Saturday, November 10, 2007

!!!! We're Moving!!!!!

I am going to stop posting here.

I am moving the blog to

Go there.


I will tell you why.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In the Beginning...There Was Tom Peters

Lots of things going on. I just accepted a new position with another company. Big changes. Before I get into that (in another post), I want to revisit Tom Peters and his book, The Brand You 50. This is where it all began. Taking control of your life and your career. Breaking free of the shackles of being a drone and letting your career happen TO you.

Published in 1999, 8 years ago!, this has been one of Tom's raging mantras.

The New Job Security:

- Craft (your marketable skill)

- Distinction (memorable achievements)

- Networking Skills (word of mouth collegial support)

Brand You's Lead!

They take charge of their own lives. They know that they are:

- Skills dependent

- Distinction dependent

- Network/Rolodex dependent (Linkedin/Facebook dependent!)

- Project (WOW! Projects) dependent

- Growth dependent

- Leaders!

As I have mentioned in other posts, I think I am just starting to really get this - "grok" it. I've taken a new job. It will help me further develop my skills. It will engage me in a different industry. It will engage me in a different part of a client's business (organizational development). There is plenty of opportunity for achievement (launching a new practice inside an established firm). I will expand my network. I will grow. I will continue to lead. I have taken charge.

I've done a lot of these things in the past. I've lead. I have grown my tool set. I have built a great network. But this move is a big move for me. I have taken the wheel. I am not letting my career happen to me - I am making my career happen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More on Facebook and LinkedIn

Following on yesterday's post about setting up a profile on LinkedIn...I opened the latest issue of Money magazine this morning and saw an article by Dan Kadlec.

You Ought To Be In Facebook covers the same points that Neil Patel made. He comes at it from the perspective of the baby boomer generation - stating that networking gets more critical as you age.

I don't necessarily agree with that. Networking is important at any age - both professional and personal networks. The care and feeding of your network intensifies the longer you wait. But, Money is geared towards Boomers and they have to play to their audience.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Facebook the New LinkedIn?

Oy. Now I need a Facebook profile? According to Neil Patel, yes. I caught the Use Facebook as a Marketing Tool link from Lifehacker. This took me to Patel's Quick Sprout blog and the full post: Build a Facebook Profile You Can Be Proud Of.

Facebook has opened itself up to the masses. Now anyone can have a Facebook page. Previously, you could only get in if you had a college email address. (Which doesn't make sense but I read it on the webbernet so it must be true.) The principal is essentially the same as building out your LinkedIn profile.

The name of the game, ultimately, is personal branding. The number 1 marketing method for building your brand in your Google page rank. If Facebook is uber-popular and will help move me ahead of Mike Lally, the actor, I am all for it. Patel gives some helpful hints: Build your profile...the more complete the profile, the more chances you have getting connected to others with similar interests/backgrounds.

Next, you need to interact. Just like LinkedIn. You have to work it! Search for people you know. Find the connections. Grow your network organically. I AM against just random linkages. GENUINELY get to know people BEFORE you add them.

Lastly, and again, just like LinkedIn and your resume, keep your profile up to date. Know your accomplishments and PUBLISH THEM FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE! it Facebook page.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

48 Days to the Work You Love

More on personal branding. I mentioned in my last post that I was deconstructing myself. I pick up this book to help.

There is a quote from Tom Peters somewhere that if he gets one idea out of a $20 book, the ROI is incredible.

This is one of those books. This book is H-E-A-V-Y on the religious overtones. I don't judge and those parts are easy to skip over.

This book looks at goal-setting and life balancing. It asks you to look inward and "know thyself". It provides some decent tips along the way.

The author, Dan Miller, lays out 7 Areas For Achievement in your life. They are:

  1. Financial
  2. Physical
  3. Personal Development
  4. Family
  5. Spiritual
  6. Social
  7. Career
For more on this I really suggest you look at Rick Houcek. I met him a few years ago. He talks about the same thing...balance and goal-setting. He's an intense guy.

Digression - in the Social section, Miller provides a list of 6 Ways to make people like you - that he lifts from Dale Carnegie. (I don't know about "making" people like you, but these couldn't hurt):

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.
Then he gets into understanding your personal brand. In order to understand your brand you need to understand three areas: your personality traits, your values, dreams, and passions, and skills and abilities. You need to take a very hard and detailed personal inventory to understand you values/dreams/passions and your skills/abilities. There are plenty of personality tests out there (more on those in a later post).

Miller takes a pretty common point about your plain-old-looks-like-everyone-else's resume and tweaks it in a way that bears repeating:
Your resume is your sales tool for where you want to go. Don't let it be just a snapshot of where you have been.
Where you want to GO. I like that.

He continues...
If you want to redirect your career path, you can begin the process with a well-designed resume. Remember, if your resume is just a chronological history of what you've done, it will pigeonhole you into continuing to do what you've always done. You can redirect in major ways by identifying 'area of competence' that would have applications in new companies, industries, and professions.
Along with goal-setting and branding, Miller provides interviewing tips. I liked his section on the always tough "Tell me a little about yourself" question. I think I am a pretty good interviewee. I hate this question. Miller helps and it really goes hand in hand with your branding. If you really lock in on your brand, this question will answer itself. He advises:
Remember, your answer to any question should be no more than 2 minutes in length. On this particular one, you might spend 15 seconds on your personal background, 1 minute on your career highlights, a few seconds on your strongest professional achievements, and then conclude by explaining why you are looking for a new opportunity.
I recommend video-taping yourself. It is BRUTAL. But it is effective. Get yourself a timer. Script out your answer, record it, time it. Edit it as needed. Pay attention to your body language as you speak. I don't know about the 2 minute rule either.

You need your elevator-speech (we really need a new term for that) and this will come as you come to understand your brand. Take the 2 minute version and chop it to 1 minute. Then to 30 seconds. It is OK to have multiple versions - long, medium, short.

Maybe I was unfair in the beginning of this post. There is a good amount of value in this book. I was really turned off by all the "Bibleing". Miller tosses around Scripture like - I don't know, I can't think of a good metaphor. But all in all, this is a good starting point for someone looking to know themselves better.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More on Branding Yourself

It has been ten years since Tom Peters first interjected the concept of personal branding into the workplace lexicon. Very few people get it. I think I am just beginning to get it. I keep learning. I evolve. Someday I too will be a beautiful and unique snowflake.

Today has been a day of convergence around Personal Branding. I read a great article from Joe Calloway at The CEO Refresher called Your Brand is Everything. Calloway does a good job of cutting through the marketing-speak and laying out what a brand really IS:
Your brand is owned by your customers, the people you work with, and anyone else who has an impression of you. Your brand is other people's perception of what it is like to do business with you, work with you, or be with you.
Take a minute and let that sink in.

You create your brand with every breath, every action, every decision and how all of those elements drive your customer's experience. Calloway advises that the way to build a strong brand is simple: keep your promises and create great experiences for others.

Then, the mind-blower: you don't have just one brand. You have MULTIPLE brands. "You literally have as many brands as you have customers and people who have an impression of you." Holy cow. How many people did you talk to today? How many did you email? IM? All of them walked away with a perception of YOU - your BRAND.

The customer gets to decide your brand. He then goes on to talk about customer experiences. One I particularly LOVE:
Everyone at the dry cleaners knows my name. I spend about thirty dollars a week with them. My company spends tens of thousands of dollars every year with you and yet I feel like you have no idea who I am.

Tomorrow I will drop off my own dry cleaning and be greeted by a "Good morning, Mr. Lally!" And it is genuine. I've been going there for years. It is not because they HAVE to do it. It is a part of them. As soon as I get to the office, I have a meeting with a technology vendor who is coming to talk about a migration plan to a new platform. I've been chasing them all week on a problem we are having with the existing platform. The sales person doesn't know that I am going to be managing the relationship going forward. And I am not a happy camper.

Flip over to Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist blog. She has a great post today on Three Steps to Building Your Brand. I've really enjoyed this blog. The link is to the full Yahoo Finance article. She points to a definition by Dan Schwabel (who has actually commented on Diligentia!) in his Personal Branding Wiki.

The wiki definition of a personal brand is labeled a PROCESS of "identifying and articulating their unique value proposition...and leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal."

But where to begin? Penelope and Dan provide some tips. Dan says to begin with an "inventory of personal core competencies, natural constituencies, expertise and demonstrated abilities." Good but I am just a simple farmer. That is a bit too wordy for me. I like Penelope's version better:
  1. Know what you are good at.
  2. Know what people think of you.
  3. Meet the right people.
One of the big tricks to career success is to find out what you do better than almost everyone else, and then let people know that's what you do.
Knowing what people think of you is a tough one. Getting honest feedback is not easy. She points to a great article from The Prometheus Institute on Five Tips to Increase Your Likeability. I would also point you to Marshall Goldsmith's book - What Got You Here Won't Get You There.

How to be likeable:
  1. Be positive. As my mother-in-law says: "Quit your crab-applin'." She's right. Attitude is everything.
  2. Control your insecurities. Breathe. Accept who you are and if you don't like it, change it. Or sit down and be quiet.
  3. Provide Value. Get in the game. Get some social skills. You may be brilliant but if you can't stand to be around other humans, no one is going to care. Learn how to fake it if you must.
  4. Eliminate all judgements. This means "treating everyone with the respect you would give to a 120-year-old man and the understanding you would give toward your sever-year-old cousin."
  5. Become a person of conviction. As the song says....respect yourself.
Be a hammer. "Specialists have the best careers."

As I mentioned, I have been working on this. I have been going through a process of deconstructing myself. Stripping ME down and putting myself back together again starting at the core.

I will start posting about my efforts to develop the Brand Me.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Go Bag

Lifehacker, my favorite website has been running a series called Show Us Your Go Bag.

Last weekend, I emptied out the contents of mine, took a picture and submitted. Click here to see my bag! (And a description of its contents).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rethinking the Off-Shore Model

I was talking with a colleague the other day. We got into a discussion on outsourcing. We did not get into a heavy debate on the socio-economic-political ramifications. The discussion centered on cost to the outsourcer and the outsourcee.

The discussion turned to India. "How can you compete?" my colleague asked. I think it is getting easier to compete. This article from have to register) talks to the changing economic situations in India.

The rupee is beginning to appreciate against the dollar. The author thinks the rupee can reach 15 to the dollar in the next 20 years. For the life of me I can't find where the rupee is trading today. Trust me, it is a lot more than 15:1.

If your business model has you competing on cost - suddenly you are finding that the cost difference is not such a slam-dunk as it has been for the last 5-7 years. As costs rise because of the stronger rupee, you become less profitable. Your competitive advantage erodes.

The author points India to the Japanese of the 1980's when the yen strengthened against the dollar:

For product lines where they made the highest margins, such as the Lexus, they continued production in Japan. However, for lower-priced models -- where their profit margins were lower and would have been eroded further by the rising yen
-- they moved production to the U.S. They protected their margins on non-premium products by moving production -- and therefore shifting costs -- into dollar-denominated areas.
Indian outsourcers will be forced to raise their prices to meet their costs. They will also have to look for other areas of competitive advantage. They will have to "change the mix of activities carried out in India versus other countries."

The author also feels that the Indian companies will further evolve and become global companies that are just based in India.

You have to compete on value.

MBA In a Page

Read Guy Kawasaki's blog today and read this post.

I thought I had linked to the Management Methods Management Models Management Theories page from in my link bar. Apparently, I have not. I have corrected.

I do LOVE the quote from Kawasaki in regard to this site:

You can use the page as a test: Anyone who knows all these theories is someone you shouldn’t hire.
Love it! You should probably set a percentage though. Although I am SURE there are people out there that could rattle off every single item on this page. Freaks. We should set the bar at +/- 25% - 30%?

It IS a handy reference tool.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Good Manners is Good Management

I came across this book while reading a Knowledge @ Wharton article/review. I highly recommend reading the article. If you are like me, it will make you run out and buy the book.

The author of the book, Marshall Goldsmith, is a veteran executive coach. He is ranked highly by Forbes and the Wall Street Journal for his work as a coach. His book is a best seller on multiple charts.

This book is elegant in its simplicity. There is no cheese moving here. The K@W review makes a comparison to the Who Moved My Cheese phenomenon. (I remember walking into a staffing agency one day. They were trying to land me as a client. They had a whole area devoted to that book. Banners, inflatable cheese. Sigh.)

As the article says: a certain professional level, neither intelligence nor skill accounts for the fact that some people continue to advance while others plateau. What differentiates the one from the other...has nothing to do with one's abilities, experience and training - and everything to do with behavior.
The focus is on emotional intelligence. It might even be more basic than that. It is about basic etiquette. Miss Manners for corporate executives. Goldsmith lists 20 habits that hold us back from the top. He then dives into methods and techniques for going about how to improve. Goldsmith calls the 20 - "transactional flaws". They are:

1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations - when it matters, when it doesn't, and when it's totally beside the point.

2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.

3. Passing judgement: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.

4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.

5. Starting with "No," "But," or "However": The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, "I'm right. You're wrong."

6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we're smarter than they think we are.

7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.

8. Negativity, or "Let me explain why that won't work": The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren't asked.

9. Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.

10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward.

11. Claiming credit that we don't deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.

12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.

13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.

14. Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.

15. Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we're wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.

16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for our colleagues.

17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.

18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.

19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.

20. An excessive need to be "me": Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they're who we are.

Bonus 21: Goal Obsession: The force at play when we get so wrapped up in achieving our goal that we do it at the expense of a larger mission.
I just went through leadership training at work. This book would have been an excellent take away. The training really focused on the practice of "mindfulness". Being aware of yourself and your environment. Not getting caught up. The book has helped me in a couple of ways - and I expect it to continue to be valuable to me throughout my career.

First, it is helping me be more mindful of how I act and present myself to my teams. Second, it is helping me continue to define what I am looking for out of my "path". Lastly, I find Goldsmith completely compelling. I WANT to change. I WANT to improve myself. I WANT to do better.

I will close with a quote from the K@W article:

The beauty of Goldsmith's approach lies not just in the simplicity of his insights, but also in the clarity of his advice. Because it is our behavior that holds us back, he argues, we can change our future by changing how we act. The key to a better future comes from learning to listen to what others have to tell us about our behavior.
You DID learn everything you need to know in kindergarten. So true. So true.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More on Being a Hammer

From Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist comes another post on being better at self-promotion. She also dives into why it is important to be an expert in whatever it is that you do. Differentiate yourself. Own a niche.

Back in November, she had a great post about taking the risk of specializing. She talked about being a typecast Hollywood actor. Are you the guy in the PG movie that everyone is rooting for to get the girl? Or are you the guy in the rated R movie that no one is quite sure about yet? (Sorry, reminded me of one of my favorite movies.)

I've been debating this subject with myself since October 2005. My friend Harry Joiner from Marketing Headhunter gave me the save advice. Be a hammer. Specialize. I've been slow to adopt. For the longest time I have held on to the idea that I LIKE being a jack of all trades. I LIKE being good (just "good") at a variety of things.

I am starting to see where being the utility infielder is not such a good thing. It is hard to find a roster spot for the utility player. Especially towards the end of the season. If you are going into the playoffs, you will know what your weaknesses are and will trade to bolster them.

I'm in this jack of all trades role now. I don't have a job description. The position on the piece of paper they handed me during the interview process quickly dissolved as the goals of the business rapidly changed. The business had new needs. My manager had different goals and needs. I could fill those. Start up a new call center? You bet. Been there. Done it. I'm your man. Then the business needs shifted again. Need someone that can teach themselves how to run a next-generation switch from Aspect? I'm in. Send me to a training class for a week, give me the manuals and let me at it. Then...manage a telemarketing vendor? Hey! I WAS a telemarketing vendor. I said, I am beginning to understand Harry and Penelope. Be a hammer. Specialize. Make sure people know the ONE THING you are good at - too many options CONFUSE people. They get to a place where they don't know exactly how to fit you - the round peg - into their square box. I'm learning.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Finally Write a Review for Meg's Book - "Confessions of an Introvert"

First off, I have to apologize to Meg. I had promised her MONTHS ago that I would write a review for her book: Confessions of an Introvert: The Shy Girl's Guide to Career, Networking and Getting the Most Out of Life. The funny thing is that I don't know why I didn't write the review. I took NOTES! I had several index cards full of thoughts and referencing quotes.

She asked me last week (oh the shame!) if I could post something to Amazon. I had one of those moments where I just KNEW I had already done it. I looked through the posts here and found a couple of references to Meg and her book. But no actual review.

So click the link above and check it out.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Eight Tips for Perpetual Career Management

Another post from This also come via e-newsletter. The link doesn't capture the piece from the newsletter. Follow the link above and it will take you to the authors' website. In the meantime, they offer some solid advice on managing your personal brand (Thanks Mr. Peters!) Brand management is a full-time gig. It is not something you do when you need to start looking for a new job.

1. Document your accomplishments. You should be doing this ALL OF THE TIME. I tell my direct reports that they need to do this because I am NOT going to remember all of it. And while I do a pretty good job of noting when the kick butt on something, I am human. I don't catch everything. If you want a raise or a new job, show me this document. And use the C-A-R approach. (See my last post.)

2. Google yourself. Figure out what you need to do to boost your profile. It's not easy. (Yes, yes. I should be posting more. I know. But I am also competing with an actor/poet with the same name.)

3. When you are updating your accomplishment document, update your resume and your linkedin profile.

4. (I skipped one) - Work the social networking sites. You need to be on linkedin. If you're not. You're doomed. Unless you are amazingly connected. Talk to people. Don't reach out after you just got booted out the door. Figure out ways to help people in your network. We all need good karma.

5. Join professional associations. Take on leadership roles. See number 4 above.

6. Always be refining. See steps 1 through 5 above.

I know the article listed 8 tips. I pulled the best 6.

Show Me Your C-A-R!

I subscribe to the e-newsletter from The This week they had two stories which i have passed on to friends and thought I should share.

Do You Have a Good CAR?
by Abby Locke provides useful advice on how to present your accomplishments on your resume or LinkedIn profile. She recommends using the C-A-R format. Challenge. Action Steps. Result. Don't just list the result. In order for a hiring manager to take notice you have to help them.

You have to provide context. Growing revenue 15% last year doesn't mean anything. What if the year before revenue was up 60%. That would mean you are a slacker. Go with something like:

Generated 3% revenue increase on a stalled $15mm lead generation program in 2006. Trending to a 19% increase in 2007. Defined processes, improved marketing collateral, and implemented technology improvements to the lead management system.

I am sure the author would have me tighten that up a bit, but it accomplishes what she recommends. It provides context. The lead gen program was stalled in 2005. I achieved a modest bump in 2006 and have really turned on the gas in 2007. (Cross your fingers that the trend holds - which it should.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Focus on the Customer

I know it has been a ridiculous amount of time since I last posted. I will try to do better. I lost focus. I am trying to correct that.

"Focusing on the Customer..." is the latest interview from the McKinsey Quarterly. You need to register to view the article. The piece focuses on Merrill Lynch (where I landed my first job that didn't involve delivering newspapers or replenishing gallon jugs of milk) and their efforts to drive quality of service by combining IT and customer operations.

I like this approach. I like it a lot. I am not a technology zealot. I do not think that technology is the answer to all problems. If anything, I am on the opposite side of that fence. I am not a Luddite, don't get me wrong. But technology can do more harm than good. Especially when the stakeholders put all of their bets on it.

Merrill has combined these two business units under one leader, Diane Schueneman. She seems to have her eyes on the prize...she understands that the customer does not care about whatever product the suits put together. The customer cares about quality of service and the overall customer experience.

So the whole reason to combine technology and operations rests on the customer's needs. And to deliver against those needs requires the best operational processes and the best technology. But you can't start with one and graft on the other.
I've seen this happen many times in my career. The technology investment was so overwhelmingly great at one point that fear of change sets in - no one has the courage to stand up and admit that the best course of action is to stop what we're doing and start over. Instead, we patch. We duct tape. We MacGuyver. We make it work. But is that the best thing for the customer?

Schueneman goes on to identify what her team found:

...if you really want to satisfy customers, let's make sure that human beings aren't touching processes and slowing them down.
I love it. Technology should help. Not be a hindrance. Ponder that for a minute. Maybe a couple of minutes.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Review of 3-D Negotiation Published

I just had my third book review published in The CEO Refresher! I was hoping to be on a more prolific pace. Hopefully in 2007, I will increase my once-per-year pace. I reviewed 3-D Negotiation by David Lax and James Sebenius.

Loved the book. I referred to it as The Art of War for negotiation. I love The Art of War. It is a book that I go back to periodically. I thumb through it. I open to a random page and read. I expect I will be doing the same with 3-D Negotiation.

I have had the opportunity to use some of the approaches detailed in the book. I can attest that they work. It is a "game-changing" approach to negotiation. It takes everything you know about negotiation theory and turns it on its ear. I highly recommend this book if you are involved in buying, selling, trading or bartering anything.