Saturday, January 23, 2010
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Attention to Detail or Micromanagement?

I am a possibilities and alternatives thinker, so when an idea is presented to me, even a great idea, my first instinct is to think, how else could this be done? My thinking also drifts to: what could go wrong with this, is this the best way to do it, etc. Funny thing is, I perceive myself as a conceptual idea person who hates details, is low-data, makes decisions easily, and wants to be strategic. However, when I ask my “what-if” and why questions, others easily can get the opposite impression, that I am too into the details, too analytical, and even micromanaging. The person who generated the great idea can get frustrated and feel judged and underappreciated.

Until I had a trusted employee point this out to me, I had no idea that what I thought was collaborative what-iffing could sometimes be perceived as frustrating nit-picking.

I’m a strong believer that with human behavior, there is no reality, only perceptions. It isn’t always important whether I’m “right” or “wrong” about what I’m doing. However it is really important how my actions affect others – their work output, their job satisfaction, etc. If my behavior and my style of communication isn’t productive, and it obstructs progress by producing frustration, then it is important to look at it and change it. For me this week – lesson learned!

Posted by Mark Bregman at 1:41 AM

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Saturday, January 16, 2010
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Stepping in a New River

Bear with me… I usually give very concrete advice, and today I’m going to philosophize.

Heraclitus, who felt that change was central to the universe said (around 500 BC), “You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.” In other words, a river is never static, it is in each moment a different river, because the water keeps flowing. Just as each moment brings new water down the river; each moment brings a new experience into our existence. What happened just now is now over.

It takes effort to embrace change. We are creatures of habit – we expect to step into that same river. At my advanced age (jk) learning something new or experiencing something differently is a great thing – a true delight. Most of us experience new things through filters based on our similar previous experiences – we play old tapes in our head. It actually takes work to see things without that set of filters. Letting go, clearing the head to see things as they are, or even to just see them fresh, with new eyes, or to be open to a new point of view, is not automatic. But, practice does improve the art.

Friday night is a good time to clear stuff out. Start the weekend with a blank-slate attitude, and I’ll bet you will step into a new river. Happy wading.

Posted by Mark Bregman at 12:39 AM

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Friday, January 8, 2010
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An Update on our Survey

Survey results:

40% of people responding to our survey question “The best way I could advance my career today would be…” answered: “Build / Improve my Network”. The second most popular response (24%) was “Leave and get a different job” [Based on 229 responses].

Posted by Mark Bregman at 3:58 PM

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
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Jobs Coming – Yes or No?

This week’s issue of Newsweek (12/21) has two conflicting articles about jobs. In the first article, Jobs Are On the Way – Why Employment Will Rebound Faster Than You Think, Daniel Gross makes great points about the economy and job picture. We’ve been echoing this point of view most of this year. In the contrasting article, Joblessness Is Here To Stay, Rana Foroohar says there are fundamental reasons why job recovery will lag.

If you are in HR or business leadership – read both. At least be informed on both points of view, and see which one you agree with more. Your comments are invited here. Let’s start a dialog.

Posted by Mark Bregman at 7:46 PM

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Saturday, December 5, 2009
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December: Great Month for a New Job

Most job seekers, whether actively looking or passive (just interested in other opportunities, but not looking), put job search activity on hold in December, under the assumption that employers aren’t thinking about hiring.

An article Friday on CNNMoney.com points out that December can be a great time to explore a new job. Hiring managers are relaxed, and perhaps under less pressure, so they can invest time in candidates. Because fewer people are looking, there is less competition. And, although more hiring actually occurs in January, many employers would prefer to hit the floor running fully staffed in January, by making the hiring commitment earlier.

Over my 25 years in the executive search business, I’ve never had a slow December. Many companies do their next-year staffing plan in September or October. Budgets and head counts are set, and plans put in place. In fact, in some cases, when hiring managers do procrastinate, it can actually be to the advantage of the job-seeker, because you may inquire and find an opening that hasn’t been posted, and no one else knows about.

So if you want a new job, use the next two weeks (up until 12/18 or so) to make contact with hiring managers. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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Posted by Mark Bregman at 10:37 PM

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