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It may be Apples and Oranges, but it’s still Fruit

by Kim Miller | May 1st, 2013

I often find myself challenged by a client who believes they are different. They believe that their particular situation is unique and calls for extraordinary action. Sometimes they are right, then we must get creative to solve the problem(s). Sometimes they are (half) right, but the differences are really not that great.

It is important for me and the work I do to identify when the differences in a situation are important and when they are not. Most problems in running a business have occurred to other businesses and perhaps to the same organization in the past. This then calls for reviewing proven solutions for application. The key is assessing the situation carefully, and deciding whether the situation warrants extraordinary effort. Experience counts here, combined with a healthy dose of solid judgment.

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When the Boss Says Good-bye

by Kim Miller | March 13th, 2013

I do outplacement for senior managers and executives. Outplacement is the euphemism often used for the process of assisting a terminated employee in a job search. I am usually paid by the former employer – my services forming part of a negotiated severance package.

This type of situation is full of both good news and bad news. The good news: opportunity, freedom, time. Most senior people embrace the positive and get on with finding a job in an orderly way.

The bad news: rejection, uncertainty, urgency. These things can slow down and even paralyze strong capable people. My job is to understand the pressure of these negative things and help overcome them. All the activity – networking, job search, interviewing – depends upon this.

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Decision Making: Know Thy Boat; Know Thyself

by Kim Miller | February 28th, 2013

I am a boater. And like many boaters, I have owned several boats over the years; every one bigger, nicer and more expensive than the previous one.

When will it stop? I think now.

Why? Because the current boat was acquired only after a detailed specification, analysis and decision process was completed. A list of ten “must have” boat features was developed and each potential acquisition was evaluated against this list. The boat therefore was selected objectively and with less emotion. There was some subjectivity – one of the specifications was: “nice lines” – but most of the process was quite straightforward.

This decision process is one that I have used many times with my clients. When faced with with complex decisions in life and in business, it pays to invest time and effort in a comprehensive decision process.

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It’s Not Their Fault

by Kim Miller | January 11th, 2013

I negotiate collective agreements on behalf of employers. I sometimes come across clients who express anger and resentment towards “the union” with respect to collective agreement terms. They blame the union for contract clauses which cost them money or restrict their ability to manage the business. Fair enough, I say, “Why?” The answer usually is that the clauses were negotiated sometime in the past, sometimes by previous management, and often without a clear understanding of future implications. Both parties agreed: the union proposed, negotiations ensued, and both parties agreed. Don’t blame the union – they were only half of the agreement.

Shame on all of us who negotiate collective agreement terms without fully considering future implications. It may be that we feel that we have no option – and we may well have no good option – but don’t give up so easy. Employ all means to avoid getting boxed in, and if caught, fight long and hard to recover. If you fail, resolve to address the issue during the life of the collective agreement so that it may be resolved in the next round of negotiations.

Don’t give up. And don’t blame the union. It’s not their fault.

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The Gift of Time

by Kim Miller | October 12th, 2012

I do not get upset when people cancel or postpone meetings with me. OK, I get a little upset, but then I realize: I have been given the gift of time. When I have set aside some time for someone else, and then I don’t have to meet them, I have time to do something else. So I use it.

I know this is a bit of an illusion, but it works for me. I choose to use this “gift” to do something else that I would not have been able to do until later, or perhaps not at all. To me, that is a gift.

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