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It gets hot in the Desert…

Great leadership quote for your Sunday! Thanks Tina….

Practical Practice Management

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“Leaders without a plan are just dynamic wanderers” ~ Unknown

10/17/14

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Just loved this blog post today on focusing on recognition for employees. This is an often overlooked, but very important issue to keep employees engaged!

HR Outsider

Recognition Recognition matters!  Survey after survey conducted in the last twenty years has shown the connection between recognition and business results.  Even though most managers know they should recognize the people on their team – they don’t or they don’t nearly often enough.  According to leadership expert Jim Kouzes, about one-third of North American workers say they never are recognized for a job well done while slightly more (44 percent) report that they receive little recognition for a job well done.

Ready to recognize?  Here are some ways to put spark into your recognition efforts.

1. Make it happen in the moment

Perhaps you feel like recognition might mean more at the department meeting?  Or maybe you would like time to get the words just right?  Don’t put it off.  When a person does something that should be recognized, provide appreciation in some form immediately.

Here’s one time when it…

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I really enjoyed this short blog post from Broc Edwards. He makes some very valid points comparing a job and a career. Enjoy!

 

fool (with a plan)

[Today’s flashback is a short piece I originally posted on September 5, 2011. Enjoy!]

I was watching Chris Rock’s “Kill the Messenger” the other night and was really struck by one of his comments. I’m paraphrasing, but he basically said that you know you have a career when there’s never enough time. You look at your watch and it’s already after 5pm so you plan on coming in early the next day. With a job, there’s too much time. You look at your watch and it’s just after 9am and the day stretches out ahead.

Absolutely brilliant! It doesn’t matter if you’re overpaid or underpaid, hourly or salaried, educated or uneducated, or what field you’re in or company you work for: if there’s never enough time to accomplish all that you’re excited about getting done, you have a career; if time is your enemy, you have a job. There’s a lot of…

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Job Search Day 3 – Are You Starting To See Dollar Signs?

Hiring managers can “occasionally” overstate potential compensation packages with a sales role during the interview process. Before you have even started the job, you begin to envision how well you are going to do, even before evaluating if it is an achievable goal. I have taken it so far as envisioning how my life will be if I made that amount of money! Silly, but these thoughts can happen if you start to get ahead of yourself.

The success may well happen early on, but realistically it will take longer, possibly years to get up to that level of compensation consistently. Everyone develops in a role at different speeds, and many factors can come in to play regarding earning potential.

They are always people who thrive and over achieve quickly, but they are in the minority. A good question for the hiring manager in the interview process is,

“What are the realistic total compensation numbers (on average) in the first three years on the job?”

If you have little savings, or limited ability to pay for expenses now, you need to consider what size of salary you take, compared to potential commissions and bonuses.

I got a hard dose of reality with this type of situation in one of the roles that I accepted.

I was given a ball park idea of how the previous rep had done in the territory the year before, and it was a fantastic number! I started to see lots and lots of dollar signs! It definitely blurred my vision.

I was very confident in my abilities by that point in my career, and felt great about the role. There was a small issue that the hiring manager failed to mention. The previous rep negotiated to keep all the large accounts in the territory when he moved to another region. These accounts contributed greatly to the overall compensation.

Not only did the previous rep negotiate to keep many of the high producing accounts, the pay plan changed 4 months after I started, taking a good chunk out of the earning potential that was so desirable when I started the job. Things can change in a heartbeat, and it is best to underestimate what you will earn for the first couple of years, and decide from there if you are still comfortable taking the role.

This is especially CRITICAL when you need money right away and accept a role with 100% commission or a limited base salary.

Job Search Day 2 – Don’t Underestimate A Career Aptitude Test!

Over the years when I was interviewing for sales and sales management roles, it was not uncommon for organizations to conduct career aptitude tests as part of the screening process. Although I never enjoyed doing these test, I quickly realized that most organizations put a decent amount of weight in to the results, so I started to put more thought in to my answers.

In general, the tests would cover these categories:

Leadership

This was more typical when I was applying for sales management roles. High scores in this category would show people who were competitive and could lead others at a high level. On the flip side, a low score would describe people who were less dominant and less assertive. I have seen this line of questioning when applying for outside sales rep positions as well. Employers loved to look for future leaders, and they would typically find them within a pool of candidates applying for outside sales positions.

Emotional

High scores would go to those candidates who were calm and even-tempered. A lower score showed that you had a sense of urgency and tended to be emotionally reactive.

Social

They are testing to see what your level of social interaction is. For a sales role, I think it is obvious that you want to score as high as possible. Being talkative by nature, outgoing, and generally engaging are traits that will give high scores in this category. If you are shy and don’t like engaging in conversations, you may want to look for a different profession!

Interpersonal

They are testing how sensitive and empathetic you are. If you are not sensitive to the needs of others and are not tactful, you will score lower. You will be perceived as more forthright and direct.

Task

How rule abiding and detailed focused are you? If you are conventional and meticulous, you will score high. If you are flexible and improvising, you will score lower.

Conceptual

When I first saw this category, my initial thought was how well could you handle different concepts and be open-minded. I was not too far off. They look to how imaginative and open to change you are. If you score lower, you probably prefer more predictability.

In general career aptitude tests tended to be 20 to 30 minutes in length. They were mostly multiple choice questions. I remember there being anywhere between 100 and 175 questions with these tests over the years. After doing a couple tests, I realized that they tended to ask similar questions many ways to uncover patterns in your answers. My advice is to be as consistent as possible in your responses. If you are stumped on any one question, I would not worry about it too much.

There are no right or wrong answers, but you need to think about the characteristics and qualities that they are looking for in an outside rep.

If you are outgoing, very social, motivated to succeed, and can work under limited supervision – those are probably key attributes that they are looking for.

That will be more desirable to an organization hiring an outside sales person than if you are:

Reserved, somewhat shy, like consistent income and need regular supervision.

As I mentioned above, organizations usually will use the test results as one of several criteria for selecting a candidate. I was hired for a role once, where the company put a lot more weight in the test results than I ever would have, but it worked in my favour!

I was down to one of the last two candidates for a role, and I got the job because I did better on the test. I was very fortunate because we were equally matched candidates.

This process was more difficult than any other test that I had ever taken before. The first test was taken during my first interview, and the second test was taken during my third (and last) interview. I think they both took close to one hour, and had 225+ questions.

Those initial feelings that you get about people in the first interview, and subsequently how they handle other interviews should have as much or more weight than test results, but that is just my opinion. I will save a more detailed commentary for a future blog post!

If I was sick, distracted for some reason, or just not having a good day, I would have missed out on a 7 year career that has changed my life forever. That would have not been fair to me, my family or the company who took the other candidate because they did better on these tests.

Why Hierarchies? The Pizza and Beer Syndrome by Broc Edwards

I have been following Broc Edward’s blog for quite some time, and always enjoy his content. This post on hierarchies caught my attention earlier this week, and I wanted to share it today. His insight on this topic is excellent, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did..

fool (with a plan)

Why do organizations look the way they do? Why are command and control hierarchies so popular? They seem like relics from days gone past. We spend a lot of time complaining about all their sins and proposing alternatives so why don’t we see flatter, collaborative, and self-directed organizations? They should be more adaptable, create more engagement, and be higher performing. Yet we keep perpetuating the command and control hierarchies that we spend so much time railing against. Why do we say we want one thing and make the choices and actions that lead to another?

Good questions and here’s the answer (you might want to write this down): pizza and beer.

No, really. Call it the “Pizza and Beer Syndrome” if you like. We can learn a lot about organizations by looking at human behavior. After all, organizations are a reflection of the philosophies, strategies, and approaches of individuals.

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