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Are Your Recruiters Making These Three Major Mistakes?

By Anand Deshpande, WittyParrot

Are you guilty of committing these three recruiting no-nos?

Best practices for the hiring process have changed dramatically. Failure to acknowledge the evolving job market and adapt to the demands of 21st century job seekers can lead to lost opportunities…and revenue.

Here are three early recruiting mistakes, which may stand between your business and the best and the brightest job applicants.

1. Lack of a Recruitment Strategy

Social media offers an abundance of ways to connect with prospective candidates, but lack of a well-delineated recruiting plan can lead to wasted time and resources. Even when time is of the essence, it pays to stop and establish a “big picture” plan in order to determine strategic recruiting goals as well as targeted tactics for achieving them.

Implementing a recruitment plan is crucial to landing top talent – following are tips to create a recruitment strategy:

  • Understand the position, including everything from key criteria to core competencies to cultural fit. While general posts in non-specific outlets may yield some results, they will also produce a multitude of dead ends. The more specific the job description and recruiter’s understanding of the most desirable candidates, the more refined the results will be
  • Align recruitment goals with corporate goals and initiatives
  • Establish a recruitment process including high-level stages, handovers, descriptions and key deliverables for each process
  • Identify the best channels for recruitment such as employee referrals, available lists/sourcing partners, and most effective social media outlets for sourcing candidates based on actual data
  • Establish ‘Best Practice Resources’ and share with the team

2. Not Selling the Brand

Today’s job seekers, particularly the up and coming generation of millennials, aren’t just looking for any odd job; they’re looking for a shared vision. And in this rapidly moving digital age, job seekers will move on if your brand doesn’t hold their attention.

It’s critical for recruiters to catch — and maintain — a potential applicant’s interest by communicating an attractive, informative, and enticing message. Give candidates a reason to want to connect with your brand and strive to be part of it.

With mindful execution, social media becomes a recruitment and marketing tool for both active and passive candidate recruiting. Here are some tips to help sell your corporate brand to candidates:

  • Leverage existing proof points – share industry awards, videos of current employees, brand and culture messages on the site, and customer success stories describing how your organization has helped them. Have these ready to drop into an email, InMail post or present during a face-to-face meeting
  • Share personal stories that convey your corporate culture and insights about what it’s like to work for your company. These stories can be something that happened to you at work, sharing a story about a colleague who went above and beyond for you, etc. – ensuring your stories accurately reflects your culture and brand
  • Go beyond the requisition, which are often bland. Would you want to work for a company if all you saw was the requisition? Paint a picture of what it would be like working in that role – what the day looks like, what the projects are, and who you’re working with

3. Failure to Focus on the Relationship

Just because a job applicant isn’t the right fit for a particular job doesn’t mean there’s no long-term potential. The best recruiters know that relationship building is an essential part of the hiring process.

For example, failure to return phone calls or provide feedback to candidates during the application process is not only inconsiderate, but can have exponential effects, particularly if that candidate shares a negative experience via social media.

By creating and nurturing social connections, recruiters ensure that candidates are primed and ready should the right opportunity eventually arise. Talent management solutions offer invaluable help in tracking potential employees across an organization and throughout the comprehensive cycle.

So what can recruiters do to build long-term relationships with candidates who may not be a current fit?

  • Be honest. Let candidates know why they didn’t move on in the process, and why the role wasn’t a fit – and let them know promptly
  • Offer advice to the candidate. If you see mistakes or details that raise flags on their LinkedIn profile, let them know. Point them to additional sources for appropriate roles. Helping others comes back to you in spades, just like in most other areas of life
  • Keep in touch. Send an email periodically asking if they have a new role, are still looking, etc. and make note of the answers. If personal emails aren’t a possibility, send a useful article once a quarter as a way to reach out and continue to foster the relationship

It’s a brave new world when it comes to hiring practices, but unprecedented results are within reach for those who stick to winning strategies and avoid these potentially costly mistakes.

About the Guest Author:

Anand Deshpande is on the frontline of customer success at WittyParrot, working directly with clients to ensure smooth onboarding, ramp up and account management. He has an intimate knowledge of WittyParrot as a solution and uses that to help clients in strategy and implementation. Anand is a graduate of Emory University and has been with WittyParrot for over a year. His previous experience includes sustainability and brand consulting for a variety of companies including HRO and Oil and Gas companies. He has a history of working with diverse teams to create solutions to complex issues and enjoys bringing that background to the team.

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Using Mobile Apps to Transform Business Processes

As our need for just-in-time information flourishes, our reliance on traditional technological processes has decreased significantly. The shift from personal computers to mobile devices has picked up now more than ever. It is difficult to determine whether stationary computers will vanish into obscurity; however, there is no doubt that mobile devices are here to stay. Our reliance on these ingenious pieces of technology is overwhelming. Tremendous time and energy are saved through the use of a mobile device, as we can access information anywhere with ease.

The expansion of new types of tasks that are carried out using mobile devices has arrived. Smartphones can solve nearly every need of their users, from providing detailed directions anywhere around the globe to enabling access to the cloud at all times. We take these benefits for granted as the opportunities provided by our devices become more and more integrated into our everyday lives.

The information that we seek is not freely floating on our devices. Mobile applications are the key to the success of these devices, as they provide a gateway to our needs as consumers. Whether it’s the weather forecast, the highest-rated local coffee shop, a traffic report, or a stock market update, it’s an app that provides the answer.

At just over one hundred billion, the number of app downloads around the world to date is astonishing. And this number is expected to grow even further in the coming years.

Although mobile applications are commonplace today, most consumers think “personal use” when they think of apps. We all understand that there is an app for our favorite social media site or a card game app we can kill time with while waiting, but in what other ways can apps be leveraged, and who can benefit from them?

The answer is businesses.

I have seen businesses of nearly every size begin to see the potential behind creating an app for customers. Retailers can now move even further online to adjust their business model to the changing times. Transportation services have created apps that convenience users by helping them navigate routes and times, all while providing pricing. Some financial institutions allow their customers to scan and digitally deposit checks from their smartphones. These applications are beneficial; however, they are far from the only practical mobile business apps.

Mobile applications for business processes are now more prominent when it comes to how businesses run from day to day. Applications created specifically for the operational side of an organization have gained traction. The benefits of employing an app for use on a mobile device to transform a business process begin with the very reason we use apps in the first place: convenience.

For example, instead of handwriting notes on data or inventory while out of the office, an application that allows data to be entered on the spot by typing or talking removes an otherwise lengthy process. That saved time can then be better spent visiting clients and prospective customers, providing convenience in an otherwise tedious operation.

Another example of a mobile app for a business’s internal use is one that facilitates mobile sales. For deals that close quickly or unexpectedly, organizations can have contracts signed electronically, no matter where a meeting may have taken them. Presentations and data can be displayed at a moment’s notice if needed, as well. Data on previous deals made with a customer can be easily accessed while heading to meet with him or her.

Mobile apps can streamline processes, including supply chain, purchasing, distribution, or maintenance processes, so that a business can run as productively as possible. With information available on demand via mobile device from one accessible location, organizations tend to increase productivity and identify areas that need further improvement, which can reduce cost inefficiencies while increasing revenue.

Communication and collaboration are improved through mobile apps for business processes, as employees begin to more clearly understand roles and discuss the discrepancies highlighted by the application. Employees instantaneously become more productive, as time is saved through the assistance that mobile applications provide.

Business applications can be purchased and modified by organizations, or designed from scratch to fit the unique needs of a business. By creating a mobile app tailored to its business, an organization gains a competitive edge from having something unique in its industry. There are dozens of businesses that specialize in creating mobile apps to fit the unique needs of their customers.

The ways in which mobile applications can be used is seemingly endless, and right now, mobile apps for business processes represent a growing Hard Trend that every organization should address, as such apps can streamline internal processes. If productivity and effectiveness are your long-term goals, ask yourself how you can use mobility to improve every business process.

Innovation leads to disruption, not being disrupted. Learn more with my bestselling book The Anticipatory Organization. I have a special offer for you.

Pick up your copy today at www.TheAOBook.com

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Do You Hear What I’m Thinking?

“Delivered succinctly, your thoughts are accurately conveyed. Delivered unsuccinctly, and your message can get lost in a morass of confusion”. -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

How many times do you catch yourself not saying exactly what you’re thinking? You say one thing and the meaning becomes altered by what you emit. Okay, did you catch that? The intent was to state, … by what you omit. Such nuances can leave the receiver of your message confused about its intent. We omit complete thoughts at times because we’re not focused on what we say or write.

The following are two points to consider before communicating with others. They’ll help you communicate more effectively.

Know your environments.

Some people get tongue-tied due to their environment. They experience self-pressure because they want to perform better. That’s usually due to how they think they’ll be perceived versus how they wish it to be. Recognize that something is occurring that makes you feel unsafe in those environments. It may stem from the people in it or the environment itself (i.e. glitzy, downtrodden, etc.).

Prior to your entry, identify how you want to convey your thoughts, what might prevent you from doing so, and what you’ll do to become unstuck if that occurs. Having plans in place to move from one mental environment to another will allow you the mental dexterity to place your mind at ease and focus on the message you want to deliver.

Know your mental peaks.

Everyone has times in the day when they’re more mentally alert. Do you know yours? More importantly, do you know what times are best for the important communications that you’ll have?

When you’re at the ‘top of your game’ note how you got there. Is it something someone says that ignites it? Was it the exercise regimen you engaged in. Was it due to a lack of fatigue? Knowing the answers to these questions and others will allow you to identify when you’ll most likely be at your mental peak. When possible, choose those times to engage in more important communications.

When you communicate, whether in writing or verbal, there’ll be times when you don’t communicate succinctly. The better you become at identifying those times, the more alert you’ll be about their occurrence. That mindfulness should allow you to prepare better for the encounter, which should allow you to communicate better … and everything will be right with the world.

What does this have to do with negotiations? 

Every negotiation involves communications. It’s in the form of what you say and how you say it. Thus, as offers and counteroffers are exchanged, the words used to convey their sentiment impacts the perception of the offer. Therefore, if you don’t represent your thoughts appropriately, you’ll decrease the chance of communicating effectively. That can lead to a hellish negotiation.

In every negotiation, plan what you’ll say and the body language you’ll use when imparting your message (e.g. moving closer when offers are appealing – away when they’re not, hand supporting chin to reflect contemplation, hands pushing away to signal disdain for the offer, etc.). The more aligned your body language is with your message, the more your message will appear believable. Even if your full thought isn’t conveyed, the body language that accompanies it will add an extra dimension to the message.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

 To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

#Communication #Success #Emotion #Business #Progress #SmallBusiness #Negotiation #NegotiatingWithABully #Power #Perception #emotionalcontrol #relationships #HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #ControlEmotions

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Move Your Organization into the Communication Age

For the last several decades, we have been working hard at helping our company become an information age organization, finding new and better ways to distribute and display information. Having 24/7 access to email and web sites via our mobile devices, it’s hard to find any area in an organization that doesn’t provide access to information.

We receive more information than we can keep up with. Between numerous collaborative tools, memberships to multiple informative groups, subscriptions to paid and free information funnels, and being subject to mobile advertising, we’re literally drowning in information.

We must propel our organizations into the communication age to reach the next level of organizational excellence and to solve information overload.

Informing Versus Communicating

Informing is one-way, static, and seldom leads to action, while communicating is two-way, dynamic, and usually leads to action.

Ask yourself, “In our organization, are we better at informing than communicating?” The majority will answer “yes.” If you can’t communicate internally with your staff, how can you communicate to anyone externally? Do not stop informing people; start tapping into true communication. When you focus on maximizing two-way communications, you can create a communication age organization.

Fully embracing the communication age doesn’t erase the information age. You don’t want to erase the past; you want to move forward into the future. The “new” opens more options to innovate and lead. We did great at evolving into information age organizations, so we should move forth into the communication age in a similar fashion.

The Right Tool for the Job

Ironically, we have all these fantastic communication age tools, but we use them in an information age way due to our residual information age mindset. It’s time to learn how to use these tools in a way that advances the organization and promotes both internal and external communications. Here are suggestions that can help move your organization into the communication age.

  • Know and learn how people communicate.

Not everyone communicates in the same way. It’s common for some to not return voicemails but return text messages. Likewise, people in different generations prefer different communication tools. The key is to understand how people like to communicate. People tend to use the communication tool they’re most comfortable with. Also, ask the other party how they prefer to receive communications. If your goal is to elicit some sort of action, you have to communicate in the manner that will allow the other party to respond.

Just as people communicate differently, they also learn and absorb information differently. Some people would rather listen to a book than read it. Knowing this, it is safe to assume that person would likely prefer voicemail over email. A person’s learning style mirrors his or her communicating style. Deliver the message in a way that ties into their learning style.

  • Get social inside the organization.

Social media is all about communicating and informing. Before social media, the internet was solely for informing. Because of this shift to informing and communicating, it has been rapidly embraced by young and old alike. Companies should consider using these communication tools internally. Many social media platforms are great ways to connect employees across departments, regions, and countries. You can even have your own internal version of these popular social media platforms.

Reframing the use of social networking allows companies to increase communication, collaboration, problem solving, and competitive advantage with little cost. These tools are free or nearly free, making them accessible to organizations of any size. Embrace these tools and utilize them to enhance your communication of information that generates action and response.

  • Create community.

Two types of online communities exist: communities of interest and communities of practice. A community of practice is a professional type of community where members share their knowledge and best practices.

A community of interest is an environment where people share similar interests or passions. You can even get granular when it comes to communities of interest to filter information. Perhaps you narrow down your car community to one that only includes people who drive a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

In your organization, you can set up virtual communities of practice in order to get people communicating ideas and sharing knowledge and expand it to diversify communication. For example, establish a community of practice for all the CEOs in your industry, which opens up the communication channels for enhanced dialogue and innovation industrywide.

Embrace the Future Today

These suggestions are aimed at improving communications rather than merely providing more information. You need to ask yourself how your organization can use these tools not only internally but also with your customers to enhance information and add communication.

Using today’s technology in a way that opens a meaningful dialogue will move your people to action and advance the organization to new levels of success.

Ready to see the future and plan with greater confidence?

Pick up a copy of my latest bestselling book The Anticipatory Organization. I’ll pick up the cost of the book if you pick up the cost of FedEx shipping. Go to www.TheAOBook.com to get your copy.

Growth Management Personal Development

Take Pains to Differentiate Fact from Opinion

A lesson in communication and leadership from my new book Ingaging Leadership

We are living in a time when many people express their opinions as if they were facts. Many do it unknowingly, others intentionally. We hear politicians do it. It has also become commonplace on talk radio and television news.

When people speak with any level of passion or conviction, they often speak as if what they are saying is a fact. In reality, much of what people try to pass off as facts are simply opinions. And when people state an opinion as a fact, their audience is prone to believe it to be a fact and react to it in a certain way. Most often, the conversation either ends or never gets to the point of addressing real issues.

You might hear someone in your organization say, for example, “You cannot bring that product to market by early next year because of A, B, and C.” That person is stating opinions as though they were facts and if you disagree, you look like you are calling him or her a liar.

If you cultivate the habit of delineating between fact and opinion during conversations, you become more empowered to move toward real solutions. If you fail to do so, miscommunications usually result. Imagine, for example, that you’re asking for advice about a particular issue, but that you express your opinion of that situation as though it were undisputable truth. In such a case, the advice that you receive will probably not have great merit, because the other person will not base his or her advice on a wider and more comprehensive understanding of what the situation really is.

From the other side of the equation, it is wise to cast a similarly critical eye on the information you receive, by consistently challenging the assumption that what is being said or presented to you is actually fact. To make the most informed decisions, you need to investigate and become as certain as you can that you are considering not opinions, but the reality of what is taking place.

Now, it’s not realistic to think you can do this with absolutely everything that comes across your desk or in every conversation. Time limitations and pressures often will keep you from probing on a deep level into what you are hearing. And you do not need to do so all the time – not when you are dealing with low-priority issues or activities, for example. But you certainly should do it when you are dealing with serious or deep issues. That’s where you’ll want to dig deeper – to look at every angle to get to the real facts.

When you get there, you’ll realize a significant improvement in business. Fact or opinion? You decide.

Communications skills that help differentiate opinions from facts . . .

When you are offering an opinion, precede it with the phrase, “In my opinion.” This differentiates opinions from facts. Perhaps more importantly, it raises the quality of the conversation by inviting people to contribute to your opinion, refute it, or offer productive alternatives of their own.

Ask other people, “Is what you are saying a fact or an opinion?” This strategy, like the one just above, encourages others to be more alert to situations in which they are tempted to offer their opinions as facts.

Point out when other people are presenting opinions as facts. This can be difficult to do because in a way, you are pointing out that those other people might be lying. Plus, it can be unpleasant to challenge other people’s opinions. If someone says, for example, “Your price increases are killing sales,” you should consider exposing that statement by stating that it is an opinion, not a fact. You can then explore that opinion to see if it has validity or is simply an attempt to box you into a corner or limit a productive search for information and solutions. In some cases, you will discover the other person is simply trying to advance his or her own agenda or goals. One good choice of words is to say, “I believe . . .” (“I believe that other factors could be at work too . . . let’s explore some more.”) In a non-confrontational way, those words help you address the reality that another person is expressing an opinion as though it were a fact.

Get into the habit of looking for facts. If someone says, “Your price increases are killing sales,” you can work with that person to arrive at statistics, data, feedback, and facts that either support or refute the opinion. This elevates the quality of your conversation to a level of higher ingagement.

An Experiment for You to Try

Over the next two days, pay attention to times when people state opinions as facts. Watch some commentary shows on television and notice when it’s taking place. Pay attention to your own communication too, and try to make sure that others know when you are stating an opinion. What do these steps tell you about how effectively you and other people in your organization make this important distinction?

About Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company, and principal and founder of Ingage Consulting. He is the host of Training Unleashed podcast, and author of the book Ingaging Leadership. Evan speaks on Seeking Excellence, Better Together, Ingaging Leadership, and Attitude is Everything. To hire Evan as a speaker, visit evanhackelspeaks.com and follow Evan on Twitter @ehackel.

Growth Management Personal Development

9 Ways Leaders Can Prepare Key Players for the Unexpected

What if one of your key players:

  • got a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity and left your organization?
  • was in an accident?
  • had a family emergency and was out for an extended period?
  • God forbid, died suddenly?
  • got sick and was in the hospital?
  • won the lottery and said adios amigos?

This week has been a bit challenging, but nowhere near the catastrophe it could have been. My computer hard drive unexpectedly crashed. Since a majority of my work and business are contained on that hard drive, it truly could have been devastating. Fortunately, though, I was prepared with backups to a local external drive and to an online/cloud service. So, yes, it has been inconvenient, but I didn’t lose data thanks to my backup plans.

This experience got me to thinking about how, as leaders, we need to make sure that we have backups for our people, not just our data. Would you be prepared if some unforeseen event happened?

I know no one wants to think about such things, but as an executive leader, you have a responsibility to ensure that your business operations could continue if some unforeseen event like this happened. Pulling the covers over your head, burying your head in the sand, or sticking your fingers in your ears won’t help you if one of the above events occurs. (I know. I’ve tried.) Author Ryan Holliday says that we should literally engage in negative thinking. For you leaders, that might mean thinking about worst case scenarios so that you can set up contingency plans to deal with the unexpected challenges that might crop up.

Organizing a contingency plan for your people is just good business. While many think that succession planning is just the HR Director putting names in boxes on an organizational chart, it’s actually about thinking ahead and being prepared, and yes, even thinking about the worst case scenario. And BTW, succession planning isn’t just for the CEO. If you’re a leader of a division, department, or a small business, you still need to think about this and be proactive. And repeat after me: It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Steps that you can take to jump-start your succession planning:

1. Start today. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Identifying and prepping someone to step into a leadership role can take some time, but you’ll be so glad you did if the unexpected happens. Just do it.

2. Don’t go it alone.  Get your leadership team, your board, and any other stakeholders involved. You’ll want their input and perspective on this.

3. Discover the skills and strengths of team members. If you’ve never taken the time to do this, the whole process will be beneficial for everyone involved. You may unearth a latent talent or strength that a team member has never put to work for your organization. Ideally, you want to have everyone working in their areas of strength so that they’re making their maximum contribution to the organization and they’ll feel engaged and dialed into their work. (If you’d like some help with this, give me a call. We’ll work with you to determine the best tools to help you tap into the strengths of ALL of your team members.)

4. Identify high potential leaders. Regardless of their current role, look for people who exhibit the characteristics and strengths needed to be successful in the leadership position.

5. Include high potential leaders in strategy discussions. Show him the big picture so that he has context and a broader perspective of the organization.

6. Assess your high potential leaders’ interest, willingness, and enthusiasm for taking the reins one day. No matter how good you think he might be, if he says he never, ever wants to be in a leadership role, you may need to look for someone else.

7. Offer coaching and training to top performers. How will you need to invest in her today, so that she’ll be ready tomorrow? While she may have the technical skills necessary for her current role, she’ll likely need some help with things like communication, delegation, coaching, and performance management.

8. Identify talent gaps. As you go through the process of identifying high-potential leaders within your organization, make note of where you may be lacking talent or skills.  Keep your succession plan in mind when hiring and recruiting and see if you can fill those gaps.

9. Refresh, revise, update. Your succession plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be a living document that you update regularly as people, circumstances, and the business environment change.

Working through this process may open your eyes to the strengths and talents of the folks you’ve already got on your bench. And from my experience, helping your employees to recognize their strengths and putting them to work will cause them to be more engaged and eager to contribute their best.

Succession planning, like backing up the data on your computer, may seem like a task you can put off to another day. I encourage you to view it as insurance against a business-busting catastrophe. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.

For more resources on leadership and employee engagement, be sure to sign up for our monthly Ezine and you will receive our report: “7 of Your Biggest People Problems…Solved.”

You might also like:

Why You Shouldn’t Bother with Strategic Planning Until You First Do This

The One Program Your Organization is Missing

Ten Tactics for Leading Through Tough Times


Growth Management Personal Development

The ONE Program Your Company is Missing

I see young business professionals entering the workforce, and they’ve got all the technical training out the wazoo (now, that’s a technical term for ya!) and often they’ve got degrees to the point that it looks like alphabet soup behind their names, but they are far from having what it takes to be successful in today’s work environment.

They really need a guiding hand, tips, strategies, and techniques for how to APPLY their training and education in the real world of their job. What they need in short, mon ami, is mentoring.

“What exactly is a mentor?”

A mentor is someone who commands a certain degree of respect, either by virtue of holding a higher-level position, or because of experience doing the job. Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentoree, mentee, or protégé) in developing skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional growth. A mentor takes a special interest in a person, and in teaching that person skills and attitudes to help him succeed. Think Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-San from the movie The Kirate Kid

A term that you often hear in Cajun country is comme ca`, which translates literally to “like this/like that”. As a kid when a parent or grandparent was teaching us something, they would say, “Comme ca” as they demonstrated the task. In a similar way, a mentor is someone that a less experienced employee can go to and ask questions, have a task demonstrated, and generally bounce around ideas.

Companies who are on the right track are creating structured mentoring programs to help less experienced team members get acclimated quickly and start progression in their career.

Here is what you are missing out on if you don’t have a mentoring program:

1. Orienting the new employee to the organization’s culture. Knowing the culture is almost as important as doing the job well. Job satisfaction comes not only from good performance evaluations but also from feeling that she fits in, has friends at work and can be herself.

2. Talent Development. A mentor can help the new employee learn the skills particular to this position, apply their education or training on the job, and most importantly, develop the confidence to perform the job well.

3. Knowledge sharingWith baby boomers retiring at record rates today, organizations are suffering major “brain drain” as retirees take all of their knowledge, experience, and wisdom with them as they head for Margaritaville. Mentoring partnerships offer opportunities for knowledge sharing and tapping into knowledge capital within the organization.

When I took one of my first real “big girl” jobs, I was so fortunate to have an executive leader take me under her wing. Her advice and counsel were invaluable to me. Whether or not your organization has a mentoring program, you can become a mentor.

Suggest the creation of a mentoring program within your organization. If that doesn’t fly, there’s nothing to prevent you from taking on a protégé on your own in an informal capacity. Sure, I know you’re busy, but just think how much knowledge you have and how much you could help an uncertain, insecure young team member find his way in the wild world of your organization!

How to be an effective informal mentor:

  • Be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage. Remain on the sidelines and let her make her own mistakes. Just be there to help her up after she falls. Provide guidance and suggestions when asked, but don’t take it personally if she doesn’t go with your suggestions.


  • Give generously.  Just like Zig Ziglar said, “You can have anything you want if you just help others get what they want.” If you give unselfishly of your time and knowledge, you will get so much back in return! Besides, the lagniappe (added bonus) that you get is that you become known as the trusted go-to guy/gal, which only increases your value within the organization.


  • Been there, done that? Share insider secrets. With your experience, surely you’ve made some mistakes in your day. Share with your mentee any landmines – and shortcuts – that you may have discovered along the way.

Mentors are good for the mentee, good for the mentor, and absolutely good for the organization. If you were fortunate and blessed to have someone who took you under their wing, the best way you can honor that person is by taking a mentee under your wing. Don’t pay them back, but rather, pay it forward.

Comment below:

What great experiences have you had with a mentor?

Who is in your life that could learn from you?

Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.

For more resources on leadership and employee engagement, be sure to sign up for our monthly Ezine and you will receive our report: “7 of Your Biggest People Problems…Solved.”

You might also like:

Why You Shouldn’t Bother with Strategic Planning Until You First Do This

For Leadership Success – Give Your Power Away

Ten Tactics for Leading Through Tough Times


Growth Management Personal Development

Executive Leaders Should Put Down the Policy Handbook

So many business professionals and executive leaders think we need to have hard and fast rules applied across the board for every situation. Maybe it’s a backlash to the anti-discrimination laws, political correctness, or just fear of ticking someone off. What really slays me is when leaders, in their zeal to be consistent or “fair,” disregard the spirit of the rule or policy and completely forget the bigger picture. A truly effective leader is able to keep things in perspective.

As a “Recovering HR Director,” it always bothers me when leaders want to “legislate” their way out of having to make decisions. They want to create a rule for every occasion, every potential situation, and all circumstances. Each time there is an issue to be addressed, it’s simply stated and defined in the policy handbook and then filed away. The problem is, there are no identical situations. Just as there are no identical candidates for a job, there are no mirror image situations where a rule, policy, or procedure can absolutely be applied. Sure, there will be similar situations, where a guideline can easily be applied.

There will always be exceptions to every rule. And then, judgment, discretion, and yes, discrimination are required of the leader. If not, we wouldn’t need leaders. We could just create a system to apply and enforce rules, let the organization run on autopilot, and save money on those high-dollar salaries! By definition, executive leaders must be willing and able to make decisions. There will always be situations where discretion and judgment are necessary.

Rules alone will not suffice.

Make effective decisions using these tips:

1. Stop right there! Don’t react to a situation, but think about the big picture. Before reaching for the rubber stamp or just enforcing a policy, consider the spirit of the policy as well as the intent and context when the policy was created.

2. Take the time to research any similar situations and how they were handled. Compare those situations to this one, noting any unique conditions.

3. Analyze the situation from all angles and get input from appropriate individuals. Be prepared to take input into consideration, but make the final decision based on all factors.

4. Play the role of Joe Friday (of Dragnet fame), and get the facts. Ask open-ended questions to get the full picture. Open-ended questions typically require more than a one-word response, and therefore elicit more information. Find out what mitigating circumstances may be involved, if any.

5. Put on your “big boy drawers/big girl panties” and just do it! Make your decision and stand by it.

Share your thoughts on executive leadership decision-making and workplace policies. What tips would you add to this list?

What are some of the decision-making strategies that have worked for you?

For more resources on leadership and employee engagement, be sure to sign up for our monthly Ezine and you will receive our report: “7 of Your Biggest People Problems…Solved.”

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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.


Growth Management Personal Development

What Executive Leaders Should Do During TOUGH Times

Many people are dealing with what can seem like insurmountable challenges right now – maybe you’re dealing with the aftermath of floods/wildfires/hurricanes/tornadoes/(insert your natural disaster here), economic woes, layoffs, or extreme budget cuts. Your team may just flat out not be getting along or working together productively.

While I wouldn’t say that being an effective executive leader is ever easy, I think we’d agree that serving as the top dog during prosperous times is a whole lot more fun than leading during tough times. Being a true senior leader is all about being able to rise to the occasion during those challenging times.

Don’t forget that in uncertain times, you are not the only one who’s stressed. Your team members likely have a tremendous amount of anxiety and as those negative emotions run high, they may vent their frustrations at a co-worker or colleague. As the stress continues, often fatigue and hopelessness set in.

Sorry to be such a “Betty Buzzkill,” but I do offer some remedies.  If you’re on the struggle bus, here are a few tips for dealing with the aforementioned adversity – and/or for anytime you want to be a better leader or just a decent human being.

1. Lighten up. Go see a funny movie or watch a sitcom, serve pizza or po’boys at lunch. Make sure that you take time for yourself to have fun, relax, and recharge your batteries. See my last blog on this one.

2. Be kind and compassionate. Obviously. Everyone is fighting battles that we know nothing about. Use empathy and put yourself in her shoes.

3. Communicate early and often. Now is not the time to hunker down in your office/bunker. Share information, be accessible to your people, and listen to the concerns of your team members.

4. Show interest and concern for each team member. Ask how his family is doing, what challenges he’s facing, and what specific help he needs. Everyone wants to feel empowered and in control. Focus on what action he can take and help him to identify appropriate ways of dealing with the challenges.

5. Be as transparent as possible. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit that you don’t know. When you have less than positive news/developments to share, do so directly and with respect for how it will impact members of your team.

6. Get scrappy. This is the time to search for more innovative solutions. Get your team involved and tap into their creativity. Get them talking and brainstorming. This is a great way to get and keep them engaged, too. See my previous blog post, Make Your Meetings Meaningful.

7. Exercise. To burn off stress – and all those beignets you ate because you were stressed out. The endorphins will do you a world of good. Encourage your team members to do the same. Why not have a walking meeting?

8. Get enough sleep. Easier said than done, I know. But hopefully, all that exercise will make you tired so you’ll sleep like a baby. Nobody wants to deal with a cranky, sleep-deprived leader during tough times.

9. Spend time with family and friends – but not if they’re the ones causing you stress! Make it a point to be around people who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. Rather than join the “ain’t it awful club,” surround yourself with positive people who are prone to taking action rather than sitting around whining about the situation.

10. Appreciate and thank others for their efforts. Make a commitment to thank or recognize someone (or three or five someones) each day before your head hits the pillow. I know you’ve heard about the research that indicates that gratitude is a powerful antidote to feeling “meh.” So do it.

Of course there are mornings that you wish you were Don Draper from Madmen so you could pour yourself a drink at 9:00 AM, but sadly, my friend, that would likely only make matters worse. Hopefully, these tips will help you to see these tough times as an opportunity to become a stronger, more effective leader.

Remember that as a leader, you are being watched! You are the role model, the example that others will follow. If you are determined and focused on the positive, likely your team will follow your lead.


  • How do you keep your team engaged during tough times?
  • What actions would you add to this list?
  • Post a comment below and share your experiences with our community.

For more resources on leadership and employee engagement, be sure to sign up for our monthly Ezine and you will receive our report: “7 of Your Biggest People Problems…Solved.”

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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.


Growth Management Personal Development

Leaders: Here is Why You Need to LIGHTEN UP

It’s no wonder that stress is at an all-time high. If the 24-hour news cycle isn’t bad enough, on the job we have to deal with downsizing, upsizing, rightsizing, mergers, acquisitions, buyouts, corporate scandals, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention, you and your team members may be facing personal issues, family issues, team conflicts, mid-life crises, work crises, the list goes on!

In our culture, if we don’t feel fantastic, we just pop a pill…  anti-depressants, sleep aids, pain meds, heartburn relief, diet pills, well, you get the picture. Pharmaceutical companies thrive on this negativity.

Sorry for being such a “Debbie Downer” — but I would like to suggest a different approach.

Here is the big idea: lighten up! Now, I know what you’re thinking — “Yeah, but Jen, you don’t know how serious my job/business/position/problem is!”
Well, I’m not suggesting goofing off all day, playing practical jokes on your co-workers, or making fun at someone else’s expense. What I am advocating is working hard, doing a good job, and enjoying yourself along the way. (Radical idea, I know.)

When you incorporate humor, fun, and celebration with your team members you may:

  • Improve customer service
  • Build trust & relationships
  • Strengthen teamwork
  • Reduce stress & conflict
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve employee retention rates
  • Boost morale
  • Increase sales
  • Improve communication
  • Improve employee engagement

Take your job seriously and take yourself lightly.

Your work may not need to be as serious as you’re making it and you may not need to be such a party pooper.

What’s that? You say that the nature of your work is too serious to bring in any kind of fun? Well, I say that’s all the more reason you NEED to bring in fun. I know folks who work in healthcare settings where they are treating cancer patients and terminally ill children. Now that can be pretty grim and depressing work — if you don’t provide opportunities to lighten things up. Their patients don’t need caregivers who are grim and depressed. Rather, they need to be around people who are upbeat and positive.

Take a tip from the Southern Louisianians. They typically need no excuse for a party. Mardi Gras, for example, provides a time for everyone to come together, forget their differences, and celebrate with a certain abandon and “joie de vivre.” Everyone you meet is festive and happy to share in the celebration, hence the common expression, laissez les bons temps roulez! (Let the good times roll.)

Leaders, YOU create the work environment.

You set the tone for what is and is not acceptable.  Why not create an environment of laissez les bons temps roulez year round? Why not create an environment where people want to come to work?

Give a booster shot to your fatigued, overworked, apathetic, unappreciative, cynical team members without spending a lot of green.

Take these tips to LIGHTEN UP your work environment:

  1. Have a Superbowl football pool
  2. Put together a competitive team of some kind — sports, trivia, etc.
  3. Have po-boys or pizza delivered for lunch
  4. Conduct a weekly drawing for prizes
  5. Give out fun awards when you “catch someone doing good,” or playful awards for doing something silly or embarrassing
  6. Hold friendly contests, (maybe riff off of one of the popular reality TV shows), with proceeds going to a charitable cause
  7. If appropriate you may even have themed dress up or dress-down days
  8. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones

Those are just a few things you can do to introduce some lightheartedness into your work environment. Have some fun! Mais cher, laissez les bon temps roulez!

This week: What are you doing to bring a spirit of fun and lightheartedness into your organization?

Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problem

For more resources on leadership and employee engagement, be sure to sign up for our monthly Ezine and you will receive our report: “7 of Your Biggest People Problems…Solved.”

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