Archive: April 2011


Mr. Big, Gigantic Job!

April 27th, 2011


Hello, I am Mr. Big, Gigantic Job. I lack definition but certainly not meaning or impact. I am not a number unlike the little, tiny job. I can be whatever I need and want to be. I am fast-paced, hands on and thrive on change. Being flexible, adaptable and receptive to customers’ input can do that to you.
 
I drive the economy. I am created at a ratio of two to one compared to my friend, the little, tiny job. I am sought after for my depth and breadth. I live to evolve, learn and get more done! I am constantly challenged and a bit overworked but I love what I do because I do meaningful work and have real impact. I interact with customers and collaborate with colleagues. I have a sense of how my company adds value in the marketplace and makes money. And I can see the value I create and how it affects the big picture.
 
A pin from an employee empowering campaign at Placers, where I started off my career in the staffing industry. I am great for careers. If you are like me, you get exposure and experience at an accelerated pace compared to most work environments. You can try new things and work on teams where you learn from others and teach them too. I grow and improve as I learn more each day. I am proof that your title and chair do not need to change to get more experience, responsibility, new challenge or even a pay increase! For me, the rewards and recognition come in many forms. Most importantly, I am empowered. I am my company. I would not have it any other way.
 
But there are risks right? Sure, about the same as the little, tiny job. You and you alone are responsible for your career at this point. Gone are the days where the little, tiny job starts in the mail room and goes thirty years and gets the gold watch. All businesses succeed and fail, so you must build your assets! Today, you must move laterally and focus on learning and knowledge. That is what I am all about!
 
Who am I? I am a job in an entrepreneurial company. I exist in thousands of fast growth business’s throughout the marketplace. Yes, I can be unstructured but the facts don’t lie. I can grow people. And I provide opportunities in spades. I am the Big, Gigantic Job.
 
Thanks for letting us have some fun and I hope you enjoyed our short stories! CBI Group is one of those companies with Gigantic Jobs! In your company, do you have tiny little jobs or big gigantic jobs?
 

Leadership is a Race.

April 20th, 2011

Over the years I have become an avid planner. I was taught to plan every Sunday evening with a focus on three groups: employees, customers and everything else.
 
My schedule usually included several critical staff meetings, which would most likely require further work than my schedule might allow. There were key prospect and customer meetings too — meetings that always seem to have a profound impact on an entrepreneurial company because of the unknown needs that arise. Each week also included one-on-one coaching meetings with employees, phone calls to make and processing all the little things that it takes to run a business. On any given week there may be a big speech for an association or industry event. In other words, every Sunday I would neatly fit in “everything” I needed to do into my week plan and felt the same way everytime — that leadership is a race.
 
raceThe week plan rarely left room for precious “down time” to work on anything that might crop up, or even just to take a deep breath. I challenge you to find me a leader who never has anything “pop up” during the day, whether it be good or bad. We all know the familiar knock on the door, followed up with “do you just have a minute?”. With neatly planned weeks paired with impromptu, yet important knocks on the door, leadership becomes a series of races, both big and small.
 
Sometimes the week is a blistering 50 yard dash, like the week I described. Other times the race is a bit longer and leadership becomes a test of short term speed and long range endurance. This happens to me when times are pretty good and also when things don’t seem to go our way. I frequently wonder about the implications of a schedule like this, beyond exhaustion that is.
 
What I have learned is that leaders set the pace. When I am on hyper-drive, so is my company and the staff around me. While it may be counter-intuitive to slow things down to “win” the race, there is something to be said for thinking time. Slowing down to work on critical issues and challenges in the business, to lead in the moment is beneficial. People notice. Staff, customers, friends and family notice.
 
Are you running a 50 yard dash this week? An extended leadership race? Have you taken the time to train? I plan to pace my leadership “training” and hope to enjoy the race a little this time.
 
Looking for The Story of the Big, Gigantic Job? Check back next Wednesday.
 

The story of the little tiny job

April 13th, 2011

Hi, I am the little tiny job. I exist everywhere; in the largest of companies, in most departments and in every industry. Corporate managers seem to love me, while entrepreneurial leaders tend to avoid me. I am the little tiny job.
 
What makes me tiny? Well, I do one very tiny thing, one small cog in the wheel of the biggest kind of machine. I do this one very tiny thing over and over again. And you know what? I don’t even know why I exist. Why do I, the little tiny job, matter? I do not know what my big, gigantic company makes or does. And I know nothing of the role I play in the story of our big business.
 
But you know what else? I like it that way. My head is down. My work is comfortable, if not a little simple. And the best part is, I never have to think. I don’t get to. When I talk with a customer and they complain — I could probably fix their problem. But that is not encouraged. There are lots of rules and policies about all of that, probably because I am just the little tiny job.
 
There are perks that come with this job though. I give all the perception of security and upward mobility. There are plenty of places for me to grow into a little job or even a small one. But alas I am a number. A tiny gear in a really, really big machine. And I am far, far away from being the “the big, gigantic job”.
 
What is the story of the big, gigantic job? Tune in next week to find out why entrepreneurial types prefer Mr. big, gigantic job to me, the little, tiny job.
 

Wait, how do I hire?

April 6th, 2011

In talking with our customers and prospects, it has become all too common to hear the phrase, “My company has forgotten how to hire.” The economic meltdown impacted hiring in some interesting ways. Of course it slowed it down or, in many cases, stopped altogether. Things became easier for employers due to the increase in job-seekers with limited choices, who were often willing to work for less. Now that times are improving, there is a very new reality; organizations have generally lost the organizational competency it takes to hire, even for “normal” hiring volumes.
 
One of our large customers had moved all of their recruitment staff into other projects and few wanted to return to recruiting. A small business customer was ready to hire sales staff again and their management team needed several sessions to get reacquainted with their hiring process. Companies are still cautious, yet ready to hire when necessary. Businesses are once again launching new products, which requires new staff. Positions that were downsized are now being replaced and companies need new talent. The why is somewhat obvious; the point is companies are hiring again and have forgotten how.
 
I’d like to help. If you are responsible for hiring again, consider the following:
 
Hiring challenges are systemic.
Human Resources has their hands full and their problems will take time to fix. Applicant tracking systems sit unused. Hiring managers don’t remember how to interview and forget to debrief afterwards. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, so take the time to remember how they connect.
 
How much is enough for now?
Workforce planning is a strategic competency that many firms struggled with even when they had the resources to hire fast. Hiring needs have changed primarily because leaders don’t know how long they will need to sustain a certain hiring output. Today there are so many good options to get the hiring done. Temp firms, recruitment outsourcing firms, research and recruitment companies exist to augment and complement a strong strategic recruitment game plan.
 
Hiring is a true team sport.
Hiring managers and Human Resources staff must work together, know each others’ role and understand both the process and the possible outcomes. Attracting talent and evaluating talent are done at the same time, sort of like slow dancing and fast dancing simultaneously. This is hard to do! Making hiring an organizational strength takes real time – just like any team sport.
 
Keep it simple.
There is a tendency to over-engineer your recruitment strategy because you have been given the chance to start over! Don’t. This is the time for simplicity, teamwork and education across the business. Be careful about adding too much too soon to your process!
 
I don’t have enough volume yet.
Business is now hiring. Energy is building and the pace is quickening. Yet most find themselves in-between sizes. There is not enough hiring volume to justify additional recruitment staff. Or hiring needs are difficult skill sets that are beyond the level in volume and difficulty of the current recruitment team. Now is the time to build flexibility and scalability into your model.
 
If you can relate to any of these issues, know you’re not alone. Hiring the right people isn’t simply matching a resume to a job description. People matters will never be that black & white. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help.
 

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