Thank you for inspiring me to document musings and learnings from the field of leadership, team performance and conscious change. I trust you'll find the exercises, resources and insights useful whether you are a leader, team player, coach/consultant or change agent.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Positioning Your Niche

Great brands know themselves. Consider the difference between King Soopers and Whole Foods, Linked In and Facebook, Droid and IPhone, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, Haagen-Dazs and Dairy Queen or Donald Trump and Paul Hawken. Each person, product or company owns who it is by recognizing and sharing its unique place and function in the world. 

Whether you want a promotion or new assignment it is helpful to claim and communicate your niche so you can intentionally attract what is yours and repel what is not.

A niche is the specific way in which you add value in a given profession. It's about who you are and what you offer. Here are some questions to get you started: 

  • What differentiates you?
  • What is your specialty?
  • What makes you good at your work?
  • What is your style? 
  • What is your expertise?
  • What are you known for?
  • What do people ask for your help with?
  • What do employers/clients pay you for?
  • Why do you exist?
  • What makes you unique? 
  • How do others describe you? (hip, traditional, necessary, innovative, affordable) 
Positioning statements articulate a niche in a compelling manner. Starbucks is "the third place" (the stop between home and work). TED (the online video site) is "the ultimate dinner conversation." Jen Spencer (life coach) is "your wing woman."

What's your line?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Interviewing tips from the “Corner Office”

The NY Times feature called the “Corner Office” provides great tips for interviewing from CEO’s.

John Chambers of Cisco Systems wants to hear about your results not all you can do. It’s the difference between saying, “I write good copy” and “My last blog generated an increase in web site hits by 25%”.

He also wants to know about your failures because “all of us have had mistakes and failures.” Instead of responding, “I can’t think of one” which Mr. Chambers says, “immediately loses credibility.” Share a lesson learned or two.

Then he “tries to figure out if you’re really oriented around the customer.” Do you speak in terms of how your work impacts the customer? What are the needs and aspirations of the customers of the position you are interviewing for?

And finally, do you have good communication skills--especially listening. Do you interrupt or plan your next response? Are your questions rote, standard or do they arise out of your conversation naturally?

Maigread Eickten CEO of FRS, a maker of energy drinks “finds that a ton people don’t know that much about the company.” She’s looking for preparation. Do you know the success and challenges of the company? The history? The mission, vision, values?

She’s also looking for passion. Do you exude competence? Have enthusiasm?
Demonstrate ways you can add value?

And finally product knowledge. She’s had a few people who haven’t even tried the FRS energy drink. “If they say that, the interview is over.”

For more from CEO’s on interviewing go to http://www.nytimes.com/ and search “corner office.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Career Signs

If you have found assessments like Myers Briggs, DISC or 360's helpful in your career development, consider adding astrology to your tool box. In her book, "Star Signs at Work" Debbie Burns uses astrology as a guide to success in the workplace. She suggests that we have the most energy, talent and impact when we are aware of and aligned with our own nature. Find your sun sign below by your birth date. Look to the the essence or substance or archetype of Debbie's vocational suggestions. How do the qualities show up in your current job or future aspirations?  

Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19) Sportsperson, exec, entrepreneur, firefighter, life saver I DO

Taurus (Apr 20- May 20) Accountant, banker, agriculturist, florist, landscape gardener, massage therapist, historian, museum/gallery manager, art dealer I OWN

Gemini (May 21-Jun 20) Interpreter, TV presenter, journalist, sociologist, editor, writer, sales, marketing, PR I COMMUNICATE

Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22) Interior decorator, homemaker, nurse, day-care worker, social worker, antiques dealer, chef, counselor, hotel manager I NURTURE

Leo (July 23-Aug 22) Exec, actor, TV presenter, sales manager, charity exec, freedom fighter, fashion designer I RULE

Virgo (Aug 23- Sept 22) Accountant, bookkeeper, researcher, academic, dietitian, executive ass't, finance, administration, science I SERVE

Libra (Sept 23-Oct 22) Lawyer, judge, politician, diplomat, presenter, sales, psychologist, marketing I COOPERATE

Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21) Secret agent, private investigator, detective, scientist, researcher, analyst, pharmacist, doctor, surgeon, security guard I INVESTIGATE

Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21) Travel agent, photo journalist, park ranger, freelance "anything", travel writer/reporter, taxi driver, zoologist, union activist, sociologist I'M FREE

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19) Manager, banker, architect, engineer, analyst, bookkeeper, dentist, IT professional, archaeologist, anthropologist I ASPIRE

Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18) Scientist, writer, inventor, engineer, problem solving, electronics, analysis, humanitarian I ORIGINATE 

Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20) Artist, writer, actor, dancer, musician, nurse, counselor, priest/minister, astrologer, numerologist I DREAM

For more, find Debbie's book at http://www.amazon.com/Star-Signs-Work-Astrology-Workplace/dp/1590030680/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291133649&sr=8-1