awaid's blog

“Grow Out of Introversion?”

I usually like the advice that John Rosemond, a parenting expert, gives in his columns. However I agree with Yuri, an introverted professional, who wrote to  critique a recent column in which Rosemond offered advice to a worried mother of a 4 year old twin.

She said, “My 4-year-old son is not fully engaged when he has a friend over for a play date. His twin sister makes friends easily and the difference between them is glaring. When I arrange a play date for him, he is excited but then, after the friend arrives, he gradually slips off to play by himself. Afterwards, he will tell me he really didn’t have a good time. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can help him become more social? I don’t want him to become a loner.”

Rosemond gave some advice about encouraging the boy  to socialize in small doses and wisely told the mother to relax. However his ending statement was not received well by Yuri. Here is what he said,

“….. Introversion isn’t life-threatening. Furthermore, most child-introverts are no longer introverts by the time they’re in their thirties.”

This implies, Yuri wrote, that there is something wrong with people who are naturally introverted. He told me that getting that message early on is a difficult barrier to overcome. And what evidence, he asks, does Rosemond have that introverts are no longer introverts in their 30’s! Quite the contrary. All the evidence points to at least 50% of the population being introverted.

It is interesting that society’s message to socialize and connect starts at a very early age. No wonder introverted pros have a hard time playing to their temperament in our organizations. The message in our culture is that it isn’t cool to play alone.

About the Author: 

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., is a corporate speaker and executive coach specializing in developing introverted leaders. She is the author of the Amazon business bestseller, The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength, aboutyouinc.com, and theintrovertedleaderblog.com. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her at LinkedIn.

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Hiring Manager
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Unplugging - There's (not) an App for that

On my morning drive into work, I shuffle between several radio stations. News Talk, Country, Top 40, and "Family Friendly." On Monday morning, I found myself engaged in a conversation that was taking place on Atlanta's Q100.

The topic: are we too "plugged in"? Particularly, they were focusing on kids that play video games and watch movies for hours each day.

But, that evening, as I was thinking through the conversation and the amount of time that the parents and kids spend in front of their computers, TVs, videos etc., I started thinking of how social media has elevated the amount of time professionals spend "plugged in".

Twitter. 4-square. Facebook. Apps. iPhones. Droids. iPads. iPods, Kindles. Blogs. The list could go on and on.

Social Media OverloadI was sitting on the couch and took a moment to look around. The scene in my house looked like this:

My wife and I were both on our laptops.
The TV was on.
I had Twitter, Facebook, and a blog up.
Both of us had our cell phones near our lap.
One ear-bud of my iPod was in so I could hear the music I wanted to download.
And did I mention I was trying to carry on IM chats with several kids in my church youth group?

Don't get me wrong, I love social media (obviously). And the technology that our generation has at our finger tips is nothing but astounding.

But, being in a business where "building relationships" is key, it's hard to learn the boundaries. According to HR Examiner, the most influential recruiters are those "plugged in". In fact, 100% have a blog, 40% have more than one blog, 96% are on Facebook, 88% on Twitter, and on average have over seven different presences in social media (LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs etc). 

Should I even touch on how many passwords you need to remember?

So, my question to you, does our generation know how to unplug? Is there an app for that? Should one of the 3,000 text messages teens send per month say "turn off UR cell". I also believe one of the main reasons 64% of Americans watch TV online is so they can multitask.

It's hard. Trust me. I tried last night and lasted till about 9pm when I checked the weather online, then found myself bouncing off into four other sites within a matter of minutes.

My prediction for social media in 2011 - people will be seeking "balance". Learning how to leverage the powerful tools, yet not spend their energy trying to be in all conversations at all times - becoming better at targeting the right conversations.

So, now that I've written this blog, I'm going to turn-off my computer and go for a run. . . after I check Facebook one last time.

About the Author: 

Adam Waid is the Director of Marketing at Mediacurrrent, an industry-leader in helping organizations architect custom Drupal websites. Adam is also a MATRIX Alumnus, where he worked closely with the Sales and Recruiting organizations to develop differentiation strategies, create content, and drive CRM and social media initiatives with a single goal in mind - build stronger, more meaningful relationships with our clients. Leveraging new technology, the latest social media trends, and a good mix of traditional marketing, Adam grows online communities.   Follow Adam on Twitter and Read his Social Media Blog.

 

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Fun
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The Hardest Worker I have Ever Known.

"What does it take to be successful in the working world?".  The Junior Achievement Student from an inner-city Atlanta High School was earnest and sincere in asking this question and she deserved a serious, thoughtful answer. 

Principle #1 - Work Hard. 

Trite? Perhaps, but that’s not by my intended meaning.  What I refer to here is a process approach to learning and then applying a tremendous work ethic.  Consider it an assignment in discovery for your industry, community, company or among your colleagues.

The first steps toward this discovery occurred for me during the summer my wife and I got married – back in 1983.  I had just completed my sophomore year of college and felt a jumbled mix of carefree excitement and anxiety about the relationship adventure I was embarking upon.  The wedding was at the end of Summer, so prior to that, money had to be made in June, July and August and I got a job working on an asphalt paving crew (a decent paying job back in those days).  This was heavy duty manual labor.  As I began what I assumed would be the drudgery of this work in the midst of one of the hottest summers in Atlanta history, I recall thinking the job would be made more tolerable since I’d be working side-by-side with a fellow who has been one of my best friends since 9th grade in high school.

Donny Palmer and Kenny Cook - Western Tour - Frontier Ranch - 1979However, I didn't count on the important life lesson I learned from my good buddy. I have never, even to this day, seen anyone physically work as hard as my friend - and this was in extremely demanding physical work dealing with air-hammers and shoveling heavy, HOT asphalt (which strangely enough still has an attractive aroma to me).  We worked 10 to 12 hours a day in the middle of a humid and oppressive Deep South summer, Monday through Friday and sometimes on Saturday.

I remember being intimidated and even a bit put off by his efforts.  But by the end of the first few days I was attracted by the pure joy - yes, it was clearly intense pleasure – my friend experienced from giving his ALL to the work.  Sweating, groaning, straining and yet with focus in his eyes on the task at hand, a smile on his face and sometimes a song on his lips!  It was infectious and irresistible to me and soon I joined in with my own attempts at this kind of work effort.  It was exhausting - I had nothing left at the end of each day and simply went home, tossed my filthy work clothes in the washer, took a shower, ate some dinner, tossed the washed clothes in the dryer and then collapsed into deep, refreshing sleep in my bed - only to rise early the next morning and do it all over again. 

By the end of the summer, I was able to hang in there with my buddy and even surpass most of the seasoned crew in my work efforts and abilities.  This was transformative for me - and a very timely, valuable lesson for a newly married young man.  I knew at the end of that summer I did NOT want to do manual labor for a living!  I also knew I wanted a professional career - and work inside buildings that had air-conditioning!  I transferred that asphalt crew work ethic over into my academic studies - and what an easy job being a student was compared to that asphalt paving crew.  By the way, if you are a student, then I believe you should view your academic studies as your WORK.  I made all "A's" in school throughout my Junior and Senior years and graduated with high honors - something that was key to getting my first job out of school with IBM - an excellent company and a wonderful way to launch my professional life.

#1 Work Hard - Applying the Principle

How do you learn or discover this?  Look at "the best" in your chosen profession or the place in life that you find yourself.  Whether you are a computer Applications Developer, a stay-home Mom, a college student, an athlete or a crewmember for an asphalt paving company => Ask, “Who is the best at doing this job?”.  Determine who that person is and observe them working.  Ask them "How do you do what you do?", "What motivates you?", and "Why do you do it in certain ways?".  These questions will aid your discovery and get you going.  Once you start applying the principles you learn from “the best”, ask others for feedback and use their constructive critique to adjust your course.  Be a student of yourself (How can I work harder?, What can I do to better prepare myself physically, mentally and emotionally for giving maximum effort on my work?). 

Don't be surprised if you get feedback without asking.  Another memory I have from those many years ago on the asphalt paving crew was my buddy and I both receiving a significant raise in hourly wage from our Supervisor.  He told us both that we were “The hardest workers he'd ever had on a crew.  And you're both crazy too - because you seem to actually enjoy it!"

About the Author: 

Don Palmer is Vice President of National Accounts at MATRIX and in his 20+ years with the company has led Sales teams ranging from 2 teammates up to over 120 Account Executives, Recruiters and Sales Leaders across the country. He can be reached at Don.Palmer@MATRIXres.com.

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Hiring Manager
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Lessons from the Disco Backlash

“Listen to The Ground, there is Movement all around.  There is something going down, and I can feel it…”

While these words could have been spoken on Wall Street or Capitol Hill in the last couple of weeks, they came from a far more infamous source: the song “Night Fever”, circa 1977.  Now, while I won’t comment on the recent elections or Big Board profits (I don’t have the nerve to), I will gladly comment on Culture and Technology.

Disco FeverFor those of you of a certain age, you may remember this little trend we had in America called Disco.  From the point in time that ‘Do The Hustle’ hit the airwaves in 1975, seemingly everyone wanted to get involved with ‘that disco dancing’ craze, including your parents.  Things peaked about the time John Travolta and his iconic white suite / black shirt / gold chain ensemble hit the silver screen, and the Bee Gees made enough money to retire thanks to the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack album.  So, you ask, what does this have to do with Technology?

Think about what happened to Disco when it started to wane, say about Summer 1979.  Everyone jumped off the ‘same old thing’ bandwagon and a new Innovation filled the void.  Donna Summer gave way to Journey and REO Speedwagon, and the 1980s were born.  (Insert your own punch-line here, rim shot sound effect free of charge…)

So, now, fast-forward to your present-day job-site and daily work experience.  Are you suffering from a bad case of ‘same old thing’, where you keep trying to achieve better results using the same exact approach time and again?  Are you feeling like you’ve already tried tuning up your current processes and procedures half a dozen times with no results?  Sound like you may be ready for a little old-fashioned Innovation.  The question becomes, though, how do you ‘do’ Innovation?  Well, here is a suggested checklist to get you started down the path to Disco Inferno:

  1. Assess current conditions candidly – hit the floor and find out what works well, what is ‘just getting by’, and what is in dire need of improvement.  The key is to perform an unflinching self-examination in a professional fashion, keeping analysis at a process or execution level.
  2. Select key areas for improvement – this is a critical step.  Even in cases where revolutionary modifications required, limit the scope of your efforts, as each organization has a different ability to absorb change.   
  3. Research alternatives – different opportunities will have varying solutions, and each option will require different levels of ramp-up.  Understand the investment of effort and potential pitfalls to the various solutions then present the best option to address your needs, then get down and boogie oogie oogie.
  4. Seek sponsorship – no organizational change is possible without the support of the organization’s Leadership.  Present your desired option to Management, socialize it as needed, and obtain their approval to move forward.  
  5. Pilot the new approach – select an area where you can safely implement new processes without impacting critical operations initially.  Ideally, the pilot will allow you to closely monitor progress and develop meaningful insight into the Innovation’s ‘performance’.  Soon, you’ll be singing “toot toot, hah, beep beep”…
  6. Measure incremental results – do not wait until the entire project or delivery has been implemented to measure the success of your efforts.  Select incremental milestones to help ensure overall success.  Remember, sometimes a ‘step backward’ is needed to accelerate effectively.  Don’t be afraid to tweak your approach if your incremental data points indicate the need to adjust your trajectory.
  7. Perform full post-mortem and implement Lessons Learned – after completing the Pilot, carefully consider the steps required to complete the delivery.  Ask yourself “were the desired outcomes achieved” and “was it all worthwhile?”  If you can answer “Yes” to those questions, congratulations, you added value, and “that’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it, uh huh, uh huh”.

Just as Disco is not rocket science, neither is Innovation, or Continuous Improvement.  Like so many other things, it is a matter of Planning, Execution, and Perspective.  One last point, though: before you get too wrapped up in bashing Disco, try to remember what musical form dominated the charts immediately prior to its rise.  Sometimes even the disparaged still retain some value. 

About the Author: 

Willard Woodrow, Senior Project Manager and BI Champion at Genuine Parts, has 15+ years of information technology experience in the utilities, retail, recruiting, telecom, and insurance verticals. His professional expertise includes business consulting, system implementation, project management, application operations, and client relationship management. Follow Willard on Twittter @willardwoodrow.

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PM-Agile
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We don’t care about your hobbies.

April Dowling, author of PseudoHR, recently wrote Ten resume tips for the non-HR job seeker and she shares some excellent advice. She says, “Resumes are a way to get your foot in the door; here are a few tips to help ensure the rest of you gets through the door.”

I really like several of the tips April shares in her blog post:

Resume TipsSpell check – It’s included in every word processor, use it, please.

Italics – Italics are for names, movies, books etc; not for your job title or entire resume.

Hobbies – We don’t care, keep it job related. [A note from the management: we really don't care and not only that we think you don't have good judgement because you just told us the names and ages of all of your children and your cat. I'm sure they are all lovely but they belong on Facebook not on your resume.]

Past work history – Rule of thumb is ten years but if you don’t have that much history list the information that pertains to the job posting.  If it’s a management position and you have management experience at McDonalds include it but if were just a burger flipper don’t include it.

Objectives – My personal preference on resumes, don’t include an objective.  Your objective is to get a job, same as everyone else.  Use that space to add information about your job experience.

About the Author: 

Stephanie A. Lloyd is Strategist-in-Chief, Calibre Search Group, located in Atlanta, Georgia at the intersection of Talent Strategies + Social Media. With more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and executive search, Stephanie works with hiring managers, HR executives, business owners, and recruiting firms on recruitment and retention strategy including how to better utilize social media for talent acquisition and employee communication. Stephanie is a regular contributor to Talent Net Live and The Matrix Wall, and she partners with Todd Schnick to produce the video blogging series He Said, She Said.

Posted in: 
Job Seeker
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