Connection is Key

As human beings, we are naturally social creatures. We crave connection! However, too many of us miss genuine opportunities to connect. We may be thinking about what we want to say, or otherwise be distracted. One of the keys to really connecting with others is attentive listening!

We’ve all sat through that training session where we were told hearing is not really listening. A few weeks ago, I was attending a meeting and a gentleman who like me, is self-employed, came up and introduced himself to me. I smiled, repeated his name and stated, “we’ve actually met before. I met you a few months ago at this same meeting.” It honestly didn’t bother me that he’d forgotten we’d already met. It was a busy networking meeting and I’m quite sure I’ve forgotten introductions too, because I wasn’t allowing myself to be fully present (big disconnection habit). What surprised me was that when we were done with our exchange, I stated, “it was nice to see you again” to which he replied, “well it was nice meeting you.” Indeed, did you hear a word I said? Probably, but did you listen to what I said? If he was really interested in connecting with me, he could have said something to the effect, “Thanks for reminding me about our earlier introduction. It was great catching up with you.”

How about you? Are you just hearing others or really listening? Unlock your power of connection!

What Your Recruiting Practices Say About Your Brand

A brand’s reputation is everything.  What many don’t think about is that your team members are the most visible ambassadors of your brand.    

As an example, your Talent Management or Recruiting function is an outward-facing department.  These professionals spend much of their time crafting job postings and managing the recruiting process from receipt of applications and resumes to hiring. All these actions (or lack thereof) reflect your brand. 

As a long-time Human Resource professional, a comment that I frequently heard from friends and those in my networking circles, was they usually didn’t hear from companies to whom they’d applied for a job.  In fact, a survey mentioned in a 2018 eBook by Phenom People estimated that only 2% of Fortune 500 companies communicate a candidate’s status throughout the recruiting process. 

An online article published on March 19, 2019 on Flexjobs, suggested some of the reason’s candidates don’t hear back from potential employers could be because:

*The company’s staff are just too busy

*They are afraid of legal ramifications

*They are just plain rude

While there were several other reasons listed, the first two are excuses I hear from companies as well.  And to be honest, I think they are all problematic.  Do you really want your brand’s reputation to be linked to any of these excuses? 

If your recruiters are too busy to craft a thoughtful email that lets candidates know you appreciate their interest and you will be reaching out to those candidates whose experience and qualifications best match your needs…something is wrong.  Get some help from Upwork or other websites from which you can hire as much or as little talent as you need to get the job done.

If you are afraid of legal ramifications, I would suggest that you invest in training.  Teach your recruiters and hiring managers what they should or shouldn’t say to a candidate.  If someone has been interviewed by you, they deserve follow up communication.  If you are afraid you will say something that will put your company at risk, you are likely in a position in which you should not be interviewing candidates (without proper training).

Unfortunately, being rude seems to be the rule of the day.  This week I spoke to a friend who had two great interviews with a company and was assured he would hear back by X date.  Three weeks later and still no communication.

I recently took over a search for a client.  One of my stipulations was that I be permitted to contact every applicant to let them know where they stood.  Any that were interviewed would receive a phone call regarding next steps.  There were over 100 applicants for this job.  I lost count as to how many thank you emails I received from candidates I had to thoughtfully reject. 

We all just really want to know where we stand.

I believe candidates and companies are at their best during the recruiting process. Do you really want a prospect to assume that your company’s team members are overworked, unqualified or rude? I’m guessing this wouldn’t match with the values listed on your company’s website. 

Instead of justifying lack of communication to candidates, make your brand stand out!  And the following are great reasons:

*Candidates do talk

*It’s respectful and professional

*That person you are rejecting may not be a team member, but may be a lifelong customer

Guard carefully your company’s reputation.  It’s like trust.  It’s easy to lose and difficult to rebuild!

Act As If

One of my favorite quotes is from the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” You may recall a similar quote by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

This week, in a conversation with a dear friend, I was reminded of a concept I first heard in a video by DeWitt Jones, an award-winning photojournalist.  Act as if.

How many times have we given up on something because the voice in our head told us we should?  When we act as if, we believe that we can.  We learn to silence the voice of doubt and cynicism which often plays like an old vinyl record that keeps skipping.  How do we do that?  For me, it’s a combination of developing the right habits (which means we may need to let go of habits that are no longer serving us well and developing some new ones).  I am gifting to you, the steps I took, that were truly transformational for me, in developing my own, act as if mindset:

*Change the MP3 recording in your brain, by repeating a different mantra.  Write it out on a Post-It note and put it on your laptop, notepad, bathroom mirror etc.!! If you repeat this to yourself and out loud several times each day, this can become your new go-to recording!

*Exercise.  I’ve been working out four times a week with a terrific coach and nutritionist, Pia Fitzgerald.  Even if you do not live in the Columbus, OH area, I highly encourage you to seek her out as a wellness coach. She’s phenomenal and soon to be a published author!

*doTerra Essential Oils.  Yes, doTerra, not the cheap oils that are loaded with synthetics.  I became a Wellness Advocate with doTerra because of the transformation I saw with a skin condition a family member had (and permitted me to use doTerra Essential Oils to eradicate – as the treatments recommended by a highly regarded dermatologist were not working).  I also used doTerra Essential Oils on my 95-year-old mother-in-law and the change in her emotional and physical healing was incredible.  Identify the emotion you want to let go of or bring in.  The oils are powerful and depending upon what you’re trying to accomplish, the type of single oil or oil blend will vary! And a huge thank you to Sally Farnick for her help and education when I needed it most!

As one who is self-employed, continually LOOKING for work, while DOING the work, it can be daunting and it’s easy to feel over-whelmed and helpless.

You can also feel helpless and hopeless if you work in an organization whose culture is not healthy.  Unfortunately, as I learned from personal experience, the alternative to acting as if, is to become a victim by letting the cynical voice in the head rule the day!  That’s not a healthy alternative.

What are you doing to act as if? You have one life, no re-takes!  Take control and watch what happens!

Choose Your Destiny

This week I had the joy of speaking with a prospective client in the Gulf Standard Time Zone, a half a world away.  In preparation for the call, I did a little research about this country, their culture, business etiquette and more.  I wanted to be respectful in every way that I could and not offend the person with whom I would be speaking.

During our Skype call, I was fascinated with their command of the English language and knowledge of western culture.  I later learned that years ago, they obtained their master’s degree here in the U.S.  What really touched me the most was when they described the area in which they now live.  They mentioned that there were Hindu temples, Islamic temples, Jewish synagogues and Christian Churches in their enclave.  They described their culture as one in which everybody gets along.  While people in their culture disagree with each other, they have found a way to be respectful and tolerant of other’s beliefs and they don’t struggle with religious or political extremism. 

I had to admit I felt a little sad.  At one time in my life I would have had said the same about our culture in general.  I am reminded of a favorite quote from either Frank Outlaw or Mahatma Gandhi, “Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny”.

When we speak hate, we engage in hateful actions which become habits.  We become hateful.  I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want a destiny filled with hate.

On the other hand, if we exercise intentionality in our words and actions and seek first to understand.  We may become curious and inquisitive.  We may become known as someone who does not judge others immediately based on actions but strive to understand their intentions.  And our legacy may be one of tolerance, understanding and love.

We don’t get a repeat on our life. Choose wisely!

Are You Curious Enough?

In the past month, all the technology in my office and my home changed. In theory, it should have been a smooth transition, but it wasn’t.  However, through the process I tried to remain curious.  Technology is changing and I don’t want to become a dinosaur who refuses to learn new things.  What I learned in a short month was a great deal about 2G and 5G networks, interference and more.  I even purchased a new router, satellites and installed them and paired them on my own with the help of an app that I downloaded by scanning a box.  Because of my desire to learn and not be held hostage due to technology, I was able to use wonderment and interest (curiosity) to tackle something that was otherwise frustrating me – technology not working properly.

I was having a discussion with someone recently who was making comments about Millennials.  “They just don’t put in the hours like we do”.  I’ve been doing research on generations for more than 15 years, so I have an unfair advantage.  I’m curious.  Here’s a thought for those who find themselves in this same camp, or perhaps have made judgements about others (political, religious, just to name a few). Sit down and have a conversation.  Ask questions, be interested and inquisitive. You don’t have to come across as nosy and intrusive.  While you may have grown up hearing the phrase ‘curiosity killed the cat’, I believe closed-mindedness killed the cat more quickly!