It’s all about the type of equipment you use, you should be using a pack designed for your frame.   What kind of pack do you have?”

Jan: “Actually, my pack is fine, John, I just can’t carry it once I get it fully packed.”

Bert, interrupting: “I know a couple places just a few miles past city limits with nice groomed trails so you wouldn’t have to carry gear very far.”

John interrupting: “well what are you packing that’s so heavy? You need to make sure your gear is ultra-light and made specifically for backpacking. My tent is only 1.5 lbs.  What kind of tent are you carrying?”

Jan, becoming slightly frustrated: “John it’s not the tent, it’s more of…”

Bert, interrupting: “hey, did you see that special on hiking the lower trails last week?  They had all sorts of super ultra-light accessories.”

Kate, answering/interrupting: “Oh, yeah, I saw that too.”

Terry, interrupting: “Is that a caramel latte?”

Jan: “I have ultra light gear, that’s not the point.  I can’t even manage barely 15 pounds from the car to the house now.”

John: “If you can’t carry 30 lbs you need to get an MRI done. There is something wrong.”

Terry, interrupting:  “I’ve been going to Pilates lately, it’s been pretty good!”

John, interrupting, back to Jan:  “Well are you working out?  You need to keep up core work to carry that frame pack any distance, you know.  Are you working out?”

Jan, irritated by Johns suggestion she is weak: “John, of course I work…”

Terry, interrupting:  “hey, we should all go on a day hike with Jan on Saturday so she sees how fun that area is.”

Jan exasperated with the group of people “Terry, I really don’t want to go on a day hike Saturday either, since….”

John, interrupting: “Well it’s important for women to focus on upper body, especially.”

Jan, now over the top of aggravated, stands up:  “Guys!  Guys!  I can’t walk! I have a sprained foot.  I’m in a BOOT!”

The group freezes, mouths open, starring down at Jan’s foot.

Jan was frustrated by the group’s constant interruptions as she tried to share what had happened to her.  She wasn’t asking for a solution, or an evaluation.  She found their behavior rude and disrespectful, and rightly so.  But the various assumptions made, especially the ones made by John made matters much worse. She found his participation insulting condescending, and insensitive. Jan was an avid, highly experienced hiker and he treated her as though she was a clueless beginner, in front of other people. John, on the other hand, wanted to be viewed as knowledgeable, helpful, and right.

There are several problems that can arise when scenarios like this one occur:

  1. The speaker does not speak up about showing some respect as they are trying to speak; the poor listener has no idea their behavior is unacceptable, thereby reinforcing the bad behavior over and over.
  2. The poor listener offends the speaker to a point where the speaker simply becomes silent, and no longer tries to communicate around them.
  3. Both parties can possibly loose an opportunity.

How many effective communicators have you met? How many ineffective ones? Which are you?

The Art of Listening, Part 3 will talk more about becoming a better listener.

“To say the right thing at the right time, keep still most of the time.”

John W. Roper

Contact PR Brady AdVentures for details on developing better listening skills for you or your team.

All You Can Be

Do you wake up each day feeling inspired to live the day to its fullest?

Do you love what you do for work?

Are you at peace with your world?

Are you being all you can be? All you want to be?

 

If not, why not?

 

Routine can be paralyzing.

Self- doubt can be paralyzing.

Faulty belief systems can be paralyzing.

Environment can be paralyzing.

Structure and procedure can be paralyzing.

Even the people we surround ourselves with can be….paralyzing.

You’re not alone.  Scores of people go through life without even realizing they are paralyzed.

“There’s nothing wrong with my life.  Everything is good.”

Is it really? Or are you going through the motions?

 

We choose.

We choose to be.

We choose how we will be.  All day, every day.

We choose.

 

Think about your world right now.  How do you arrive at the decisions and choices you make?  Out of joy, inspiration and contentment?

Any regrets?

“If only I….”

“I wish I….”

“I should have….”

Imagine your world in five, ten, or twenty years from now.  Can you picture the path you are going to follow, to live your life with purpose and passion?

Maybe it feels a little uncomfortable.  Perhaps you just don’t know how to pull away from your current routine.  Yes, it is interesting to ponder.

Change is never easy.

Facing fears, foes, or faulty perceptions is never easy.

But if you find the courage to face the things holding you back, and change, youAllUCanB will harness a whole new lease on life.  Imagine waking each morning with joy in your heart, excited to start the day, eager to experience and share your passion for life with the world.

It’s up to you to choose.

You Can.

Be all you can be.

 

PR Brady AdVentures is always ready to help you get there.  Contact us today to start your new life!

Millennial Guide

The store was buzzing with middle aged computer geek shoppers, high on the latest technologies; chatting in the aisles about bits, and bytes, and ram.  I casually strolled up and down several aisles, listening, hoping to learn something useful. In my estimation these people are simply genius.

But I was there for a specific purpose—to buy my first GPS.  Didn’t have much money, didn’t have any experience, and I was painfully ignorant about them.  I had looked at several websites and saw various models and price points. It was all Greek to me.  I needed some consultation time with a human GPS guide to make my purchase decision.Millennia

There, ahead, was the GPS counter.  Void of life forms, and locked up tight.  I gazed longingly into the display case.  Look at them all.  So many to choose from.  What would be the right one for me?  I glanced to the left, the right, behind me and down the aisle isle ahead.  Nada, not one sales associate.  I took a walk around the nearby aisles.  There were two uniformed male employees having discussions with customers, and one young woman arranging boxes on a shelf.  I headed toward the woman.

She happened to turn her head just enough to catch me approaching, and immediately walked the other direction, off around a corner, and out of sight.  I spent the next 20 minutes trying to capture a sales associate.  They were experts at not making eye contact.  I went back to the display case, hovering there looking into it. Surely someone would notice I’d been hanging here for half an hour and reach the conclusion that I was there for a reason?  Heck no.  Finally a young male associate rushed by with a box in tow, and I loudly called out

“EXCUSE ME SIR?”

He could not pretend he didn’t hear.  He stopped with an impatient look on his young face.

“Excuse me, could I please get some help with GPS’s?”

I guess I said something wrong.

“Well what kind of help do you need?”  He asked with a look of sheer frustration.

“Um…I was thinking of buying one, maybe?”  I replied.

“Someone will be over there in a few minutes.  He sharply responded and sped off.

Okay then.  I stood there at the display case, marking my turf.  I was not about to leave and relinquish my opportunity to get help.  I spied the young woman from earlier, moving back and forth between several isles, never making eye contact with me or anyone.  Then she disappeared.  I had now been there over half an hour.  I just want a GPS.  I decided it was time to go to the service desk, get into that 15 person long line, and ask to speak to the manager.  Or I could just leave.  I turned around to leave.

There was Jean, the young woman sales associate, staring me down with an expressionless face.  Or was that how she looks when she is in a very very bad mood?

“You had some questions?” she said in a flat, tone.

“Um, yes, yes I do.”  I replied, somewhat flustered at her magical appearance. “with GPS’s.”

There was a long pause.  “With what?”  she said, and crossed her arms across her chest.

“Well, for starters, could I see some of them?”

She pointed to the display case.  “Everything we have is all right there.”

“I see that.  I mean, out of the display case?”

Guess I said something wrong again.  Clearly I was really agitating this young person.  She walked around the electronics counter, over to the display case.  We were now facing each other with the case of goodies between us.

“Which one?” she said with an impatient exhale, as she bent down to unlock the case.

Her behavior was becoming quite distracting.  This girl was young enough to be my daughter.  What is her problem?  I began fantasizing about spanking her and sending her to her room for this horrible behavior.  But I bit my tongue.  We’ll get through this.

“Well, how about that one?” and I pointed to one of the Garmins.  She reached into the case, pulled it out and handed it to me, then glanced around the room impatiently, tapping her heel on the floor.

I had my first GPS in hand.  This little device is going to guide me around the country on adventures!  How does it work?  Where does it turn on?  It’s so sleek.  What do I do?

“Can you show me how it works?”

She stared down her nose at me and bit her lip.  There was a long moment of awkward silence.  She pressed the top corner of the device and it turned on.  She handed it back to me.

“Garmin has a website.” She said.

Now, I don’t think I am better than anyone else, but I do think I deserve to be treated with respect by others.  I am here to spend money.  Oh my gosh, she is an example of the future of our country.

“Look, are you ok?  I’m so sorry to be such a bother to you.  Do you need to go get another associate to help me?”  I asked her in the calmest, most caring voice I could muster up.

“What?”  She balked.  “I’m fine.  What else do you need?”

“No, really, could you please go get one of your associates to help me?”  I carefully pressed.

Her neck and cheeks became flushed red.  She turned and darted out from behind the counter and vanished.  In seconds, one of the other young associates I’d seen earlier appeared.

“Which one did you want?”  he asked without looking at me.

“Well, I don’t know.  That’s why I’m here.  Can you please show me some of the differences so I can make a good choice?”

“Well, Jean is the GPS expert.”

I was stupefied.  Perhaps now is the time to say thank you and good bye.

“Well, Jean is not here now, Kurt, so I’m hoping you can help me.”  I said, looking at his name tag, and trying to make eye contact.  It wasn’t happening.

Needless to say, the GPS education process was a long and painful one for both of us, as Kurt was every bit as uninterested in helping me as Jean was.  End of the story?  I did purchase a GPS from Kurt, only because I needed it quickly and didn’t have time to shop around.  I thanked him emphatically for his valuable help and did my best to demonstrate huge appreciation for his time.  For one split second I thought I saw a glimmer of hope in his eyes.  That was 3 years ago.  I have not been back to that store since then.  But I have spent several thousand dollars in electronics with their competitors, since then.

This story is not a unique one.  I have many more, as I’m sure you do.  The key question is, why?  Why does this seem to be the growing normal?

Welcome to the age of the Millennial.  According to the National Post, within the next decade, 75% of the workforce will be made up of the Millennial Generation.  This statistic should scare us.  Why?

Because according to a recent Gallup poll,

70% of American workers are not happy with their work place. 

Of that number, 18% are actively disengaged, meaning there is some bad ass attitude going on with them.  Unless steps are taken to correct this direction, this trend is only going to get worse.  Sadly, my own state, Minnesota, leads the pack of disengaged workers at a whopping 26%.

This very topic came up at a recent business conference I attended.  Concerns were widespread amongst the CEOs, company presidents, and corporate managers in the room.  All of them asking ‘what to do’ to turn things around in their organizations.

The first step is to take a look at how the Millennial Generation might think.  They have risen up into adulthood as a generation of entitlement.  Many are told to go to college, then are straddled with enormous debt they carry for years after.  Few are able to secure employment with a salary even remotely able to put a dent in their debt.  They perceive an endless list of mistakes their elders have made.  They don’t want to follow in those footsteps.  No, they are not happy with their jobs or their opportunities moving forward.   They don’t trust the current decision makers of our country.  Many don’t believe there is much future.  Their altruistic attitude leads them to develop a staunch belief in social causes– they are not supportive of big business, big banks, profitability, or making purchases through companies that don’t also “give back” to make the world a better place .

It would appear the Millennial Generation is feeling pretty dissed.  Beyond the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) they are looking for compassion, empathy, and social responsibility.  And what is wrong with wanting that?  Nothing, outside of it being in direct conflict with how most business is run today.

So, the answer becomes simple; change.

Change the culture and work ethic to align with the Millennial Generation’s needs.   Now that’s a tall order for American business.  The conference talked at length about business culture and results.  How a company’s culture has a direct impact on the financial bottom line.  An 11 year study done by Harvard Business School revealed:

Businesses with “Positive” Cultures Averaged Growth of 682%
Businesses with “Weak” Cultures Averaged Growth of 166%

Which would you rather have?

Perhaps this new generation and work force needs Millennial Guides.  Like a GPS, a programmed series of steps.  A format, leading the way through a culture more conducive to their long term well-being.  We can all be guides.  We all should be guides.  Businesses willing to invest in adjusting and nurturing their corporate culture will be rewarded with increased productivity,  decreased absenteeism,  increased customer service, higher retention of desirable employees and more profitability.

Contact PR Brady AdVentures to schedule a Culture Assessment for your business.  Become the next Millennial Guide.

 

 

What Does A “Seasoned Executive” Have To Do These Days To Get A Job? Tip 6 of 6 Simple Steps

  1. Choose to feel hopeful

Somehow, it sure seems easier to look at the negative, than the bright side of things.  Especially if you’re already down for the count.

“Once again I didn’t get the job.  Couldn’t pay the Visa this month.  Had to say “no” to summer sports for Johnny…..and now ‘this’ has to happen!  It’s never going to end.  I can’t get it right. I’m not good enough, smart enough, skilled enough…..”

Yes you are.

There are countless euphemisms to choose from. Catchy phrases to keep you on track and positive. Bottom line quite simply is,

“Life Is What You Make It”.

It’s not anyone’s doing but your own for how you feel.  It’s easy to feel like you’ve been targeted.  Someone or something is “out to get you” or keeping you from succeeding.  But the truth is, 99.9% of what goes on each day is going on despite you, and has nothing at all to do with you.  If you choose to believe it’s all about you and allow it to bring you down, you sabotage precious time that could be spent focusing on results. You may not be able to change what is happening in your world right now, but you are always able to change how you respond to it.

Choose to respond with hope.

Choose to be hopeful.

Choose to dig deep to find the bright side, no matter what.  If you fall down, get back up, and try again.

One thing I do during those occasional times when I fall short of keeping my head up is, I put up little reminder post-it’s around the house that say things like “choose”, “you can” and “anything is possible”.  In addition, I’m an avid believer in having and following a solid life plan, and following this series of tips.

It all helps keep the sanity factor up and operating.

Look outside your own situation.  Know that there are many people far worse off than you.  It’s the human spirit and will to survive in us that keeps us going. Find it in you, and run with it. Seeing hopeful determination in another person is inspiring.  It is an asset to have in the interview process, too.

“There are new job opportunities every week to try for, and I will.  So I didn’t pay the Visa, but I did pay another bill.  At least right now I have more time to spend with Johnny…..and so what if  ‘this’ had to happen?  It presents a new direction.  We have the basics, and I have a solid plan for tomorrow!  This bad situation is temporary.  I am getting it right, I am good enough, smart enough, skilled enough….and there is an employer out there who is looking for me.  I will pull through this.  I bring value.  The right opportunity will come.  I will conquer this and anything else thrown at me to land my next job.”

Choose to feel hopeful.

Remember you are the only one of you, so, bring it both barrels and rock it out of the park!

Contact PR Brady AdVentures for a consultation and information on experiences designed to boost your inspiration.

 

What Does A “Seasoned Executive” Have To Do These Days To Get A Job? Tip 5 of 6

5) Embrace The Unlikely
How many times have you been passed over because you are over qualified?  Often employers do not want to hire older, experienced executives to come in to their organizations into the lower level positions.  But you need a job today.  Any job.  It’s bad enough if you are being pigeon-holed by the hiring powers that be, but what if you are pigeon-holing yourself?!  Just because you’ve always been in a certain industry doesn’t mean that’s where you have to stay.  Or job category, for that matter.  Strongly consider thinking outside of the box and broadening your job search horizon options.

Go independent.  Become a trusted advisor to the employers and vendors from your past.  Independent sub-contracting is a viable option for many seasoned executives—pick and choose your projects, and get a first-hand view of a company’s business model in the process.

Conduct job searches in industries that are not your primary target.  Just because you’ve always worked in Corporate Finance, doesn’t mean you need to stay there. Open your options to include mid-range and smaller business arenas, as well as other functions within them.  You will find that many skills can be cross applicable and sought after in more than one job category.

How do you feel about the country life?  If relocation is an option, consider looking for a similar position in a rural area.  More people are usually trying to get out of “the sticks” where the pay is generally lower and the opportunities are few, than get into them.  Leaving city life for the  country air could be the best move you’ve made in a long time.

Seasonal opportunities come up that employers view in a completely different light than typical full time permanent employment. That seasonal job could just turn into a full time position.

Consider tapping into a temp agency job pool to get some short term assignments and new kinds of work experience. Those temp positions could be used to soften your corporate expertise history and resume, showing you are willing to work in other capacities.

Go back to school. If you can swing it, why not?  Education is a life-long process.  Who knows, maybe now is the time to reinvent yourself into an entirely new career track.
The key is to become open to new ideas, new directions, and all possibilities.  Get creative, and embrace the unlikely. You may discover a new passion in a new field, more rewarding that you’d of ever imagined.

“I have always wanted to go this direction, and now is the perfect time to pursue it—I am so excited about this opportunity.”

Sounds genuine, and chances are it will to the hiring team as well!

Need some help getting started?  PR Brady AdVentures is available and happy to assist you!

What Does A “Seasoned Executive” Have To Do These Days To Get A Job? Tip 4 of 6

4.  Do Something Good

Sometimes, even the kindest of souls can get so caught up in the “me, myself and I” pity mode that the thought doesn’t even occur to them that someone else may be in the same boat, or worse.   Some of us pull the reigns in on our world so tight that we develop a closed “it’s not my problem” attitude.  Or perhaps we’ve spent years feeling somehow cheated and resentful, and are conditioned to be bitterly unwilling to extend a kind gesture towards others.

But we, as humans, are provided an impressive set of life tools to work with in order to be the best that we can be. They are all built into our bodies, our subconscious.  All we have to do is choose to use the tools. It can be easy to lose sight of the tool box when under the stress of trying to find a job.  All you can think about is how you are not providing for yourself and your family, and your perspective can go downhill in a handbag.

I’m not suggesting that it is “your” personal responsibility to drop coins in every single homeless cup, drive a route to pick up at least 15 stray animals a day or sign up for every cause out there with a $100 donation.  Goodness no, not any one of us should be the lone crusader and take on the worlds burdens.

What I am suggesting is that you choose to pick something good to do every day.

“Why should I? What’s in it for me?”  First off, because otherwise, what a dreadful way to approach life and expect to be happy.  Second, energy, whether it is positive or negative, is a very powerful phenomenon.  You will be surprised at how living a gracious, giving life will benefit you, especially if you are struggling yourself.

A great way to focus on the bright side of things is to simply do something good every day.  Find the inner strength to rise above how you are feeling and choose to commit some random acts of kindness.

It could be as simple as opening the door for someone.  Making eye contact and saying “good morning” to others you pass on the sidewalk.  Perhaps it’s letting someone in your traffic lane during rush hour, ahead of you in line at check-out, or  simply saying “that color looks great on you!” to the shy woman at the mall.

One day I was at Home Depot struggling to get several 2” x 4”s and pieces of plywood into the back of my truck.  At least four men passed me as I stood trying to load my purchases.  Then out of no-where came a woman, about 50 something, who just stepped up and helped me lift everything into my vehicle effortlessly.  She made my day. Her actions reminded me that even during those moments when we may feel so utterly all alone, we aren’t.

Perhaps you could choose to help in a volunteer capacity at a food shelf or other non-profit organization.  Spending time in an environment that assists the less fortunate, in whatever capacity you choose, can be a humbling eye opener, and a gratifying experience for both parties. Find a cause that resonates with you, and get involved.  And just consider this—what if the others who volunteer are people that can help leap-frog you into a connection for a job opportunity?  With networking, you just never know.

It is well known that what goes around, comes around.  Karma, baby, will get you every time.  Doing something good each day will lift your burden, change your outlook, empower you to know you’ve made a difference, and it will generate good Karma moving forward.

Oh, and by the way…..

It sure doesn’t hurt to have those volunteer experiences to talk about in your interviews….