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Careful What You Wish For…

by Kim Miller | October 11th, 2011

If you are currently in the market for a new job, you must do an number of things. The most obvious is to decide what it is that you wish for in a new position. Unfortunately, many job-seekers do not think this through very well. I find in my coaching and recruitment work that people more often frame their wishes in terms of what they want to leave in the old job, rather then what they want to go to in a new job. They do not go through a very thoughtful process.

While there may be legitimate needs to leave features of a current job, one should also stand back and consider: Is it that bad? Can I improve it – without leaving? Will it really be better somewhere else? It sometimes helps to think what the new job may be like after six months… or two years.

It is also worthwhile to consider why you came to your current position. What attracted you? What were you running from? Then consider what has changed. Is it you or the job? This may give you some perspective.

In short, take responsibility for your current situation. Then consider what you can change, in the current position, or somewhere else. This will help you to decide what you really want to do.

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by Kim Miller | April 15th, 2010

Perspective – do you have it? Of course. Is it correct? It is for you. Or is it? There’s the rub.

When do you need to question your own perspective on an issue? I suggest regularly. If you walk around comfortable with your own view of the world, you will eventually cease to participate and contribute.

As most of us move through life, we tend to become more conservative in our views. OK, change is good, right? Sure, but don’t dismiss the seemingly silly and unrealistic views of others. Consider them first, and then dismiss them, or not. Either way, you will be better for the effort.

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Save a Little

by Kim Miller | April 15th, 2010

Financial advisors suggest we all keep two or three months’ worth of earnings in a current account to cover fnancial emergencies. Business advisors (including me) suggest that organizations create plans for contingencies.

We don’t know everything that is going to happen, and we certainly can’t control the future. So on a personal level, I advise my people to leave a little emotion in the bank. No matter how good or bad things are going, we can quickly be whacked upside the head. Things can get worse.

It is important to plan emotionally for the possiblity of a major setback. This all happens in the head and heart. It is simple in principle but difficult in practice. If we accept the possiblity of a challenge, we are more prepared to deal with it when it occurs.

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Advice for the Boss: Be worthy of following

by Kim Miller | April 15th, 2010

Be trustworthy.

Meet your commitments. Never betray a confidence. Don’t beat up those junior to you – ever.

Be visionary.

This is central to the role of the CEO. Ideas can come from a variety or sources.

Be engaged.

With employees, with clients/customers, with shareholders/members and with suppliers/donors.

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Trust is a Teeter Totter

by Kim Miller | April 15th, 2010

Trust is a teeter totter. In order to work, both parties must actively cooperate. If either one jumps off the teeter totter, the one at the other end goes down too, and quickly. So it is with trust. For a leader to succeed with his or her people, they must trust each other.

A leader must maintain the trust of their employees in order to keep them coming in and performing their best work. This is generally well understood. Without trust in the leadership of an organization, many employees will hold back effort, not wanting to invest all of their energy into an enterprise that may not pay off. Others will simply look for other places to go to work.

What is less well understood is the need for the trust that the leader must have in his or her people. Willing and capable people know when a leader is checking on them. An occasional query with a helpful suggestion is fine and usually appreciated. Too many queries at some point becomes the dreaded “micro-managing”.

So how does a leader avoid this lack of trust in their people? Set up and maintain periodic monitoring of business activity and results. This can be done in a variety of ways: monthly operations meetings, budget reviews, project planning sessions. Assign responsibility, including timelines for follow-up. Then butt out.

If you must, absolutely must check on progress, ask from a distance, figuratively. That is, send an email, leave a voice mail. Give the individual a chance to put together a complete response. Do not hover at a desk or an office door while asking a question and waiting for an immediate response. Once the response is received, consider it before reacting.

Are things going OK? Then give due credit and go elsewhere.

Is correction needed? Then be constructive. Offer a reasonable summary of the situation, and what you believe should be done. Then stop and ask if there is agreement or not. Do not attach blame or make personal comments. Focus on results, the things that you can see. Do not speculate on the reasons why.

In any event, you must back away again and give your people a chance to do their jobs without you looking over them. If you cannot do this, they will assume that you don’t trust them, and may jump off their end of the teeter totter.

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