Showing posts from March, 2016

Your Resume: Stop Including These “Skills”

I am old enough to remember when computers were a “thing” and you practically needed a Ph.D. to load and run software on them. They were new, they were exciting, but they were not easily accessible to everyone – not then.
But times are different now. I watched my kids learn complex new games and applications as soon as they were able to turn on the iPad. If you are reading this, a computer is a natural part of your life. You depend on it every day.
I think about this fact when we review resumes at Aha! and I see candidates emphasizing software on their resumes, like this: “I have experience with the MS Office Suite (Word, Project, PPT, Outlook, Excel).” It jumps out at me as a leftover from the past.
For almost every person, you should know — you no longer need to list all the software applications that you know how to use on your resume.
You may be thinking, “Why? And what am I supposed to include on my resume, if I don’t list all the things I know how to do, including the application…

Why It’s Good To Learn From A Bad Boss

Anyone who has spent much time managing knows this to be a management truism you can’t avoid: you learn more from a bad boss than you do from a good one.
I was struck by this again last weekend while reading the latest ‘Corner Office” column in The New York Times. It was a Q&A with Dawn Lepore, the chairwoman and CEO of, and she had a lot to say about being a manager and building a company.
Great advice for every manager to follow
It was all good, if fairly predictable, management talk, but then she said something interesting when asked if she had any bosses who were big influences:
I had a very bad boss early in my career. She was older than I was. She’d started in the financial services industry and she’d had a very hard time, so I think that probably shaped her as a leader. She was very smart but had terrible communication skills. She did not make people feel valued or comfortable or like they were supported at all. And I remember what that felt like. And I thought…

The Planning and Forecasting Challenges Faced by Modern Offices of Finance

Corporate financial departments are able to identify general trends in revenue and expenditure, but the information they evaluate often lacks granularity, consistency and timeliness.
That’s because the information collected from the various business units tends to be gathered in multiple formats and from numerous different sources. And these inconsistent and unconsolidated metrics pose a challenge for financial analysts. It’s difficult to make valid comparisons or derive meaningful insight from disparate and domain-specific data.
Furthermore, the offices of Finance are likely to be analysing that data using error-prone spreadsheet-based methods, along with painstaking manual customisation. The result is that Finance departments often find themselves unable to respond in an agile and dynamic manner to business change and disruption. They’re mired in out-dated practices, and their rigid annual approach to planning means their fixed budgets are frequently obsolete before the financial y…

How Facebook Can Harm Your Future Job Prospects

Before Facebook and other social media platforms were born, hirers typically performed background checks by speaking directly with your past employers. These days, with the growth of social media platforms, especially Facebook, companies are now turning to the internet as an additional research tool to screen candidates. As opposed to making a decision about a job seeker solely based on his or her resume and interview, companies are also now using your social media profiles to help them make a decision on whether or not you’d be a good hire for the company.
The key to job hunting is to create a great first impression. This is true for your resume, cover letter and job interview. If you walk into an interview in a new suit with your shoes polished and hair brushed, you are going to immediately create a more positive first impression than had you walked into the interview with your shirt hanging out and your hair looking like you just woke up. The same is true for your Facebook profile…

Master the Four Styles of Resonant Leadership

When champion golfer Rory McIlroy steps up to hit the ball down the fairway, he doesn’t use his putter. He chooses a club that will give the ball the power and distance he needs. If that shot goes astray into a sand trap, Rory’s wedge will punch the ball up onto the green. Then, he’ll pull the putter out of his bag to finesse the final shot into the hole.
What do golf clubs have to do with leadership? The mark of an effective professional in any field is that they know how to skillfully use the appropriate tool for each situation. In my Harvard Business Review article, “Leadership That Gets Results,” I used the analogy of a golf pro choosing clubs for different shots to describe the four styles of resonant leadership. Like a seasoned golfer selecting the correct club, an effective leader uses the style that will get the job done.
What is Resonant Leadership? Resonance means reinforcing sound by moving on the same wavelength. Leaders have the power to impact the emotional states of peo…

11 Ways to Get Fired - A Leader’s Primer

Let me count the ways.  Getting fired is easy, just consult with the employee manual and do the opposite, break the rules and that should do it.  For a leader, there are many more nuanced ways that will get you into deep yogurt.  Examples on what a leader can do to get the ax are very current and serve as leadership lessons.  Here are but a few examples of how to get fired if you are a leader:

Announce that people who hold a certain religious belief will never be hired into the organization or that any ethnic group is full of rapists and criminals.In a public forum, make an allusion to a women’s menstrual cycle as a reason for anything.Show ambivalence, or imply support to racist or radical groups.Inflate your background and pump up your resume with claims that are tough to support.Never listen to constituents other than those who are rabid supporters.Encourage those same supporters to beat the crap out of those who might disagree with you.Make projections and forecasts that everyone …

Curious Things That Will Kill Your Career

There are so many things that can kill the careers of good, hard-working people. Honest mistakes often carry hard-hitting consequences.
We usually only hear about the more egregious examples, such as when Yelp employee Talia Jane became an Internet sensation last month for writing a blistering post criticizing the company’s low pay and its CEO. To no one’s surprise, she quickly found herself out of a job.
Most people don’t go down in a blaze of glory like Talia Jane; they kill their careers in subtle, decidedly undramatic ways. And it’s a shame because it happens all the time.
A recent survey by VitalSmarts found that 83% of people had seen someone make a blunder that had catastrophic results for their career, reputation, or business, and 69% admitted that they themselves had done something that had damaged their careers:
31% said it cost them a promotion, a raise, or even a job27% said it damaged a working relationship11% said it destroyed their reputation
These numbers show how dama…

10 New Non-Business Books That Will Change The Way You Think, Feel, and Live

I realize that there are numerous exceptional books. Business books, fiction books, etc.
However, there are only a few books which radiate the power and magic to transform us by the deep meaning of their words. Books which pass the ultimate test of being truly "great books" – books about which we continue thinking for a long time after we have finished them.
The central question that drives many of us is “How can we become better leaders and – most importantly - better and more complete people?”
Books, among others, are a superb source for inspiration and learning. Since not everyone has time to scan the shelves or scroll Goodreads forums, I have collected the following list of 10 exceptional books for the benefit of your reading pleasure and personal growth. Books that have been released in the past twelve months and which possess the power to draw us away from the ordinary world into spheres of compassion, love, and reflection.
Some of the books will make you laugh, other…

The End of Performance Reviews

In this series, professionals debate the state – and future – of their industry. Read more here, then write your own #MyIndustry post).
The first thing that popped into my head as I considered the 'state of my industry' was that 'Human Resources' the term is well out of date and not representative of the important role that people play in the success of a business. Bit by bit, and not so slowly the very 'functions' delivered by these 'HR' folks are changing/evolving and even disappearing. Workplaces are changing at a dramatic pace... not least of which the performance review/appraisal will be relegated to history — it has had its day. The very concept dates back to the early 20th century from Taylor's 'pioneering' Time and Motion studies — seeking efficiency.
Some people love performance appraisals, others hate them. Some see it as a time to review their accomplishments; others see it as a time to be scrutinised (or to find out how little t…

Effective Leaders Know the Science Behind Their Behavior

Lynn had dreaded this meeting with her team. Frowning, she looked around the conference table and said, “I’ve got bad news. Upper management told me this team’s performance is unacceptable. We have to pull up our numbers by the end of this quarter, or heads will roll. I’ve decided to make major changes. First, all vacations for the rest of the quarter are cancelled. I expect each of you to be here focused on work. Second, you will meet your weekly goals, no matter how many hours it takes.”
Don’t Make Bad Situations Worse Whatever you think of the content of Lynn’s message to her team, it’s clear that how she delivered it made a bad situation worse. Missing from Lynn’s delivery were use of the self-awareness, self-management, and empathy that are key to emotional intelligence. During the Brainpower webcasts, my colleague Daniel Siegel and I shared with viewers many of the research studies we’ve used as the basis of our work with emotional intelligence and Mindsight.
If Lynn had underst…

5-Step Plan to Getting a Promotion Without Having to Ask for It

Nobody likes having to actually ask for a promotion. Advocating for yourself is a lot harder than speaking up for others. The good news is, if your boss is paying attention and your actions are speaking for themselves, you may not have to ask.
You probably already know that doing good work is the single most effective way to show your boss you’re ready for more. (But it’s worth reiterating, because if you skip this step, you’re going to have a hard time getting promoted.) Ideally, you should be consistently exceeding expectations in your current job. This means you do just about every task as well and as efficiently as it can be done, and you usually finish tasks ahead of schedule.
Once you’ve got that down, here are five more ways to prove you’re ready.
1. Consistently Do “Above and Beyond” Work
Exceeding expectations is only the start: You should also look for ways to add value through projects and tasks that are beyond your role. Find things that need doing that no one has had time…

Winning ways with passive candidates

Reach out successfully to top-level talent with these 10 tips.

Passive candidates aren’t actively seeking their next role—they’re too busy changing the world in their current positions. So engaging with these top professionals requires a different approach.

Based on interviews with LinkedIn Recruiting Solutions customers who had the highest InMail response rates, we developed the following framework for passive talent recruiting success.

Be a real advisor to your hiring manager

1. Get on the same page quickly. Meet face-to-face with your hiring manager to understand the role's raw skills and personality requirements. Share sample LinkedIn profiles to set the baseline; agree which qualities are essential vs. nice to have. Develop a winning employee value proposition/ 'sales story' for each new role.

2. Be the strategic partner they want. Keep in touch with hiring managers even when there's no open job, to proactively uncover the needs of the business and understand the org…

3 Motivational Tactics That Make a Difference for Your Entire Team

Without motivation, leaders can quickly fall prey to working aimlessly and losing sight of their goals.
When it comes to being successful, motivation is essential - but not just for you. Part of your role as an entrepreneur is positively influencing your team so they're dedicated to achieving personal and professional success. A great motivator can ask their team to do even the most menial tasks and communicate how these small items play a larger role in helping the business improve. From my experience, I have learned three motivational tactics that I would recommend to anyone who is looking to take their team to the next level.
Define the Outcome
Clearly defining your goals and aspirations for yourself and others plays a significant role in achieving success. Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker, author, activist and minister, says if you want to achieve as much as you need to breathe, then you will find a way to be successful. While you shouldn't take his advice literally, it …

Career Strategies When Life Isn't Black and White

Every few months, the high-tech sector demonstrates another breakthrough in artificial intelligence, generating a flurry of scary headlines about machines taking over the world. If you're interested in future-proofing your career, there's never been a better time to pinpoint what it is that people do uniquely well -- and software can't copy.
Let's start with a salute to the technologists' latest accomplishment. Google's AI experts have turned their attention to go, the great Asian board game, and have built software that can beat Le Se-Dol, the 18-time world champion, pretty consistently. Details are in this nifty story from The Verge.
The wow factor here isn't just that the game of go transcends chess in its complexity, requiring Google's software to calculate zillions of possibilities. What's really striking is that when positions get too murky for either humans or AI software to calculate everything, the machines end up playing better hunches th…

You Never Get What You Don’t Ask For

Embrace the fear of “no.” Then ask for the “yes.” 
“So, Dave,” said the frustrated young woman who had been working harder than anyone else on the sales floor and thought she’d been doing everything right. “Why am I not seeing more success in sales?”
Haley was a good salesperson for our software company, Likeable Local. Good but not great. What made the difference between good and great for her was one very simple thing, the same thing that often makes the difference between successful people and very successful people. It took listening to her on a product demo for me to find that out.
I sat in on a demo Haley had with John, the owner of a jewelry store in Boca Raton, Florida. He was an older gentleman, uncomfortable in general with social media, and Haley did an excellent job of building rapport early, listening, mirroring, and validating his concerns. He was wary of doing social media on his own but was not sure how much time or money he had for software like ours. Then Haley began…

Stop Making Long-term Career Decisions Using Short-term Data

No one who is about to change jobs should use short-term criteria to make long-term career decisions. Yet, I contend that too many candidates (both active and passive), too many recruiters, too many HR people and too many hiring managers filter jobs and people in and out on short-term criteria before they even have a chance to understand the long-term opportunity. This is one of untended consequences companies make when treating a career move as a transaction rather than a serious business decision. 
To test one aspect of this we created a survey comparing the criteria people use to engage in a serious career discussion vs. the criteria used to accept an offer. Following is the same list that’s included in the survey. (Note: I’ll update this blog post in a few days with the survey results, or sign-up for our weekly newsletter.)
The Criteria People Use to Engage in Career Conversations and Compare Offers

LocationCompany name and reputationPosition titleCompensation packageThe opportuni…

Will Machines Take Over Finance?

A lot of “knowledge work” today is really just the routine application of a set of rules, with some ability to identify situational errors and exceptions.
The (smart) machines are coming.
I’ve been interested in artificial intelligence (AI) – the concept that humans can design a machine that thinks for itself without explicitly provide instructions (or a “program”) — since the early 1970s. As an undergraduate math major, I wrote a program designed to learn to play the game of Monopoly (checkers was too easy, chess was too hard). The program “knew” the objective, the layout of the board, the rules of play, and the content of the three stacks of cards that drive the game. It could handle up to 8 players.
It wasn’t very smart, but it had one great advantage — it could play thousands of games against itself, remember the outcomes, and analyze why it had won (someone always wins) or lost using some simple algorithms. After a few weeks it was virtually unbeatable against one or more humans…