“Best Audience Ever”—celebrating memorable achievements in a memorable way.

28 Jan

A group of high potential leaders were at a corporate meeting, and that evening there was a group dinner. For the entertainment there was a singer who was from a different generation and the group was initially not terribly excited.

But one of the leaders said: “Hey, let’s be the best audience ever for this singer.”

The group got excited about the idea and decided to be “the best audience ever” for the singer that night.

A now engaged and attentive audience brought out the best in the singer, and the group ended up having a magical evening.

How many of our team members would be inspired if we chose to become their best audience ever? Would we also see talents emerge and increased levels of performance?

Yep, we would.

Let’s commit, today, to be the “best audience ever” for someone with whom we work.

#ThankYouThursday #recognition  #appreciation #gratitude #grateful #inspiration

The pandemic has changed how we do business. Has your recruiting and hiring process changed?

27 Jan

So much of our life has been dramatically changed by the pandemic, including our work. Many companies have employees performing different duties, some employees are now remote, and new roles have emerged.

Are you ignoring these new realities? Are you:

· using the same competencies and persona for a job that has changed?

· still using the same sources to recruit, even though you may be looking for different employees?

· communicating the same messages to attract employees even though roles have changed?

· assessing employees for a set of competencies that are no longer relevant?

· failing to train and reinforce to managers the importance of having a slate of candidates that is inclusive of all prospective employees?

· not understanding the link between your work culture and your ability to recruit?

It makes sense to review this work regularly, but in the midst of our changing world of work it is even more important we ensure our recruiting and hiring process is aligned with and supportive of our changing needs.

My thanks to Amy Stern, Merle Riepe, PhD, Shane Bernstein and Matt Givand for helping me think through these questions!

#hiring #recruitment

JOB SEARCH TIP: Making the most of a “bridge” job.

26 Jan

While most of us want our dream job, the reality is we may have to find something, even in the short-term, this doesn’t meet that standard.

If an ideal job isn’t available, you can choose a “bridge job”, which I define as less than ideal but one you can be employed now and use to “bridge” to that better opportunity.

Sometimes a bridge job is just about getting a paycheck. But here are some other ways you can think about this tactic:

· Learn a new skill. Consider bridge jobs where you can learn a new skill or gain experience that would make you more valuable for your future dream job.

· Make new contacts. Choose a job where you could make some contacts that could help you in your career.

· References. Be awesome in your bridge job so that you earn a reference.

Not all bridge jobs are created equal. If you choose this route, pick a bridge job that helps you move forward, which gets you from one side of the bridge to the other.

#jobsearch #careers #hiring

JOB SEARCH TIP: Bill Gates gave some leadership advice you can use in your job search.

24 Jan

“Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve tackled every new big problem the same way: by starting off with two questions…Who has dealt with this problem? And what can we learn from them?” ~Bill Gates

If you’re in leadership at a company, this is terrific advice. But it also can help you in your job search:

~ If you’re targeting a specific company (let’s say it’s Microsoft since I’m quoting Bill Gates), there are people who have just been hired. Network your way to them and gain their advice and guidance about why they got hired. What was the company looking for? What were their challenges? You can learn a lot from someone who just wen through the process.

~ If you’re wanting to move into what is a new industry for you, someone has already done that. Follow the same path to gain insights about how this person navigated these challenges. How did they showcase their “transferrable skills”, for example? What homework did they do to gain an understanding of key industry trends?

Most every challenge you are facing in your job search has been addressed by someone else. Take the advice of Mr. Gates and learn from those who have set at path of success before you.

JOB SEARCH TIP: Brooks Hatlen was right—slow it down.

23 Jan

“The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.”

I’m a big fan of the film “The Shawshank Redemption”, and this is one of my favorite lines. We have gotten a big hurry in this world of ours, often to our detriment.

This is true for those in the job search. Yes, you need to have a plan and work your plan, but you should also set aside time, perhaps a day or so, to slow it down.

For starters, get off the computer and social media. (Ironic I’m using social media to tell you this, right?

Find an activity that nourishes you. Perhaps you should spend some time in nature (socially distanced, of course), walking in a park or on a lake.

Or how about a good book? Lose yourself in a good story. I enjoy a good mystery—how about you?

Maybe a way to slow down is to be with family or friends (you know what I’m going to say about safety again), particularly with those who can provide some joy or levity or health distraction.

Slow it down.

A final way you may need to slow down is to get some professional help to walk along side of you in these difficult times.

Yes, your job search awaits you, but do take time to recharge and refresh.

#jobsearch #career

Why a gift card isn’t a reward.

21 Jan

I’m looking at a gift card I received over the holidays to redeem.

I was excited about using the card and had a couple of items in mind. The items cost a bit more than the value of the card, so I’ll have to pull a few bucks out of my own pocket when I redeem.

Employers often give gift cards to employees with the intent of them being a reward, and in some ways they are. But if you’re like me and you end up spending some of your own money along with the gift card to get what you want the gift card then ends up being a discount, not a reward.

There may be value in providing a gift card as a way of saying thank you to an employee, but my experience is similar to others such that the gift card rarely, if ever, fully pays for something we want.

If the card doesn’t pay for the item, shipping and applicable taxes, don’t call it a reward.

It’s a discount.

Why do I call this out? If you’re an employer, you want to invest your resources in a way that provides the greatest return for your investment. A reward that isn’t a reward won’t likely inspire as much as a reward that is paid for in full by the employer.

Want to inspire employees? Know the difference between a discount and a reward.

#recognition  #appreciation #gratitude #grateful #inspiration

In the U.S. it’s Martin Luther King Day. Let’s talk about racial bias in the hiring process.

18 Jan

On this day I’m taking a moment to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King, and specifically how far we have to go in erasing racial bias from our society, including our places of work.

Over the past few months I’ve heard of a few things that are designed to moderate (not eliminate) hiring bias:

~ Some companies have chosen to send hiring managers resumes where personal information is been redacted. Hiring managers review only the qualifications of the candidates before choosing who to interview. Some “applicant tracking” software offers this as a feature.

~ Some companies now no longer ask about the salary history of applicants. In fact, some states and jurisdictions outlaw the practice. Asking about prior salary history has been shown to bias African American and female candidates. Eliminating this practice levels the playing field, and a recent study shows it has improved pay equity.

This topic deserves more than the length of this post, but I hope you will join me in considering how we can honor the legacy of Dr. King today, and every day, by working to create more inclusive places to work.

“Win the Week”: In these challenging times, recognize smaller successes more frequently.

13 Jan

In these challenging times, it is hard for organizations to predict and plan for the future. Interestingly, the same problem is encountered with our employees.

Our academic collaborator Michael Ahearne has noticed a number of organizations moving the timelines for goal attainment toward a shorter time period…

“Win the Week.”

Rather than thinking about goals for a quarter or a year, Dr. Ahearne has found that helping employees focus on a shorter-term goal can help folks stay more productive. And, of course, you “win the week” several times in a row you’re going to have a great quarter.

He saw this effort to be successful with sales teams, but could be applied to any employee group—think about key tasks and outcomes that can be achieved in the shorter team, and celebrate those smaller successes on the say to longer-term goal achievement.

Where could you implement a “win the week” strategy and, in doing so, help employees increase their chances of success?

#ThankYouThursday #recognition  #appreciation #gratitude #grateful #inspiration


11 Jan

Organizations spend a lot of time and money training new employees. This training hopefully helps the new employee get up to speed quickly so they can make contributions to the organization. We also hope new employees will be inspired to bring new ideas and creativity to their job.

But what if I told you the companies who don’t wait for new employee orientation to help employees learn are doing better at inspiring their employees?

According to research conducted by BI WORLDWIDE, new employees who learned about their job and organization prior to being hired were far more inspired than those who didn’t learn. They are, on average, ready to bring their best ideas and creativity to the job.

There are numerous opportunities to help recruits learn about the job and organization, learning that could start with the job posting and continuing through the hiring process.

Want more inspired new employees? Get folks learning while you’re recruiting them.

#hiring #recruitment #employeeexperience

Calling for a (U.S.) National Day of Remembrance

9 Jan

I sent this to my Members of Congress. I encourage you to send a message to your elected representatives:


In the summer of 1978 I had the honor of working for a Member of Congress from Nebraska, Virginia Smith, in Washington, D.C. All these years later I still consider it one of the highlights of my life.

Although I worked in Longworth, I was often in the Capitol. Every time– every time– I walked into that building I thought to myself: “I am so lucky. I am grateful and honored to be standing in the halls of our democracy.”

I looked in horror as this building was taken over by a mob of thugs and hooligans who, in my view, were incited to be there. I can only imagine how you felt, discharging your duties as our duly elected representative, and having to flee for your safety as domestic terrorists stormed our Capitol.

As painful as these memories are for all of us, there is one thing we as a people cannot do…

We cannot forget.

I know investigations are under way to find the individuals responsible, and there will be much work done to ensure this never happens again, and I’m fully supportive of these efforts.

But in time those activities will be completed. I worry that in the future other issues and needs will dull our memory.

We must resist this.

We must be reminded how fragile our democracy can be.

We must remember.

Therefore, I would urge you and other Members of Congress to establish every January 6th as a National Day of Remembrance.  

I want to remember.

I want my family to remember.

I want my neighbors to remember.

I want those who have strongly held political beliefs who are opposite mine to remember.

Respectfully, I want our elected officials, present and future, to remember.

I am sure there will be many issues for you to address when Congress (safely) convenes. I would request you add this to your already busy schedule for thoughtful consideration.


Mark D. Hirschfeld