Monthly Archives: December 2009

Motivation – We ain’t dead yet

It’s not dead yet! Don’t be de-motivated just because of the time of year.

What’s your motivation? What gets you up in the morning? Why do you do what you do?
Are you self motivated? And if you are how do you do that? Can you motivate others consistently?

This time of year is an interesting study into the psyche of the world as I know it. Things are supposed to slow down, it’s the way of the world. People are being merry, thankful and looking forward to a few days off in a row with family and friends.

“Nothing happens in December or January” Seriously, if I hear that excuse or poor synopsis of the market one more time I may need to poke myself in the eye with a fork. OK people are on leave, but business still happens everyday, whether we want to take part in it or not.

Honestly, I’ve had some of my biggest months in January.

So, how do we motivate ourselves, our teams, or even our clients to keep the world turning? How do you get up don the suit and get to the office, when all your friends are at the beach, or down the pub with each other?

I’ve seen the carrot and I’ve seen the stick style of motivators, and whilst both have been effective (when applied at the right time) it is hard to find one consistent method. I’m talking personally and for the teams around me.

Motivational skills are essential in our business, self motivation (be warned if you say this in an interview with me, I’ll ask you to prove it!) and the ability to motivate others. Included in this list of others are, clients, candidates, hiring managers, colleagues, partners, teams, bosses, etc. You need to find a way to get everyone going in the same direction. (OK cliche alert! but yes it’s true) As a mentor of mine once said – make your skills “situational”. Deal with each experience as it comes and rely (TRUST) on past experience (and your brain) to get you through.

Fruit Loop inspiration

There’s something said for tradition. I’m sitting here late Christmas day 2009 pondering the day that was, and honestly, it was pretty special. My kids, my wife, my parents and my sister really rocked for me. Seeing the day through my kids eye’s is just amazing, the wonder, the joy and the excitement, just give me goose bumps, even now thinking back on it. Photo’s will come… promise.

All this wonder aside, there were a few moments which caused me to pause and think.

Fruit Loops! That’s right… Fruit Loops got me thinking.

When I was a boy (yes, anther of those) we didn’t have the fancy smancy breakfast cereals at our house, apart from one day a year. Christmas day ensured that those fruit flavoured circles of sugar came out of the cupboard to make sure us kids had enough sugar in our systems to handle the full day. This has become the stuff of family legend. My sister and I still copycat this ritual with our own families (FYI, my kids and wife don’t like them… more for me!) Even if we are out for breakfast with a great buffet, I will find a way to have my fix.

Tomorrow is another day of tradition for me. I will attend the boxing day test with my Dad and some friends, something I have been doing for the better part of 15 years. It’s a cricket match for the uninitiated.

There’s something to be said for tradition. That feeling of entitlement, the warm feeling met expectations, the memory sensory triggering feelings from childhood etc. I love it. It is all good! if it wasn’t, well it wouldn’t become a tradition, would it?

Funnily enough you can ring this through for Recruitment. Things have been done in a similar fashion for a long long time. It’s comfortable, predictable and successful. You need to fall back on this when all else fails, try traditional things like actually talking to people, getting on the phone, getting the brief right, meeting the candidate, finding out the strengths and weakness’ and presenting accordingly. You can use all the fancy smancy tools you like to enhance the experience and to increase the talent pools, but not don’t forget the basics, the traditional stuff.

I hope you all have had a great Christmas and a sensational 2010.

The Miller, the son and the Donkey

When I started blogging, I took inspiration from stories my children had me read them of a night. It fell away a bit when they discovered Dr Seuss, as I struggled with connecting “Green Eggs and ham” and the “cat in the hat” to what I do.

That said, I was swayed by a fable that turned up on the TV the other day. I hadn’t heard it before, this was one of old Aesop’s fables called “The Miller, the Son and the Donkey” and it goes a little something like this…..

“I shall have to sell that donkey of ours,” said a miller to his son. “I can not afford to keep him through the winter. I will take him to town this very morning to see if I can find a buyer. You may go with me.” In a little while the miller, his son, and the donkey were on their way to town.

They had not gone far when they met some girls going to a party. They were talking and laughing as they went along. One of them said, “Look at that man and boy driving a donkey. One of them surely might ride.”

The miller heard what they said, and quickly made his son mount the donkey, while he walked along at its side.

After a while they came to a group of old men who were talking very earnestly. “There,” said one, “I was just saying that boys and girls have no respect for the aged. You see it is true in this case. See that boy riding while his old father has to walk.”

“Get down, my son,” said his father, “and I will ride.” So they went on.

They next met some women coming from town. “Why!” they cried, “your poor little boy is nearly tired out. How can you ride and make him walk?” So the miller made his son ride on the donkey behind him.

They were now in town. A man coming down the street called to the miller, “Why do you make your donkey carry such a load? You can carry him better than he can carry you.”

At this the miller and his son got off the donkey. They tied the donkey’s legs together, turned him over on his back; and began to carry him.

A crowd soon gathered to see the strange sight. As they were crossing a bridge the donkey became frightened at the hooting of the crowd. He broke loose, fell into the river, and was drowned.

The miller was angry and ashamed. He said, “There! I have tried to please everybody and have only made a fool of myself. After this I shall do as I think best and let people say what they will.”

Well Derrrrr.

But it is amazing in this business of ours (Recruitment) there are so many formula’s, tools, techniques and methodologies for one to try. I know I’m guilty of trying and adjusting things at other people’s suggesting. You never know what is going to work. To Tweet or not to Tweet? That is the question!

You need to try things, granted, you need to research and listen to the world and its suggestions, however, you need to find your own way, what works for you, and then work it through and bring yourself to owning it. Believe in yourself and your experience and what you know.

Fifteen Seconds of fame

OK I took 20 ๐Ÿ™‚

My initial views on the morning session at the SocRecruitAU event in Melbourne. This was a great day. Recommend events run by these guys in Australia. They are promising a huge 2010 with some “surprise” international guests.. “Tru”ly

Been in meetings like this? "I don’t know!… 3rd Base!"

I can’t help it. Ever since Kellie O’Shaughnessy Tweeted this the other day, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.

Firstly Abbott and Costello, just happen to be one of my all time favourite comedy duos, their style of visual comedy, great timing and well thought out routines never get old. Secondly the fact that Australia could have had potentially these 2 names running out fair nation never failed to amuse.

Now watching this routine again, and again, it all seems very familiar to me. Not just because I know the skit, but it gave me flash backs to Management Meetings I have been to over the years. Unfortunately I seem to have played both parts from time to time. They guy with half the information, albeit in a confused manner, and the guy with all the answers who assumes everyone else is on the same page.

It says something about communication styles, but why over analyse such a classic piece. Sit back listen and laugh…. on me ๐Ÿ™‚

Blogging: Boom or Bust for your career?

Is blogging a help or a hindrance in your career?

If you listen to some commentators, having a large online footprint will be THE only way you’ll be found in the future. Job boards will die, and all Recruiters will be all over Social Media tools writing Boolean strings, mining LinkedIn, Facebook, reading blogs (etc) and just finding you when they need you.

So therefore, you need to have a Facebook account a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter presence and be furiously writing blogs….. Therein lies a question though..

What happens when what you write is not what a perspective employer is looking for? If you’re writing a blog, then the chances are at one time a perspective employer may read whatever ill thought out, past midnight dribble, which has entered your head, traveled down your arms, through your fingertips onto a keyboard, into the computer and posted online.

Do you need to think about the fact that, this post could make or break your career? The next big break could come from a reader of your next blog or even comment on a blog. (even scarier, what if people judged you by the quality of your Tweets or Re-Tweets)

That tends to put a little more pressure on you, when staring at your keyboard, it’s 12.12 am, and you are mid rant as well. GULP!

Do we as Recruiters weigh all information evenly? I’m wondering myself, and I don’t really have an answer.

I really enjoy Social Media, I enjoy the community, I love the communication but am I doing a positive or negative thing for my career? Blogs are by nature a genuine expression of one’s self and thoughts, authenticated by this “real” feel. I know lots of HR people who prefer a more formal style of writing and get worried when reading articles in real work vocabulary and pace. These posts are a reflection of the real me, if people like it then OK, if not then I guess we wouldn’t have a good match anyways. Time will tell I suppose.

Fish where they are son!

I’m sitting at home now digesting the conference I just attended Inspecht and ATC’s Recruitment Revolution, and while I will blog about this amazing day later on when I have fully disseminated all the information and translate my notes and scribbles, there is something bubbling to the top I just need to write about now.

This conference was all about Social Media Recruiting. A great topic and I could have spoken, listened and learned for much longer than the one day I got, I am a sucker for this stuff.

The final “debate” however became the straw which broke this camels back as far as blogging or not.

It was all about the relevance of job boards with social media gaining so much of a foothold in all our minds. We were lucky enough to have to strong/passionate speakers in the area. Stephen Collins from Acid Media and Jake Andrews from (I”ll let you figure out who was arguing which point) Call it a “naughties” version of “video kills the radio star”. An argument as old as Social media I believe, why? because there is no firm answer, just view points.

However, my thought, isn’t overly intertwined with this. Let me put my cynic hat on. AND let me preface this by I am a HUGE Social Media fan/junkie call it what you will and I believe in the concept and business benefits. But…..

Is it for everybody?

There was a “flyer” inside the great little compendium they gave delegates which had the slogan “The hook may have changed but you still need the right bait” (with a picture of a laptop on a jetty) Pretty cool I thought. Whilst reading that, my Dad’s voice appeared in my head (yes, it’s been happening a lot of late, not sure what that means). I heard his voice telling me “you can have all the best equipment son, but you still won’t catch anything if the fish aren’t there. You have to know your spots, read the tide, read the signs, and signals and be prepared to move if you got all that wrong!” Let’s face it, some days they just weren’t there.

So, will Social Media spell the end of job boards.. NO! Did job boards spell the end of newspapers, no, did video actually kill the radio star (well not the DJ’s and shock jocks)

Not everyone is findable online. Not even all Gen Y’s (insert gasp here). I’m lucky, my talent pool is in IT world, so I have an expectation that my candidates would have some kind of online footprint to track down.

But what if I was looking for Forklift drivers? Landscape gardeners? Mechanics? Builders? Taxi drivers (OK bad example) etc.. Would I be confident I could locate talent in these areas online, utilising all the social media secrets I’ve just learned. No, not at all. I’d think I would have to go where they are (and Stephen got to this point). You have to move to where the fish are! He spoke about going to the local footy clubs, finding out where their wives hang out, using unions etc. Getting your message to where you audience can read it.

You can have the best Social media Recruitment strategy, have a great Facebook fan page, a twitter site and capability, LinkedIn presence, or even Myspace page (etc etc etc), the best value proposition, the best landing site…. but, if your fish aren’t there, what’s the point?

Keep the Social media concepts in your head though. Find your audience (where ever they hang out), listen to your audience, engage your audience, and add value to your audience. You don’t need to rely on technology for that.

Those days that are sent to try us… Suck it UP!

You ever had one of THOSE days? I know you have.

One of those days where nothing worked, where everything you tried failed, your ideas were crap (or so it was explained to you), your star candidate declined or worse, disappeared, and because of a decision you made an urgent meeting has been planned tomorrow which includes every C level executive in your company.

Oh they are bad…. you leave the office with that knot in your tummy, you relive the decision or action ALL night, wondering what could I have done better? What did I so wrong? What are they thinking? IT wasn’t that bad was it?

Dad always said, it’s not how many times you get knocked down… it’s how many times you get up that counts

You lie down in bed, and it’s like an instant replay in your head… I did OK didn’t I? That wasn’t me was it, surely that other guy did that? Then the little red demon on the shoulder outweighs the white angel. “IT WAS YOU! YOU STUFFED UP! WHAT DO THEY WANT TO SAY IN THIS MEETING? IT CAN’T BE GOOD

Surely tomorrow is a sick day in the making? That feeling in the tummy must be the onset of gastro doesn’t it?

I’ve had a couple of days like this in my career, the worst one happened when I was away on a conference, away from my support structures etc. In fact I think I even called home and had a serious conversation about quitting. My wife, however if pretty wise herself (if anyone tells her I said this I will deny… I promise I will). Told me to take a deep breath, OK take a few. Sleep on it. Stewing won’t help.

I really wasn’t in the mood to hear it, she didn’t know how I felt or what I’d been through that day. Pish tosh I thought! That’s right. I said PISH TOSH!

Here’s the kicker… She was right… ahhhhhhh (again if you tell her I’ll deny it)

Surprisingly I got some sleep, dragged my sorry bum out of bed and decided on a course of action. Forthright and to the point.. I was taking control. I owned the mistake, and I started to take ownership of the solution. THIS was a powerful feeling.

I then realised (with a little more help of those around me) that the people I was worried about facing, were actually there with the same goal in mind, to help the company succeed. They were looking for solutions not excuses and were present to help. (after the obligatory “What happened?” “Why?” “Are you serious?” “Why would you do that?” “Oh crap!”)

Luckily all these questions (raised voices, red faces and ruffled hair aside) How are we going to fix it? Did you pick the important word there? “WE” I had buy in. They were there to help.

This was years ago, and I’m glad to report, we kicked some real butt recovering from this stuff up. I don’t recommend the stuff ups, seriously they aren’t something I’d want to do again. But my advice… if it counts for anything Stand Up, own it! take your licks (you probably deserved them), suck it up and work on the solution. Getting that solution will make you stronger. Listen to people and TAKE ACTION and fix it.

One of the coolest video’s and concepts I’ve seen

Thanks to Paul Jacobs for sharing this gem. I have blatantly ripped him off for this post. I liked it that much, the flair, the innovation… imagine the possibilities… I want a try!

Cisco On-Stage Holographic TelePresence Experience from Musion Systems on Vimeo.