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The One-Minute Layoff

watchWe have a friend who was recently let go from a company for whom he had worked for nearly twenty years. The entire conversation with his supervisor took less than a minute.

To clarify the situation, he was one of twenty or so people who lost his job that day at the local branch of a large company. This scenario was repeated over and over again at all the branches of that company as they responded to low earnings.

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So here’s our first question:

Why do corporations treat humans inhumanely?

In most businesses, people are the most precious asset. So why do corporations act like they’re not. And let’s be clear here – corporations don’t do anything. They can’t. It’s humans who treat humans like this.

It’s the managers within those companies who are doing this. It’s probably their managers, or their manager’s manager, who insists that it be done.

Managers within companies are being asked to do more and more with less and less. So some people get laid off. In many, if not most cases, they’re good employees who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

They’re reasonable people who can understand that sometimes tough choices have to be made. They’ve cared for their employer; they expect their employer to give them the same respect.

Which leads to our next question:

Why do companies burn bridges?

We’re told from a young age that we shouldn’t burn bridges. We get upset when our employees fail to give us notice. We think we deserve that much respect.

Don’t our employees deserve respect too?

We also believe that you have to understand the bigg picture. These employees you’re letting go today may be your best candidates tomorrow – if you handle it properly.

These people may be customers, too. They may know people who are your customers. What are you doing to your reputation when you show no respect for your employees?

And what are you saying to the employees who remain? Aren’t you saying that people don’t matter? That the only thing that’s important is this quarter’s earnings?

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He deserved more

Doesn’t an employee who’s been with a company for nearly twenty years deserve more than a minute from his manager when he gets laid off? We think so!

We think he deserved a conversation at least twenty times that long! How about a minute for every year he devoted? Is that asking too much? We don’t think so!

We think he deserved a complete explanation about what was going on and why his position was being eliminated.

We think he deserved to be reassured that he hadn’t done anything wrong.

We think he deserved to know if it was possible that his position would be available again if the company turned things around.

We think he deserved his manager’s best guess about the likelihood of that happening.

We think he deserved to know what resources were available to him to find another job or career, even if the company wasn’t willing to pay for it.

We think he deserved a written letter of recommendation that he could use to find that next position.

We think he deserved to be thanked for all that he had done.

We think he deserved to be treated like a human being!

We think managing is a tough job. But don’t make it tougher by treating people inhumanely and burning bridges. Give them the respect they deserve. Otherwise, you’ll lose more in the long run, as a manager and as a human being. Oh, and one more thing, your company will lose even more than you do.

What do you think?

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(Image in today's post by Gastonmag)

Lead Your People to Lead

leading.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. The five elements of bigg success are money, time, growth, work and play. Today we’ll focus on time.

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Bigg Question

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marylynnRenee called us with her bigg question. She’s been a manager for a few months. She’s having trouble getting all of her work done because her employees keep coming to her with problems that they could easily solve themselves. She feels herself getting more and more stressed about this situation. She wants our suggestions.

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Results, not tasks

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georgeRenee, you’re not alone. This is a common problem with first-time managers. I’ve fought this myself. We’re told, “If you want the job done right, do it yourself.” So we don’t empower people like we need to so they feel comfortable making decisions. We need to help our people build their personal leadership skills.

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You do that by focusing on the results, not the tasks. It’s a conversation about the “what”, not the “how”. What are you trying to achieve as a group? Then break your overall plan into who is to do what by when.

Now every individual in your charge knows for what they’re responsible. Be sure they (and their peers) know they have the authority to do what needs to be done to reach the desired result.

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Guiding principles

Let them know you believe in them. Tell them you’re there to help them when they run into something they can’t solve on their own. However, there are two guiding principles when they think they need your help.

1st – If we’ve discussed it before, follow the precedent.

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georgeThere’s no need to rehash old turf. I want my people to show me that they can learn. I’ll tell them exactly that!

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marylynnYou don’t want to hit your head into the same wall again and again. There will be challenges. Let’s make them new ones! I’m here to help you as long as we aren’t just dealing with the same old problem stated in a different way.

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2nd – When you present a problem, offer a solution.

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georgeI remember discovering this principle, for exactly the reason Renee is saying in her question. I had to find an answer for people constantly bringing up problems without taking any responsibility for the solution. This guiding principle took care of that.

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marylynnHelping your people develop their personal leadership skills leads to bigg success … for them and for you!

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What have you done to get your people to take a leadership role?

Please share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for the gift of your time today. Please join us next time when we talk with a person who used vision boards to reach bigg success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Is Entrepreneurship the Fountain of Youth?

one You probably intuitively know this but studies have proven it as well – our willingness to take risks declines with age. A banker we know says that the difference between junior lenders and senior lenders is …

Junior lenders want as high a lending authority as possible because that shows confidence in their abilities. Senior lenders want as low a lending authority as possible because that gives them cover!

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Entrepreneurs are hot about hot decisions

Scientists at the University of Cambridge recently released a study on “cold” and “hot” decisions by two groups – managers and entrepreneurs. By their definition, “cold” decisions involve little emotional involvement whereas “hot” decisions involved taking risk. The outcome of these hot decisions is unknown in advance; it could go either way – good or bad.

Both the managers and the entrepreneurs in the study were about 50 years old, on average. The researchers found that the managers took risks consistent with their age.

Entrepreneurs, however, made hot decisions –
accepted risk – like someone twenty years younger.

So we can only conclude that entrepreneurship is the fountain of youth. By taking risks, we act younger than we are!

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marylynn
I thought taking risk was the cause of some of the gray hairs I have to cover!

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george
And I thought it was the reason I have a lot less hair than I used to!

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We know that, right now, a lot of us aren’t in a risk-taking mood. But if the past is any indicator, it will be risk-taking entrepreneurs that turn our economy around and start creating jobs.

Risk-taking can be learned

This study also showed that risk-taking can be learned. So you can tap into the fountain of youth by learning how entrepreneurs are able to manage the risk they take.

Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs aren’t risk lovers. They are willing to accept moderate risks, in general. However, as we see again in this study, they’re more willing to accept risk than the general population. We can think of four reasons why they do this:

Entrepreneurs may read the situation differently.

They often have insights that people on the outside don’t have so they’re able to interpret the situation differently. We may look at a situation and see a lot of risk. The entrepreneur knows it’s much less risky because of his or her unique knowledge.

Entrepreneurs aren’t paralyzed by risk.

Many people are willing to do everything right up to the point of taking action. They develop analysis paralysis and never pull the trigger. Entrepreneurs analyze to a point, but then they just go.

Entrepreneurs are often able to shift a portion of the risk to others.

It could be the firm’s employees, customers, vendors, or financiers. As entrepreneurs get others to buy in, no matter what the form, the level of risk they are taking goes down to a manageable level. Then they know they can act.

Entrepreneurs are able to handle and live with “entrepreneurial terror.”

They can handle the stress that comes along with the risk. They are able to ride the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride.

So what we learned today is that entrepreneurs don’t act their age. And that’s one of the secrets to their bigg success!

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Thank you so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we talk about another study that shows that a happy friend is worth $20,000 in the bank! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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2 Tips for More Effective Project Status Reports

pm411_logo We visited with Ron Holohan today on The Bigg Success Show. Ron is a Certified Project Management Professional and is currently the Director of Program Management at Shure in Chicago. Ron also hosts a weekly project management internet radio show called The pm411.org Project Management Podcast, which has consistently been one of the top four project management shows on iTunes.

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marylynn We all know that project management can be a stickler. So we asked Ron to share two tips with us to create more effective project status reports.

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ronThe first tip is to focus only on the exceptions. What I mean by that is that you don’t want to throw everything in the kitchen sink into your status reports. No one wants to read all that. They want to be able to look at your status report and pull out just the information they need. So focus on the exceptions – those issues that have changed since your previous report. Your audience only gets the information they need so your status report is short and concise.

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georgeI think that’s a bigg one. It seems that you often see status reports that look like a “mind dump.” You see all the activity that’s happened since the last report. You get bored with it so you’re not able to help them. might call it stubborn.

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ronThat’s right. If someone wants to go back, they can always look at one of your previous reports for more information.

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marylynn Cut the fat … get to the meat. What’s another tip?

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ronAnother tip is to make your report as easy as possible to read. This is the same kind of ideas as Tip #1. You want to allow your audience to easily scan for details that interest them the most. One way to do that is by using something called “Stoplight Reporting” – you communicate progress by using different colors. A bullet point in green may mean this item is going according to plan. Yellow means that particular item needs to be watched. Red means action is required because that item is starting to go off track. You can actually use blue as well to indicate that particular item has been resolved or completed.

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marylynn Can you put a “Don’t Walk” in there?

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ronThat would be nice! Use short bullet points. You don’t want to write a paragraph; this isn’t going to win you a Pulitzer Prize. You’re just trying to convey simple facts to your audience. Also, use tables where you can. They’re great for listing things like milestones, budget information, or product material cost.

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georgeWhat’s interesting about this to me is that some people are good with words or numbers, but other people are very visual. So you’re giving your report in a way that allows your audience to consume it the way they prefer.

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marylynn I prefer stick figures!

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georgeIt’s a great system that you’ve outlined with the different colors. You instantly can see what’s going on. Now I assume what you talk about are the “yellows” and the “reds”.

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ronThat’s right. So if I was reading the report, my eyes would naturally look for those yellow and red bullets that need my attention the most.

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Ron’s freebie!
Ron has a free status report template available for you, complete with a Stoplight along with other great templates.

Thanks Ron for sharing your fantastic tips with us!

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How to Get Noticed in Job Market 2.0

Today on The Bigg Success Show, we welcomed Phil Rosenberg. Phil is the founder of reCareered, a career coaching service that helps job searchers get past the biggest challenge in today’s competitive jobs market – to get noticed.

 

Phil, what does reCareered mean?

 

 

It means someone who is seeking a job change, or trying to revitalize their career, or someone who is between jobs and wants help with how the job markets have changed in the last eight years or so.

 

How has the job market changed?

 

 

Eight years ago, the majority of resumes were delivered on paper. Around 2000, it changed to where most resumes were delivered digitally.

 

And how does that change the resume itself?

 

 

It changes it completely. The paper-based resume had to be static. The only way to customize it was by a cover letter. A digital resume can be searched. It also increased the number of resumes that went into most companies, by as many as ten-fold.

 

We always hear about search engine optimization and how you want to rank at the tops of the pages for Google. But apparently you can do the same for your resume … it can be optimized?

 

You bet, and it’s especially critical in today’s world. Most major employers get thousands of resumes for each job, but they only staff to look at twenty to thirty. That’s two to three percent. So your goal, in submitting your resume today, is getting to the top two or three percent. Through resume search optimization, you can manage that process rather than have it be random. My strategy with my clients is to make a resume a single-use document – to have it infinitely customizable so that you’re gaming the search engine and forcing it higher up the search page.

 

How do we make a good impression right upfront?

 

 

There’s been research from the University of Toledo and Stanford University that states that interview decisions are made within the first two to thirty seconds. That blew me away. The rest of the interview is just somebody justifying their initial decision. So it’s a “gut feel” decision that may occur even before you shake hands. It’s all about preparation. Learn about your client – how they communicate (verbally and non-verbally), how they dress, how they look. If you want a job, go to a place that’s close to their office and sit there during lunch. Talk to people from that company who are getting lunch there. On a Friday night, go to Happy Hour at a bar close to their office and talk to people from that company. When you talk to them, watch their body movements. What’s the tone they use? What’s the speed they use to talk? You can also do that with their written communication – their web site, annual reports, press releases. The key to all this is communicating to your audience that it seems like you already work there.

 

It reminds me of the book, Guerilla Selling. It’s all about learning about your customer, in that case, but in the case the employer you’re going after – getting as much information as you can, wherever you can. It’s amazing how much information you can gather.

 

Sure. That’s also an effective way to use LinkedIn, Facebook or your own personal network. Chances are you have contacts within that company. A lot of people only use those contacts to see what jobs are available and to ask them to pass their resume along. They leave out some of the greatest uses of a network – talking to people within an organization to find out what an organization is like and what the communication style is like. Listening for how they’re answering questions rather than just what they’re saying.

 

This is fantastic advice because you do want to fit in. It’s all about mimicking. When you’re at an interview, should you sit up straight and lean forward or should you try to have your body language be similar to the body language of the interviewer? From what I’ve read, you should try to mimic that person.

 

That’s exactly what you’re doing – it’s called mirroring. You’re trying to show that you fit in. You speak the same language. You’re really trying to act like you already work at the company. It takes a ton of preparation. A lot of people aren’t willing to put that preparation in, but the people who do get a huge, almost an unfair, advantage.

Phil's links

You can get free daily job tips from Phil at his blog or visit his main site, reCareered, the place for resume search optimization and job search 2.0. 

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