Archive for the ‘Management’ category

4 Secrets for Getting Your Employees to Run Through Brick Walls for You (Written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

February 11, 2011

One of the reasons I set a number of sales records during my tenure in the NBA was because I was extremely motivated.  Part of my success was because I loved my job and because I’ve always been driven to be my best.  However, my motivation and my subsequent performance was fueled further because of how I was managed.  Here are 4 secrets I learned from my time in the NBA on how to enhance the performance of your employees:

  1. Hire the right people.  As Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great, the best companies in the world became “great” because they hired people based on personality attributes and inherent abilities rather than learned knowledge or skills.  You also need to hire people who really buy into the mission of your organization.  Pride in your employer is a prerequisite for peak performance at work.
  2. Give employees clear, achievable goals.  When I worked in sales for the Wizards, we had very quantifiable, achievable goals for every month of the year and for the entire season.  We all knew exactly what was expected of us and how our performance was being measured.  Our VP even had a huge board outside of his office that was updated daily to list everyone’s sales number for the year.  Even if you don’t work in a sales environment, you need to quantify your expectations for all of your employees.
  3. Offer compelling performance-based incentives. Wizards’ management offered enticing rewards for hitting our monthly and annual goals, including financial bonuses and all sorts of other cool prizes.  Management would also throw in an occasional daily or weekly sales contest to ramp up excitement even further.  During my time with the team, my performance won me Courtside tickets to games, a trip on the team plane to an away game in Atlanta, a free lunch with the GM, and some sizeable financial payouts.  While your organization might not be able to offer the perks that an NBA franchise could, you don’t need to!  Free food and small prizes will work just fine. 
  4. Recognize employee performance and effort.  No matter what anyone says, we all like to be appreciated and recognized in front of our peers in a positive way.  When I worked for the Wizards, I always said I didn’t like recognition.  Guess what?  I was lying!  I LOVED collecting monthly and annual Salesperson of The Year Awards at staff meetings.  Everyone wants to be appreciated and held in high regard.  Recognize performance AND effort for your employees every chance you get.  

In summary, the first step is to get the right people on your team.  Then, keep your employees motivated with clear, reasonable goals, exciting incentives for surpassing those goals, and genuine appreciation based on performance and effort.  Do these 4 things, and your employees will run through brick walls for you, and your organization’s performance will skyrocket no matter what is going on with the economy.

Like this post or got something to add?  Please comment below!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

Pete@IdealizeNow.com

www.IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. To learn more about my 1-on-1 career coaching programs or my speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please visit www.IdealizeNow.com or send an email to Pete@IdealizeNow.com.

7.5 Dirty Little Secrets For Using References To Get Your Dream Job (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

January 24, 2011

In one of my favorite books of all-time, Influence by Robert Cialdini, PhD, the author talks about the principle of social proof, which states that people often look to the opinions of others to form their own conclusions. 

This has strong applications for job searches, as hiring persons are definitely influenced by the opinions of others when thinking about who to hire.

Here are 7.5 dirty little secrets for using references strategically in order to get your dream job:

  1. Use references who LOVE you.  Sounds obvious, right?  Well, I haven’t always done this, and you probably haven’t either.  When I was in high school, we learned from one of the colleges that rejected me that one of my letters of recommendation had been a red flag and a factor in the rejection.  (Don’t ask me how my Dad figured this out!)  Apparently, my history professor wrote a paltry, 2-sentence letter on my behalf.  We were surprised at his actions, but I should have known better.  I had asked him for a letter because he was a brilliant writer, and I thought he would write a really good letter; he had not been one of my biggest advocates.  Big mistake. 
  2. Use references who are reliable.  I once asked a former boss to serve as a reference.  This guy was a big fan of mine, so I figured he’d be a great reference.  However, the letter he gave me to submit had several typos and did not even include a standard header.  It looked terrible!  Luckily, I saw the letter before it went out.  I should not have been surprised.  He was one of the most disorganized people I knew.  Make sure your references have their act together.  If they aren’t normally reliable and thorough, they won’t suddenly become reliable and thorough when communicating with people on your behalf.  If your references look bad, you will look bad.  The opposite is also true…
  3.  Use references who look like and/or know the people you want to impress. For example, if you are applying for a marketing job where you will report to a Director of Marketing, it would be much more impressive if you have several recommendations from people they know or from other marketing executives.  A recommendation from your history professor won’t hold as much weight.  Now, if you are starting your career or making a career change, this is not always possible, but try to use people who know and/or look like the people you are trying to impress.  We are much more easily influenced by people we know or by people who look like we do.
  4. Tell your references what to say/write about you.  This might sound sneaky or conniving, but most people have absolutely no idea what to write or say in a testimonial or letter of recommendation.  As a result, most testimonials are the worthless, generic kind, like “John is a great guy.  I highly recommend him.”  Here’s a confession for you.  Most of the best testimonials I have ever gotten are testimonials I have written myself and gotten permission to attribute to another person (with their permission).  Many people actually thank me and tell me that even though they are more than happy to endorse me, they would have had no idea what to say.  Use your judgment on this one.  Some people are more comfortable with this than others.
  5. Tell your references what to say if/when asked about your weaknesses.  Last year, one of my former colleagues asked me to serve as a reference for him.  Given the work that I do, and since I am very thorough, I thought about how to respond if a hiring person asked me what my colleague’s greatest weakness was.  Guess what the FIRST question was that I was asked when his future boss called me?!  Luckily, I had a well-constructed comeback planned, which I conveniently sandwiched between a discussion of my colleague’s strengths.  (Thank you…I know I’m good!)  The chances of your references thinking about that in advance are close to zero.  It’s your responsibility to prep them on what to say when asked about your deficiencies.  If you don’t, they might step on a land-mine for you.
  6. Let your references know what to expect.  Ask if you can use them as a reference before doing so (many people don’t do this!), and give them a heads-up on how their testimonial will be used, who might contact them, and so on.
  7. Get testimonials from your references on social media sites.  Employers check these sites when considering you for a job, and social media sites rank high when someone “googles” you.  You can also “re-purpose” a testimonial posted on a social media site.  For example, by filming a video testimonial and posting it on You-Tube, or by getting a recommendation on LinkedIn, you can then take part or all of the testimonial and use it again somewhere else (i.e. as 1-2 sentences in a cover letter or as part of a 1-page testimonial sheet).

7.5   Take care of your references.  When people put their reputation on the line by serving as recommendations, you owe it to them to make them look good.  You must also send a thank you note and try to return the favor by helping them somehow.   Also keep them posted on their progress; they want to know if they were involved in helping you get your dream job!

In summary, one of the best ways to get your dream job is to influence the hiring decision-maker with strategic testimonials and references.  When you get the right people to brag on your behalf in the right way, you won’t have to do as much of the bragging yourself…

Like this post or got something to add?  Please comment below!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

Pete@IdealizeNow.com

www.IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. To learn more about my programs and availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour (or for individual career coaching), please send an email to Pete@IdealizeNow.com.

The #1 Way to Deal With a Difficult Colleague (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

June 17, 2010

No matter where you work, it is virtually guaranteed that you will have to deal with difficult people.  Here is the #1 way to deal with a difficult colleague…

I once worked with a man named “John.”  (Note: that was not his real name.)  No one in the office liked him because of his negative, abrasive attitude, and when I met him for the first time, it was pretty clear how he had developed his reputation.  Not only was he unfriendly, he was actually rude.  He NEVER smiled, and everything about his body language and communication was a turn-off.  As a result, I tried to keep my interactions with him as brief and infrequent as possible.

Let’s fast-forward 2 months from my first interaction with him.  I was sitting in a meeting with John and several of my colleagues, and we were “pitching” an idea for a group from a local company.

 John had played a large role in what we were presenting, and our project manager noted his contribution in front of everyone.  The leader of the group from the other company loved John’s ideas, and he looked right at John and told him in front of the entire room that he was “absolutely brilliant.”

I will ALWAYS remember what I saw next.  It looked as if John went through instantaneous plastic surgery.  Several wrinkles in his face evaporated, the usual redness in his cheeks disappeared, and he flashed a smile (the first one I had ever seen from him) that could have gotten him a modeling gig for Colgate toothpaste. 

John was not a bad person.  He just needed some genuine appreciation!  He had gotten caught up in the vicious cycle of poor confidence leading to a poor attitude leading to poor relationships with other people leading to even poorer confidence.

Do you want to have a more pleasant relationship with a difficult colleague?  Then, find a way to give that person some genuine encouragement.  Chances are you’ll be the only one willing to try that approach, and you may just be the spark he/she needs to start living a more enjoyable, confident life…

-Pete Leibman

College Speaker and President of Idealize Enterprises

Pete@IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

www.IdealizeNow.com