Monday, August 29, 2011

3 Ways to Love Your Job

Last week's post on Employer Branding ended with 3 vital questions.

I have been in sales for 15 years. My roles, markets, and client emphasis have evolved rapidly over that time. I got into Sales after spending the better part of the 90's at Arizona State University. I figured my leadership experience in student affairs coupled with my love for socializing would serve me well. It has. 

I came out of school doing tele-sales for a cigar company. I played the law of averages. If I call 100 people 2 of them will say yes. It worked....but my skill set never evolved. Two things are inelegant in this process:
- 2% is not a good ratio
- Hearing a bunch of NO's to get to YES does not foster any type of customer loyalty

Over time, my sales career has gone from transactional to consultative. It is no longer about the widget and now about the essential place I have in my customer's company culture. The law of averages no longer exists, the gift of gab has been dispelled, and the product/service/price is not enough.

In order to aid my professional development I have had to be aware of the 3 questions we pondered at the conclusion of last week's post:
•Which companies do you want to partner with because you know they cannot function without your partnership?
•What is your dream job and how can you get hired in 5 years?
•Are you willing to tell your CEO that from where you are sitting things are not working?

Gotta Have It!
There are companies out there whose products you might really love. There are other companies that might have a sexy culture that really intrigues you. But if you are not selling a sexy service said company probably does not have room for you on their 'vendor roster'. Just because a company has great product development and/or marketing does not mean they are a fun company to work with.

I go back to Simon Sinek's book, "Start With Why". In this book, Simon addresses the issues in this blog by dispelling what we seem to have convinced ourselves. You cannot pretend to be who you are not as a company. Your valuable time and effort will be wasted in chasing rabbits if they have no reason to stop and meet you eye to eye.

You need to find companies, prospects and new hires who match your WHY. The core values of your company need to match those of your desired prospects. You need to hire team players with common personal missions. You, as a job hunter, need to find that company whose business purpose matches your personal intent.

Where Is Your Rushmore?
Max Fisher had convinced himself that he wanted to be in high school forever. He had a school rich in opportunities that allowed him to form several student groups while developing himself as a leader. But, he neglected his grades and got kicked out of school. It wasn't the school that mattered. He just needed an organization that supported his ambition, trusted his intuition, and allowed him to experiment.

Too often, we think in direct extremes:
"My job sucks but it's work"
"That company is super cool but they would never hire me"

So we pass the time punching the clock and pretend that work is work.

In the movie Cool Hand Luke, our hero challenged the biggest guy on the lot to a boxing match and got his ass royally kicked. On his way back to the barracks as his constituents looked over him with shame he said, "at least I tried". Damn Right!

It's easy to hate your job because you settled for a company that would hire you. It is easy to have a job that does not challenge you but pays the bills well enough. It is easy to sit back and watch others shake your head and tell them they should have stayed off the radar. At some point, you owe it to yourself to go fight the bully!

Open Door
I bet you see things on the job every week that could be improved upon. I bet you either keep it to yourself or throw your hand up in a team meeting and bitch about it.

In a seminar I did earlier this year I asked attendees "how do you know what your employees prefer and how do you convey that to your CEO?"
The responses:
A. We take a survey (but never show the results to the CEO)
B. We do a focus group (without considering the participants)
C. We value our Executive directives and do not allow input from employees to effect our planning

Most CEOs do not know the nuances of their company culture. Does that mean it is incumbent upon line managers and employees to hide problems from their executives? If you happen upon the CEO at the water cooler and he/she asks how things are going, you will tell him/her "exceptionally well" and dart off in the other direction.

There has to be a way to inform the CEO of the issues that are causing turnover. There needs to be a way to eliminate the things that are not working and develop initiatives that make sense to the employee. When jobs are performed well employees should be rewarded, when employees stay late on a Friday they should be thanked, and if a middle manager protects employee feedback from the CEO...that person should be fired.

There are no easy answers but we need to keep in mind where our energy is best utilized.

If a company is a bad prospective customer they will be a terrible customer. This will waste valuable time and resources without producing sufficient revenue. This is an affect of pretending to be someone you are not. You cannot fit a whole donut in a coffee cup (take one bite at a time).

If you hate your job consider WHY. Are you paying attention to the right things? If someone is an around them. You don't have to freak out every time said a-hole attacks you....let them drown themselves. Focus on where your talent is best appreciated and make your current job, your dream job.

Executive leaders appreciate confidence, concise language and solution oriented thinking. You can tell the CEO of a issue in the workplace if you have the above mentioned 3 traits in mind.

Your job will be awesome if you love your customers and co-workers (and they love you). Your job will be awesome if you ignore the a-holes and focus on the good stuff. Your job will be awesome if your well-educated opinion is respected in the board room.

Don't Forget to Remember!

~ Dave

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