Promote Yourself: Be Your Own Agent

This article just came into my inbox and I thought it was a good one for us to read, whether looking for a job, or working on getting a promotion or consideration for a project that’s coming up.  Enjoy!

Promote Yourself: Be Your Own Agent.

Posted in careers, glass ceiling, jobs, motivating yourself | Leave a comment

What are you good at?

Sometimes timing is everything!  Tomorrow night, I’m doing a talk at my job search group on “Finding your Strengths” and today, into my email pops this article by Stuart Young!  

I’ve been meaning to write a new blog ( it’s been too long since I have ) and I keep getting distracted, to thanks to you Stuart, for giving me this article to post.  I’m using it as an ice breaker/introduction for my meeting tomorrow.  I hope to be able to inspire the job seekers to recognize their strengths and feed their confidence while offering a few ideas on how to market themselves. If you like this story, check out the website:

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Using Advanced DISC to Win Customers!

I just read this article that a friend forwarded to me and wanted to share it with you!  I think the author,  Amy Buckner Chowdhry, does a great job of showing the practical application of assessments.  

 I have found that when you equip people with a system or knowledge to help them relate better to other people, it crosses all areas of their life.  What a great way to make a difference in other people’s world, simply by understanding each other better and using that to bridge gaps in communication.

I’m using the Advanced DISC in my work with entrepreneurs to help them grow as leaders, help them work on developing their teams and figure out the often intangible and confusing world of relationships between people:

  1. partners
  2. co-workers
  3. managers
  4. employees
  5. clients
  6. friends
  7. family

There are many good assessments out there and no matter what you use, why don’t you give a few a try to see what a difference they can make!

  • Speeding up the rate of understanding your new employees…
  • Developing a common language to build relationships…
  • Getting a new key to breaking through to prospects…
Posted in employee engagement, human resources, leadership, retaining employees | Leave a comment

What are your employees thinking?

What are your employees thinking?

We’ve all been reading and hearing about the jobless recovery, so much so that some are now calling it a recovery-less recovery.  With the August jobs report coming out showing us that there were no new jobs created nationally, the news just gets more dismal. But you may be thinking, “My business is doing great.  My employees love their work and are grateful to have jobs.  It’s true that they haven’t had raises in a couple of years and that the workload increases each time we are forced to lay someone off, but they understand.”  Really?  Exactly what do you think your employees understand?  

“In 2011, 84 percent of employees say they plan to search for a new jobin the new year, according to a Dec. 2010 nationwide survey by Manpower. The reasons given range from heavier workloads and skimpy raises to job burnout and fewer opportunities for advancement.” according to  We can quibble about the 84%, but even if it’s just 25% or 50%, are you prepared to lose the very employees you kept during the recession?  Suffice it to say, your employees may be biding their time, waiting for opportunities to arise and abandoning your firm without a backward glance when the right job comes along.

Did you hang onto your key employees only to have them resign?

Are you aware of this or are you naively thinking your workforce is stable?

Here are some resources for you – some things you can do to prevent people from resigning when the recovery happens or worse, just staying out of a need for safety.  Just remember that you can’t copy another company’s culture and expect it to work in yours – take the ideas and then tweak them to fit your brand and your philosophy.  Only things that you as the leader truly believe in will be authentic and stick!

What Under Armour, Zappos and Dell among other do:

And from the Wall Street Journal:

What employees want – from the research and experience I’ve had over the years,   your employees want:

  1. Meaningful work
  2. Appreciation
  3. Integrity at all levels
  4. Someone who cares about them personally
  5. Development
Think about it – prepare your culture for change whether it’s a boom economy or a bust.  Business will continue, and hopefully yours will thrive helped along the way by loyal, engaged employees who aren’t secretly looking for the next opportunity outside of your company!  If you need help implementing some of these ideas, remember to contact HR Initiatives, Inc.  We can help you by conducting “stay interviews” and  “exit interviews” and then brainstorming for ways to improve your retention by analysis of the data and knowledge of what works!
Posted in employee engagement, human resources, jobs, loyalty, motivating employees, retaining employees, stability, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

To hire a coach or not to hire a coach?

It seems like everywhere I turn, I meet people who are coaches. They seem to cover all aspects of life; the next thing you know, someone will be a Pet Coach!

Does this dog need a coach?

At the same time, I hear people reference, “my coach said…” and “when I met with my coach last week…”  At the same time, I see people roll their eyes and moan, “not another coach,” when they meet them at networking meetings.  So I wondered… “Hmmm.  Could there be something to all this coaching?”  Throughout my career and in my personal life, I’ve mentored and coached many people from students to business owners and so many people in between.   I wondered if coaching could be for me.  So first, a review of coaching in business.

In my days as a corporate HR Director, I frequently found that managers know how to manage the technical function of the company, but many are CLUELESS about how to coach and develop their staff.  Mentoring is an unknown for many managers and
executives.  That’s where a coach comes in.  The relationship is unique because there is no “authority” or power over the continued employment of the person being
coached.  That means that the fears, weaknesses and honest issues concerning the client’s career can be brought forth and discussed openly, without fear!  Together the coach and client can work on issues that will positively affect the business while developing the individual to fuller realization of his or her potential.  The successful coach has business experience and the added value of strong abilities to ask the right questions, intuit issues, help set goals and keep the client accountable.

Do you have employees who could use some coaching, in a non-threatening environment?  Any future superstars or leaders you’d like to invest in?  It doesn’t have to be about problems; it can also be about readying someone for future challenges they will face as they take on more responsible roles for you.

I decided to investigate outside of my experience and I found an abundance of information on coaching.  Here are some of the categories:

  • Business coaches
  • Executive coaches
  • Life coaches
  • Career coaches
  • Nutrition coaches
  • Leadership coaches
  • Spiritual coaches
  • Wellness coaches
  • Parenting coaches
  • Marital coaches

So what do people say about career coaches – are they worth it?  Here is what an article from CNN had to report:

CNN reported that in one survey, 61% of the respondents said that they made back their coaching fee investment in increased wages.

According to this WSJ article, executive coaching is a good investment, but should be coupled with coaching across the organization and also working on the business issues affecting the organization.

Let’s be honest though – there are good and bad coaches, effective and ineffective ones.  Some tell you what to do instead of helping you figure that out, some are so vague that you don’t know what to do, and some – instead of helping you set and achieve goals, are so full of themselves that you can’t stand to be with them – they think they have all the answers!   If you are considering a coach, there are some questions you should get answered.

  • First and foremost:  Can you work with this person?  Do you feel comfortable with their approach?  Will you look forward to meeting with him or her?  Do you trust him or her?
  • Second:
    What is their approach – what will a coaching session be like?
  • Third:
    What are their results – what’s their record?  Do they promise quick change or lasting change?  Do they use valid methods?  Do they set goals and help you meet them?

There are many more questions depending on what you are seeking.  Be sure to make a list and ask before you commit!

When I offer coaching to individuals, or to companies for their leaders or future leaders, we work out a “package” that both of us are happy with – we figure out what we need to work on and how long we think it will take to make change occur and come up with a fair investment.

Consider this – what does a year of baseball or football or cheerleading cost you for your kids?  What about a year of piano lessons or private tutoring when they need help with school work?

Aren’t you worth it?  Aren’t your employees?

The investment could reap not only financial rewards multiple times over the fee but also intrinsic rewards that are priceless!

Posted in business strategy, careers, employee engagement, helping others, human resources, jobs, leadership, motivating employees, motivating yourself, purpose of life, retaining employees, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help for Job Seekers – Your Local Church

If you are seeking a new job, new career and help for doing so, have you checked out the local churches in your area?  Here’s a recent article about some local help in Gwinnett County and no matter where you live, you can probably find people willing to help you for nothing in return – just because they want to.  All you have to do is show up and be willing to ask.

And by the way, these groups love it when former members or employers will let them know about openings – the job seekers need leads and the help is remembered and appreciated!

Posted in careers, helping others, jobs | 1 Comment

Testing, Assessments – What Value Are They Really?

Book Cover

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I’ve been involved in a lot of study lately on Assessments – Personality – Behavioral – Thinking. I’m a believer – I think they open the mind to some very honest self-appraisal so that people can look within and acknowledge how they act and what motivates them. There is a lot of valuable insight into that these assessments can deliver to individuals and to their managers and coaches and co-workers. With increased understanding and a common language to talk about discoveries, people can change how they interact with others, strive for improvement in their communication styles, and greatly increase their capacity to understand self and others. In his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey said, “Seek at First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” In my experience as an HR Consultant and internal HR Director, I have seen what these assessments can do for people if they are properly selected and used, with follow-up and related training and reinforcement.  It allows managers to personalize their management style showing that they really care about their staff.  Engagement increases when people think that someone at the company cares about them. Sometimes the cost seems high for these assessments, but if you take time to think of the “cost” of a bad hire, or an interpersonal relationship gone wrong, or choosing to remain “stuck” in a bad job or situation – the money spent suddenly seems so worth it – the value far exceeds the initial cost if you commit to using the information and building upon it. Remember that the costs of turnover, job hunting, stress far exceed the initial cost of an assessment.  I think every person should go through some assessments for career and personal growth.  Every employer should use these tools to help find and keep the very best people for their organization.

But, there are so many out there in the market and the question as to which one is the best to use was what drove me to do the research. I needed to know which ones to recommend to my clients based on their problems. I’m still researching and I have a feeling that this will be a long-term study. Here’s what I’ve looked at:

  • Harrison Assessments
  • DISC
  • Myers Briggs
  • Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument
  • Birkman
  • Caliper
  • Profiles XT

It’s a little overwhelming to start the research and figure out which one is “THE BEST” What I’ve discovered is that they all have some amazing results that come out of them and depending on how you want to use the assessments, they all have a place. Some build on each other, some are best for the first experience with testing and some are better for one purpose than others.

If you are thinking about utilizing assessments for your staff during recruiting or for team and individual development; if you are thinking about using assessments for a personal self-discovery…My advice is to take your time deciding and realize that one size will NOT fit all. It is important that you understand how you plan to use the results – here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. Is this primarily for selection for initial hiring?
2. What type of position is this for?
3. Is this primarily for individual development and why – for “fixing’ a problem or for understanding the person better to manage and motivate?
4. Is this for determining a good fit for promotional opportunities?
5. Is this for team building?
6. Is this for the entire company or just a select portion of the population?
7. Is this for improving personal relationships?
8. Is this for choosing a career or changing your career?
9. What kind of budget do I have?
10. Eventually, do I want to be able to interpret this myself or do I want to have an outside expert doing it?

Once you have the answers to the questions above, you will have taken a big first step. Next, you have to find out how the assessments are given, scored and delivered, what their purpose is, what kind of results they deliver, cost and so on.

I have my preferences to use depending on whether I’m coaching an individual, or recruiting and selecting, or working on a group team building experience. I hope you have fun discovering what’s best for you!

Posted in business strategy, careers, employee engagement, human resources, jobs, purpose of life, retaining employees, retirement, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment