Monday, February 23, 2009

When Times Get Tough, the Tough Keep Going

“Certainly times are tough, but we recognize that employee development needs to continue.”

This quote, from a February 9, 2009, article in The Wall Street Journal, was spoken by David Metzger, Director of Management Development at Canon USA.

I congratulate Mr. Metzger and Canon USA for thinking “big picture.” As long as a business is still in business, the need for effective leadership is critical -- even more critical in difficult times.

A big part of leadership is communication. After all, you could be a brilliant strategic thinker, and may make great decisions, but if you can’t influence others, how can the decisions or strategy be implemented?

If you can’t communicate effectively, the rest of these attributes rarely matter.

Even if your company has cut back on training, it is no excuse for individuals to do the same.

Keep learning new techniques and strategies. At some point, this recession will end, and you will be well ahead of the game!

One avenue to consider -- my next BRODY BOOST Camp, April 2, 2009.

Click here for more information on this day-long open enrollment career development workshop.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Post-Layoff Action Plan: Pick Up & Move On

I’ve been fielding many inquiries of late from members of the media – all related to stories they are doing about our business climate of increased job loss and a horrific economy – and how those who weren’t laid off can cope with the guilt of “survival.”

This week, a magazine asked me how I’d respond to this scenario: Someone calls. Mid-level executive. He's been laid off. What are the first three things you say?

Here’s my reply:

The number one thing I’d ask him is why would anyone hire him? In other words, what does he bring to the table?

The next thing I’d find out is if he has identified his skill set, his passion, and his overall objectives for any future jobs.

Lastly, I would discuss his network – can he go back to his internal, professional and/or community network, to make contact with people in these areas and tap into his connections?

Unfortunately, too often, people wait until something happens before they realize the power of building networks.

Another question the writer posed concerned the psychological effects of being laid off in a poor economy. She wanted to know whether it makes it better or worse, psychologically, if there seems to be a sense that “everyone” is getting fired.

I believe that the old adage that misery loves company doesn’t hold water. It’s one thing when everyone else is being laid off. It’s quite another when it happens to you.

Many people take it personally and go through a period of mourning and anger. Most people are scared. Depending on their financial situation, they might go into crisis mode.

This is not a time to feel sorry for yourself, although a weekend of self-pity and reflection doesn’t hurt. Then, get moving!

It is time to assess your skill set, your network, your possibilities, and then have a focused -- yet flexible -- approach to landing another position.

Being laid off can affect one’s self esteem, family relationships, financial security, and lead to “victimitis” -- feelings of having no control.

You may need to reassess your options, possibly moving, return to school, consider new certifications, starting your own business, and looking at interim or part-time positions.

Therapy is also an option if you have the insurance and/or money to do it. The worse thing that you can do is nothing.

You can combat a layoff’s effects by doing something – taking action.

I’m referring to attending networking events, job fairs, registering on career web sites, reading and responding to want ads, volunteering, contacting your own network, exercising, eating well, and renting some funny movies.

Attending a professional development seminar is a good way to meet people, get some career-related coaching and techniques for moving forward.

You may want to consider attending BRODY’s BOOST Camp.

Keep in mind, successful people look for ways to get better.

Sometimes, a setback is an opportunity to switch direction. Life must go on!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Power of Persuasion & Thoughts RE the Passing of Stimulus Package

The power of persuasion.

It’s all about how you look at things.

Aristotle said that all speaking is persuasive speaking. Ultimately, the goal is to sell ourselves and our ideas.

This past week, it has been interesting to listen to the use of persuasion by our elected -- and appointed -- government officials.

The topic was the stimulus package.

Of course, President Obama wanted to get more (or at least some) Republican support. He wanted it to be a bipartisan package. But, his eloquent powers of persuasion didn’t work this time.

Persuasion is only possible when people hearing a message are open enough to take in the new information. If the mind is closed, there is no chance for this.

Unfortunately, we have close-minded people on both sides of the fence.

Going back to Aristotle, he suggested that there are 3 “modes of proof” – ways of getting buy-in from audience members.

The reality is that speakers need all three of these to succeed, which didn’t happen in the case of discussion concerning the stimulus package. The 3 modes of proof are:

1) Logos – information that hits the head, or logical evidence. Unfortunately, so-called facts and figures can be manipulated/slanted to say whatever the speaker wants.

2) Pathos – emotion, hitting the heart. Clearly, in the case of the stimulus package, the fear over the economy has been used to create a sense of urgency. However, if the desired audience doesn’t buy into whatever emotion is used (i.e. fear), it does no good.

3) Ethos – your personal credibility.
Depending on your perspective and political party, the ethos is either working for or against President Obama.

So, where does that leave us – the American public? Unfortunately, between a rock and a hard place.

Speaking of persuasion, persuasive speaking is one of several communication topics that participants of the next BRODY BOOST Camp on April 2 will learn about -- sign up today!