How employing a person with a disability can make you a better leader.

6 Jan

I met a manager who had recently hired an individual on the autism spectrum. He was referred to the company by an agency that provides vocational support to individuals on the spectrum.

As part of his transition into the company the agency spent time with the hiring manager, helping him understand the strengths of the new employee and the situations where he was likely to be more successful. They also provided insights about where the new employee may likely struggle, and they discussed how to best manage the challenges that may arise.

The manager worked hard to integrate this knowledge into onboarding the new employee, and after a while it was clear he was an outstanding employee who would be successful.

The manager reflected back on the training he had received, and realized that the insights the agency provided—focusing on strengths and managing potential weaknesses—could be applied to any member of his team.

As a result of this experience he’s a far better leader—for his entire team.

Let’s commit to creating workplaces that work for everyone.

#inclusion #disability

Want a more inspired sales team? Lead with compassion.

5 Jan

Here’s a link to research we’ve conducted at BI WORLDWIDE regarding engaging a sales team and leadership:

JOB SEARCH TIP: Don’t let the trap of “New Year’s resolutions” derail your job search.

1 Jan

As you probably know, we don’t do a very good job of following up on our New Year’s resolutions.

I’m bad at them too.

When it comes to your job search, it may be easy to fall into some of the traps that cause us to lose momentum in other resolutions.

Rather than resolve “to have a job by the end of the month”, think about specific goals you can achieve each day that will help you get toward that goal:

  • How many job postings will you respond to?
  • How many networking meetings will you have?
  • How many hours will you spending conducting research on prospective employers and industries you may be considering?

Set specific goals around activities such as those noted above. You can’t control when you will receive a job offer, but you can control the activities that will increase you chances of getting one.

Let’s together make this New Year better in lots of ways, including conducting a job search that increases your chances of success.

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community. Please pass along: 

#career #careercoach #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch

Rest in peace, Tom

20 Dec

When we came to Minnesota seven years ago we fell in love with Minnesota sports, and with that came a love for the local broadcasters.

One of those broadcasters, Tom Hanneman, died this week.

Although you don’t really know the folks you see on television, you feel like you do. It felt like he was a decent guy, and what has been said about him makes me believe he was.

Too many good folks have been lost this year. Tom is but one. My best regards to family and friends.

More about Tom:

Our old book is still relevant…

20 Dec

Over a decade ago my friend Leigh Branham and I wrote a book about employee engagement. I looked back on the book through the lens of our current challenges and, to my pleasant surprise, the recommendations we offered in 2010 stood up pretty well.

Here’s an article I recently wrote where I took our ideas and updated them to meet some of our current economic and social challenges:

If you are so moved, you can also check out our book here:

“Let’s capture the moment”: Inspiration across the employee experience.

20 Dec

The singer Rihanna was right—we need to capture the moments, in this case the moments when you can inspire employees. Key moments to account for are:

~ In “Decision Day”, inspire prospective employees to join your organization, which is a way to differentiate yourself in securing the right talent,

~ In “First Day”, inspire new employees to get off to a great start, as employees who are onboarded more effectively can contribute more quickly,

~ In “Every Day”, inspire employees as they make meaningful progress toward their goals, because every day they’re successful is a key to your ongoing success,

~ In “Achievement Day”, inspire employees who achieve important results so they feel a continued commitment to the organization, and

~ In “Referral Day”, inspire employees who are great advocates for the organization who help you secure new customers and prospective employees.

Along each of these moments there are ways to inspire employees. Our research shows that more inspired employees will help you achieve your company goals.

Capture the moments and enjoy great success as a result.

#recognition  #appreciation #gratitude #grateful #inspiration

My employer has created a free site to recognize folks. Use it as often as you would like! Give some appreciation, right now:

Biggest Mistakes Job Seekers Make

19 Dec

I conducted a very non-scientific survey of ten experts on job search. I asked them: what were the three biggest mistakes they saw job seekers make? I received eleven replies with 22 ideas, but the following five were by far the most frequently cited:

  1. Not knowing what you want in a job that would fit your skills, interests and values,
  2. Relying only on applying for jobs and ignoring the value and power of networking,
  3. Not researching companies, using information in the public domain and also what you can learn from personal networking,
  4. Being unprepared for networking and job interviews, and
  5. Using “one-size-fits-all” communications, such as cover letters and resumes.

The consensus makes great sense to me, and I’ll continue to comment on each of these in future posts.

There are training videos on the web site of my faith community and a handout the videos reference. This content is free. Please consider passing along:

#career #careercoach #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch

My thanks to you…

18 Dec

For the last six months I’ve engaged far more with you on this platform. I’ve learned a lot and been challenged in some ways I now view as important in my development.

I’ve made a number of new contacts and found some new business partners.

And I hope a pearl or two I’ve shared has been of some value to you.

As a friend of mine often said: “we all are beggars, and we should try to help each other on our journey to find a bit of bread.”

If that’s true, I’ve gotten more than my share of nourishment, and for that I’m grateful.

I’m going to take a break from this platform and will return after the New Year.

Wishing you and yours all the best, Mark

Disability doesn’t mean inability—“driving” customer satisfaction with the right employee.

16 Dec

A car dealership hired an individual on the autism spectrum. He had a driver’s license, which allowed him to be hired for a job as a car detailer.

In the case of this gentleman, he was fussy, even perfectionistic, in his approach to his work. He made sure that each car he cleaned and detailed met his exacting standards.

Customers loved his work.

In fact, customers would call ahead and request he detail their car and would even wait until he was available.

He was that good.

He did have some challenges when it came to social interactions, but the dealership was happy to work with him so that he could be in a job he enjoyed and was valued by customers.

Instead of looking at what a person doesn’t do, perhaps we can turn our attention to what a person can do, where they have skills and abilities that can be of value.

Because the car dealership was willing to look for abilities they employed a person who, to turn a phrase, “drove” customer satisfaction.

JOB SEARCH TIP. Networking helped me secure half of my jobs. Networking can help you.

15 Dec

In my almost 40 years of post-college work experience I’ve had six employers. In three of those cases I secured the job because of networking. In a quick survey of thirty friends and colleges, four in five of my contacts indicated they had come to at least one job in their career via networking.

Over the last six months I’ve taken many calls from folks who are looking for work. I’ve learned from these conversations and have not seen them as a burden, a feeling I think most share.

I know it’s not easy to network, but if you’re having difficulty here’s a place for you to start:

Contact me.

If you’re not a connection let’s get that done and you can review my 3,000 contacts.

Looking forward to chatting!

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community: 

#career #careercoach #jobhuntingtips #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch