How Do I Help You Grow Your Career?

"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want - Zig Ziglar

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When our first priority is helping others amazing things can happen. As you focus on serving others, your organization and your customers good will come your way.

One of my favorite life quotes comes from the great Zig Ziglar who said,  “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Since landing my first job at 13 years old delivering newspapers (remember those) for the Detroit Free Press to filling Vice President and President roles at different organizations I have been learning priceless career lessons. From education, resume writing, interviewing, management and everything in between I’ve been a part of it all.

So, how can I help you grow your career? Here’s where to start.

Start with your mindset

If you are always trying to figure out the next move to climb up the corporate ladder or positioning yourself for the next promotion chances are you will miss out on establishing a strong foundation. Approach everything you do with the mindset of serving, adding value and putting others first.

Always be networking

Networking doesn’t always mean cocktails at a mid-week meet up (although that’s not a bad idea). Connecting with co-workers in your department and outside of your department is critical to your success. Don’t underestimate the power of inviting someone to lunch or out for a cup of coffee.

Coaching – receive AND give it

No one ever arrives. It doesn’t matter how much education we have accumulated or how many awards we have won we can all benefit from having a coach or mentor in our life. Nothing beats having someone you can connect with for feedback and counsel. But if you can’t meet with someone in person there blogs, podcasts, books and an Internet full of  “virtual coaches and mentors”.

Truthful and transparent communication

Careers live and die on communication. Where truthful and transparent communication are a priority relationships thrive and your career is strengthened. It doesn’t matter if you are an extrovert or introvert you can be a great communicator.



Communicating in Crisis

It was reported today that Zappos was hacked and that millions (24 million to be exact) of customers information was stolen. I’ve been a fan and customer of Zappos and CEO Tony Hsieh for several years and will continue to be. Their commitment to their culture and customers is outstanding as documented in multiple blogs, articles and books. So, I’ve been anxious to see how Zappos shipping Zappo’s handles such a significant breach of trust with their customers. Yesterday Tony sent an email to employees and also posted the information on the Zappos’s blog keeping everyone posted on what had and hadn’t happened. One thing I haven’t seen and am wondering about is the absence of communication on the homepage. It will be interesting to see how their communication in the coming days and weeks unfolds.

I heard a speaker make the following quote several years ago – he said, “In the absence of clear communication people will assume the worst.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a hacker, customer service problem, personnel issue or a family matter – if people don’t understand what is happening they will default to assuming the worst that can happen IS happening. The word has been overused the past few years but it does apply in any kind of situation where a crisis or potential crisis is unfolding and that is “transparency”.

As leaders we have to be wise in our communication on any issue. Obviously there are things that can and cannot be shared regarding certain issues but to the degree that we can be, we need to keep people informed and be transparent. This one act alone can maintain trust and protect our businesses, team member and customers.

Have you ever been part of a crisis within in your company? How did you and or your company respond?

When Departments Work Together

No matter what the internal structure is, acquiring and retaining loyal customers need to be the number one goal of any organization.  With that in mind here are keys that I believe are necessary for success.

1. Strong, effective and ongoing communication of goals and expectations from the top down. It’s one thing to communicate goals—but employees also need to hear how achieving those goals will benefit them. Let them know what you expect, and how they will be rewarded by meeting those goals.

2.    The linkage between the business objectives, departmental objectives and their underlying KPIs need to be clearly identified, defined and measured.

3.    Guarding against insulating from other teams and departments.

4.    Robust project management systems that give everyone a view of what’s happening

5.    Frequent team meetings (teleconference, web-meetings, internal blogs, or face to face) to keep everyone within the organization on the same page. Use this time to report on the top goals.

1.    Every functional head needs to make cross functional activity part of every employees responsibilities. Encouraging and organizing cross-team and cross-boundary meetings at all levels, so that within and across lines of business, the whole corporate structure can take advantage of mutually known best practices to continue to do the best thing for the customer

2.    Setting time aside each month or so to create bridges between teams, or even create a cross-functional team, to share successes, breakthroughs, and new ideas.

3.    A close analysis of approval chains so that as many low value – added steps as possible – are eliminated and putting as much responsibility as possible at the most effective operating level.

4.    Ensuring every employee has received training and receives training on an ongoing basis to continue to grow and add value.

As for the silos within the organizations, it boils down to plain WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) thought process, the way organizations measure performance and the type of behaviors they encourage. Translate the “expected action” into an “incentivized action.

Focus on building bridges between the silos. While “organizational silos” is most often spoken as a negative term, it doesn’t have to be. Respecting and valuing structure while creating opportunities for leveraging the talent in organizations can be the single most effective thing that can be done to gain competitive advantage.

Employees want to understand organizational goals, because they want to come to work and make a difference. They want to affect the bottom line, and they want to see the organization succeed.