Ben was stuck in his dead-end job as a waiter at the local restaurant in town. By day, he was known as the nicest, more courteous server in the area. By night, Ben attended a local college with the ambition of starting his own social media serves. Ben understood stereotypes and bias. People had the tenacity to put individuals in pigeon holes with their biases. Therefore, Ben started building his online personality with writing insightful articles about social media and running a video blog. He wrote an e-book about social media that received Internet acclaim.
He quietly started a radio talk show. With his persistence, Ben started seeing his effort pay. The restaurant was packed with a bus of college students headed to a convention. Ben was helping out the servers with the big crowd. Suddenly, there was a big commotion in the crowd that involved Ben. Another server came to get the owner about this situation. The owner was afraid that Ben had done something wrong. He didn’t. These college students from out of town were overwhelmed with excitement in meeting the online celebrity “Ben the eWriter.” His online presence had repositioned his personal brand.
With the impact of the Internet and social media platforms, like Facebook, working professionals can reenergize or rebrand themselves in a matter of minutes. In fact, individuals can actually reposition themselves into new careers with the right strategies. In today’s job market, people need to understand the concepts of personal branding and how to develop their own personal strategy for employment. In this discussion, we will examine the concept of personal branding. Individuals will learn how to reenergize yourself and make gain more influence in the process.
As I contemplated my next career move, I knew it was important to know my worth in the market. In a sense, the concept was foreign to me since I had worked 27 years in engineering for the public sector. In securing that job, the only thing that was negotiated was the time of employment.
My desire to have a second career outside of engineering into academia drove me to get meaningful experience as an adjunct professor. Of course, I felt my core competencies were strong as a professor. I had about ten years in academics working part-time. Yet, I also knew that obtaining a full-time tenure track would be highly competitive due to the limited amount of these treasured positions and the number of applicants.
I personally knew of qualified business professors who could not obtain a full-time faculty position. To increase my marketability, I continued to secure new skill sets and to follow market trends. One of the biggest trends working for me was that many institutions were looking for new faculty who had demonstrated working experience.
Yet, in order to determine my worth, I had to actively apply for academic positions and go through the interview process. With every interview, each prospective employer provided me with a missing piece of my market worth. However, I got this insight by being assertive by asking meaningful questions like “what part of my application package attracted you to me as a candidate.”
This transparency was contagious. One dean even told me my prospective rank (i.e. salary) in his organization. All of these pieces were critical in helping me negotiate my final position as a full-time faculty because I understood my worth in the marketplace.
In today’s competitive environment, working professionals need to know their worth so that they can be compensated appropriately and they can market themselves toward better jobs. In fact, professionals need to know how to market themselves and promote their personal brand in order to maintain their market worth. Downsizing and layoffs are a way of life for most U.S. businesses.
Has our society forgotten how to be appreciative? Many people are too busy running the rat race to say, “Thank you.” I remember sitting in a Sunday school class of young students during my college experience at Southern University. One student was saying how ungrateful he had been toward his parents. I also felt guilty. My parents bought me my first car while I was in high school; most students did not have cars. I had envisioned receiving a brand new car. Well, I did not.
I got an old 1973 Dodge Charger. I was disappointed. But, I ended up falling in love with that old car which I later called “The New Wave Cruisemobile.” My car was far more dependable than most automobiles. I remember never having said “Thank you” for my car – I had also taken my parents for granted. Our society does not teach us that being appreciative is a virtue. We will examines the importance of developing a spirit of gratitude as a competitive advantage toward employability. Continue reading →
In these difficult economic times, more and more working professionals are forced to spend time away from their families. Other professionals are advancing their personal agendas in hopes of getting to the top of their profession. This blog discussion examines how working professionals can implement goal setting for their own families despite their hectic schedules.
Like many professionals caught up in my work life and work family, individuals often do not take the time to use these proven principles in their own homes. Many couples are more selfish than their children are and don’t provide a healthy, nurturing environment for them. This reality speaks to the personal ambition and priorities of the individual within a family structure. Writer J.A. Littler speaks to the material motives and priorities of our society: “Everyone worships something.
While there may be no official religions or cults devoted to cars, money, fashion, or music, these pleasures of life and facets of society are all too often the overwhelming focus of people’s time, energy, and emotions.” Our society tells them they can have it all—money, power, and fame without any sacrifices.
Sadly, many working professionals provide their children a great standard of life; however, these parents are often setting their children up for failure. Many times the results of their labor are children who feel entitled and materialistic. The truth is something is being sacrificed in lieu of a successful career…your family. The following strategy is provided:
Evaluate your family situation based on how family members’ priorities are spending most of their current time (i.e. work, community activities).
Establish the desired vision for your family (the ideal family model).
Develop priorities for the family in which all family members will comply.
Create a family mission statement.
Develop family goals each year from a holistic viewpoint (family, career, spiritual life, finances, etc.).
Monitor results based on the desired family vision.
Families are the foundation for thriving civilizations, and strong communities are built by strong marriages. Consequently, working professionals need to challenge themselves to provide a more holistic approach for their lives. In this discussion, we evaluated how working professionals can implement goal setting for their own families.
Often, this reality is about balancing competing priorities. Les Brown, author of How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be-No Matter What the Obstacle, notes, “Your values are not set by government or church leaders. Your values give you consistency in the way you approach life…By holding to your beliefs, you can always stay on track toward your dreams.” Hopefully, working professionals can make these life changes for their families before it is too late.
Please feel free to share your insight on this subject.
“Where much is given, much is required” is a theme that I have embraced since I’ve gotten some many opportunities. Last weekend, I gave a lecture at Payne Avenue Missionary Baptist Church on job strategies for the 2st century. I felt it was time to better educate the community about the current employment landscape.
Where are the jobs? How can individuals land one? As we left 2011, many individual’s job opportunities faded away. There are over 15 million unemployed in our country. Our community is no exception. What worked in the past for job prospects will not work during this economic crisis.
As the economic downturn continues to worsen for today’s workers, individuals need to refocus their strategies as they witness the last era of the full-time workforce. Sadly, things will never be the same for most employees. Companies chase emerging markets abroad.
According to government estimates, an additional 1.2 million manufacturing jobs will disappear in America by 2018. According to a USA Today analysis, part-time work is at a record high while overtime is at an all-time low.
An average of just 33 hours was recorded for the average worker in May 2009; it was fewer hours than any time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics begun to track it in 1964. In fact, over 9 million people want to work full-time but can only find part-time employment.
Most job seekers do not understand that the employment rules have changed. In a survey of 1,729 human resource professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management in partnership with AON Consulting, 60 percent of the survey participants said that the skill levels of today’s job applicants do not meet job demands. Forty-three percent said that current employees do not have skills levels to meet job requirements.
At the church, I attempted to share some of the emerging job strategies to apply during this financial crisis. These strategies were identified in my book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century. With an academic mindset and community concern, I feel we can assist the community with the current unemployment problems in our area. Knowledge is key! Below are some of these recommendations to consider:
Personal Branding. Individuals should set themselves apart with a personal brand. Your personal brand should define, promote, and protect your image online and off-line. Develop a unique skill or talent that is very valuable in your discipline.
Core Competencies. Those individuals with the right skills and abilities will never lose out on potential opportunities. Employers are looking for workers with the right skill set.
Good Communications. Individuals need to be able to articulate their thoughts (oral and written). In the future, mastering a foreign language will be a trademark for progressive and successful Americans.
Critical Thinking. A person can increase his longevity in the workforce by looking critically at problems. Today’s employers are looking for innovators and creators, not just employees.
Strategic Alliances & Networking. Individuals should move beyond networking to strategic alliances. A strategic alliance is agreement for cooperation among two or more people to work together toward common objectives. Therefore, strategic alliance is not a self-serving function.
Flexibility. Being a person who is mobile and adaptable will be an asset during these uncertainty times.
Although many people feel very pessimistic about future career opportunities, hope is not lost if people are prepared for the future. Bestselling Scifi author H.G. Wells explained, “’We were making the future,’ he said, and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is’.”
By taking control of one’s career strategy, individuals are taking a positive step in navigating these difficult economic times and landing their future jobs.
State your experience with this topic. What additional job strategies would you suggest for unemployed individuals?
Why do we see managers so disconnected with workers? Many CEOs proclaimed they understand their workers. Yet, most don’t! In fact, one reason organizations do not reach peak performance is because managers do not understand their employees’ motivation. Since the industrial age, researchers have recognized that both technical and social factors impact organizational performance.
Daniel Wren, author of The Evolution of Management Thought, concludes that analyzing a social system gives management an avenue to measure conflict between the “logic of efficiency” demanded by the formal organization and the “logic by sentiments” by the informal organization.
Workers are frustrated with the status quo. According to a American Psychological Association study, four in 10 employees say a heavy workload, unrealistic job expectations, and long hours have created stress. With fierce global competition, I found it surprising that managers move toward the quick fixes like downsizing for short-term gain without analyzing the organization over the long term. This process isn’t easy. Yet, understanding workers need to be a priority.
The current financial meltdown has forever changed our confident in traditional institutions. The private and public sectors are no exceptions. However, many organizations gain comfort in knowing that most employees will not leave due to this economic crisis. Yet, employee loyalty is at a three year low. According to MetLife’s 9th Annual study of Employee Benefit Trends, frustrated workers are secretly undertaking job searches in hopes of new opportunities when the market recovers.
In high-performance organizations, an environment is created where managers and workers coexist. In profit hunting, many businesses lose focus of the importance of socio-technical systems. Given precepts, it becomes evident that there is an increasing disconnect between leaders and followers in today’s organizations. To some managers, the problem with today’s workforce is simple a physical problem which is lack of motivated workers. Yet, the reality of the matter is that the workforce pressures are affecting workers holistically.
What can be done to connect senior executives with the plight of today’s workers so that they can learn how to effectively motivate the workforce?
In the 1939 movie classic The Wizard of Oz, a cyclone sweeps Dorothy Gale and her little dog “Toto” to the magical land of Oz. Dorothy wonders through the land, meeting some strange characters. There is the Scarecrow who desires a brain; the Tin Man who wants a heart; and the Cowardly Lion who hopes for courage. As Dorothy vows to help solve each of their individual problems, she gains power and influence that speaks to the concept of indispensability.
The future is filled with uncertainty. More and more jobs go abroad. Companies continue to shrink in size in hopes of being more competitive. Business executives understand the power of technology and outsourcing to gain a business edge.
However, many workers must rely on the good will of their employers to stay gainfully employed. Sadly, many workers do not fully understand the merits of indispensability in their lives. Bloomberg Businessweek magazine editor Josh Tyrangiel called indispensability the new word of 2011. Tyrangiel notes, “How do we make people smarter and save them time?”
For my clients and students, I have emphasized the importance of building customer value in everything that they do. In fact, it is an attribute to one’s branding strategy to be unforgettable to others. However, many workers operate in the dark shadows of their organizations. Renowned preacher Richard S. Brown, Jr. proclaims to his audience, “Everyone wants to be outstanding but no one wants to stand out.”
Yet, it is the “standing out” that catches everyone’s attention. I’ve written several books on this new 21st-century theme, including Breaking Organizational Ties, Publishing for Professionals, and Job Strategies for the 21st Century. If you do the same things that you’ve always been doing, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you get the same results.
Gaining influence is therefore critical in achieving any substantial level of success in life. When an individual has a clear platform as an expert, people tend to listen. In fact, a person can often gain more influence at work and in the community with a clear personal strategy. This article provides individuals with a proven method for becoming indispensable in their organizations in order to build sustainability in their professions.
The Current Market
With economic pressures, organizations look to streamline and drop processes and people that do not add value to their bottom-line. Some people sit back and hope that business will create more jobs. With a weak economic growth rate of 3%, these jobs will not rapidly appear anytime soon for the 15 million people still unemployed. This reality speaks to the record number (1.3 million) of “discouraged” workers as of last November. Discouraged workers are individuals not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them.
Indispensability means adding value to your customers and organization. In the classic sense, indispensability means being absolutely essential or necessary. Yet, it goes to the heart of being relevant. Kivi Miller, author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, argues it’s important to listener to your customers: “Every day presents an opportunity to learn more about the people you are trying to help and the people who are trying to help you.” Therefore, getting to know your target audience is critical.Are you indispensible to your organization or community? If not, why not? Being indispensable speaks the pressing needs of organizations to compete in a global environment.
The following are a few strategies for gaining indispensability in your organization: (a) Devote time to solving important problems for your customer; (b) Showcase your expertise on a variety of levels (blogs, media expert, etc.); (c) Be a great source of information by writing and speaking; (d) Champion a significant cause in a nonprofit organization such as United Way; (e) Become the linchpin that connects people with problems to people with solutions; and (f) Extend your network globally with social media platforms such as Linkedin.com. Emerging leaders and individuals on the fast track understand the benefit of being indispensable to advance their careers and gain a competitive advantage.
Everyone wants to feel needed. Yet, the concept of indispensability goes to the heart of gaining more influence in life. Legendary speaker Dale Carnegie understood the influential attributes of indispensability: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Therefore, one must be willing to understand the needs of others if he or she hopes to gain this type of influence that will sustain his or her career in the future.
With millions of people searching for full-time employment, it pays to distinguish yourself from others by building skills that speak to the concept of indispensability. Individuals need to retool their thinking about indispensability before it is too late.
If the concept of indispensability is the solution for America’s professionals in the future, can today’s unemployed workers capitalize on this attribute? If yes, how?
Another holiday season has come. After the presents have been given and the year comes to a close, many people will reminisce about the past year. Sadly, some people’s lives will be filled with many defeats, broken relationships, and unfulfilled dreams. These may setbacks may be relatively minor in nature (Pastor Richard S. Brown of Knoxville notes, “For many people, the holidays season bring great pressure and stress…We stress that we can’t get everyone something for Christmas?”) or they may be much more serious. Every year I run across individuals who have lost hope.
Unemployment continues to rise while self-confidence of individuals continues to falter. In my book Breaking Organizational Ties, I provided strategies for individuals caught in jobs they despise and showed them how to possess a more fulfilled life. The holiday season can leave many individual depressed and bitter. This article examines how individuals can overcome past failures this year and retool their minds during the holiday season.
The economic crisis deflates the concept of perseverance. According to the U.S. Labor Department employers added only 39,000 jobs in November, which is a sharp decline from the 172,000 created in October. With a weak economy, the unemployment rate has soared to 9.8%. The current trend of above-9% unemployment rate has surpassed the previous record. Over 15 million people are unemployed. A further 17% are under-employed. And there were a record 1.3 million “discouraged” workers in November. Discouraged workers are individuals not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them.
Given these statistics, good cheer may be harder to come by this year, making those “holiday blues” even more of a potential problem. According to a Mayo Clinic study, optimistic individuals report a higher level of physical and mental functioning than pessimists. Your perception colors how you view life. Can healing begin with the right kind of attitude?
Depression can develop for anybody. Christian Maslach and Michael Leiter, authors of The Truth about Burn-out, note that stress can burn out individuals and impact their mental state. In fact, many people are succeeding in the corporate environment while failing miserably at their personal relationships. If you are human, you will experience some disappointments. It doesn’t take a genius to understand how someone can get depressed. Some call it a “Pity Party.”
You become engulfed in your own self-pity—you figure you got it bad. Can anyone hurt as much as you? During the holidays, some people are left alone to face the realities of life. This period can bring much unhappiness. Some people, however, manage to snap out of depression while others get too consumed in it and take harsher actions such as suicide. Don’t let yourself down. Take action.
The following are a few strategies for beating the blues: (a) Put things in perspective. Everyone has experienced some setbacks in life. God is not singling you out; (b) Maintain a good attitude; (c) Establish a strong support network. A positive environment will help you get through; (d) Talk to a good listener. Get it off your chest; and (e) Find a purpose for your life.Ex-Dallas Cowboys player Larry Robinson explains, “The awesomeness of who we are, has nothing to do with where we work or what we do.” With this in mind, many people will need to implement a different strategy for next year.
Highly successful people know how to retool their minds despite life’s many set-backs. Last year, many people over-promised and underachieved on their goals during the economic crisis. Certainly, depression set in for some of the 15 million unemployed Americans, causing some women to grow weary and some men to grow angry. For millions of individuals, a pity party was a regular affair.
Historically speaking, self-pity is nothing new. Even the prophet Jeremiah complained to God about the unfairness of his situation. God spoke to his concern: “Jeremiah, if you get tired in a race against people, how can you possibly run against horses? If you fall in open fields, what will happen in the forest along the Jordan River?” Likewise, individuals must be persistent during the current economic crisis and a good outlook goes a long way. Your attitude will greatly impact how you retool your life so that you can be successful in the future.
On Tuesday (November 4, 2010), political chatter was all the rage as Republicans gained control over the House, sending a clear message to President Obama that the political landscape had shifted. The Democrats now occupy the US Presidency and Senate while the Republicans dominate the House of Republications.
Most experts wonder if Congress will ever get anything done. As a result of not passing a budget bill in 1995, the federal government was shutdown. With President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich at the helm, the shutdown was fueled by political fighting. Sadly, many people look to the government for all of the answers when their own ingenuity would work.
Yes, the government has an important role to play. I don’t believe that market forces are always the answer to societal problems…the market is not driven by morals or ethics. In fact, find a cheap labor force across the globe and some businesses will abandon their own creed of “America First.”
Individuals need to take control of their lives by developing strategies to produce results. If we are to equip people for the future as scholars, we need to make sure they understand that the future will belong to the aggressor, not the passive in the new economy. During this discussion, we will explore how companies develop value for their customers and how it contributes toward wealth building.
In uncertain times, it’s virtually impossible to navigate the market without fully engaging customers. Any operations that fail that economic maxim of the 21st century will fail. Management guru Brian Tracy argues that the duty of businesses is to create and keep customers: “The two most important words to keep in mind in developing a successful customer base are positioning and differentiation.”
Of course, it was possible several decades ago to create products and services without knowing the customer and later convince them to buy. Many companies during the Industrial Revolution built their success due to scarcity of commodity, limited competition, and uneducated buyers. This is not the case today.
Today’s operations must be value conscious as it relates to the market. Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler, authors of Revolutionary Wealth, research how tomorrow’s wealth will be created, and who will get it and the wealth method. Customer value is defined as the ‘difference between what a customer gets from a product, and what he or she has to give in order to get it.’ They argue, “Today’s wealth revolution will unlock countless opportunities and new life trajectories, not only for creative business entrepreneurs but for social, cultural and educational entrepreneurs as well.”
Daniel Spulber, author of Economics and Management of Competitive Strategy, further suggests that value creation is strategic: “Managers must pay close attention to value creation because it is the source of the company’s potential profits. The company generates value by providing products to customers, which it produces both by purchasing inputs from suppliers and supplying some of its own.”
Spulber further outlines a value-driven strategy in three ways: (a) to attract customers away from competitors, the company must provide sufficient customer value as compared to rival companies, (b) to attract key suppliers away from competitors, the company must offer sufficient supplier value, and (c) to attract investment capital in competition with other market investment opportunities, the company must increase the value of the firm for its investors.
Therefore, effectively managing the attribute of value creation will provide businesses with a competitive advantage.
Briefly explain how value creation has shifted from the Industrial Revolution to the Knowledge Economy and what attributes will be associated with wealth creation in the distant future?
While on business travel, I was riding the Metro subway in Washington, DC and got off at the end of the line. The location was in a depressed area with little there for the commuter. As I waited for my ride, I saw two young boys carrying a huge box of M&Ms in hopes of selling to weary commuters. I found it amusing that these young men were catering to this market. I wondered how these inexperienced children could be so successful in business. Many individuals are not.
Our grandmothers told us to find a good government job with benefits, and we would then live happily ever after. We found that wasn’t true. In fact, companies are outsourcing functions like employees are disposal goods. In fact, Charles Handy, author of the Age of Paradox, predicts that we are witnessing the end of the full-time employee. In this discussion, we will focus on the freelance industry and how it contributes to the growing outsourcing market.
With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology. In fact, the government estimates that an additional 1.2 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2018. In this economic downturn, many people are unleashing their ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit rather than depend of others.’ According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the number of self-employed Americans rose to 8.9 million in December 2009, up from 8.7 million a year earlier.
Yet, this venture is not just for the young. Individuals 55 to 64 represented the second-largest jump in their own businesses (just behind 35- to 44- years old) from 2008 to 2009, according to Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. People with talent are finding they can find work anywhere, including abroad. Websites like Elance.com turn local artists to global competitors. However, columnist Nancy Cook notes, “These sites may transform freelancers into mini-nationals, but they certainly don’t offer the wages, benefits, or perks typically associated with global blue-chip companies.” The following list represents the leading freelance websites for employment:
(5) Rent A Coder.com
(6) Demand Studios.com
Most entrepreneurs are internally driven. According to BLS, the number of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs (February 2010) surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008. Many people are unsatisfied with their work situations. In a Right Management poll, 60% of workers planned to leave their jobs when the market got better.
Gam’s Barbershop is more than a haircut establishment in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is an experience. Men debate. Fans might see a UT athlete or even Coach Pearl there. However, this successful vision came from one person. Despite growing up in a single parent home and fighting numerous youth temptations, Gary Gamble wanted more. Gam explains, “I always wanted to own my own business. I went to barbershop school with my friend. My friend later quit school. I kept on going. I wanted to do something with my life.” He did. In 1993, Gam’s Barbershop was opened. However, it wasn’t easy. Gam says, “I just try to be determined and never give up.”
Some people just stumble on a niche. Owners Charles and Gwen Chandlers took a hobby and grew it into a business. Chandler’s Deli, known for its Southern cooking and great service, is located in the heart of an urban area. While many restaurants have failed in the area, this restaurant still stands.
Charles notes, “I think we have been successful for three reasons. They are God, determination between my wife and me, and our personal assets. God just wanted us to have it [this deli].” Currently, the couple is working with the University of Tennessee Agricultural Department to locate a distributor for their new spices.
With the economic crisis still ahead, organizations are outsourcing more of their routine functions. Additionally, today’s workers cannot depend on their current employer to take care of their indefinitely. Therefore, being a freelance worker can provide a great alternative.
Yet, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Furthermore, there is a continual demand for better services at lower prices by organizations. Therefore, many workers will become independent contractors. Yet, our nation needs to continue its economic development campaign.
How will freelancers contribute to the outsourcing market? What operational systems will need to be infused into traditional organizations so that they can use them?