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Growing Regardless is a Conscious Choice

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Your choiceI’ve had the opportunity to help leaders shape their businesses, create positive change, and impact the lives of employees, clients and communities. And because of this, I consider myself one of the more fortunate people on the planet. At the same time, I believe that I get to do these things because of a series of intentional choices I’ve made throughout my life. Part of what is so challenging for me (and many of the profiles and assessments I’ve taken also reflect what I’m about to say) is that I do not understand why sometimes people don’t adopt the same mindset that I have, and that is this:

Each of us is in complete control of our choices and path in this world.

Yes, circumstances beyond our control happen. Yes, unexpected events occur. Yes, in every instant, not everything goes exactly as we would prefer. Here’s the deal though: none of that defines a person, and each person, in every moment, has a choice about how to respond to any given circumstance. In my opinion, no matter what a person may say, none of us – EVER – is without choice. With the ability to choose we can make anything, and I mean anything, of any situation or circumstance. This actually reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from the movie “Say Anything” with Jon Cusack. His character, Lloyd Dobbler, just had his heart broken by the girl he loves in the movie, and he is getting counsel from a bunch of kids at the Gas n Sip. When he asks them why they are by themselves on a Friday night with no girls anywhere, they tell him it is by conscious choice. I love it. In the movie you can see that’s clearly not the case, as they seem like less than desirable matches, but the sentiment rings true.

As an employee of a firm, you have the ability to make a conscious choice about your circumstance – in every moment. Want to achieve more? Do it. Want to get a promotion? You, and only you, are responsible for the way you network through an organization, for your accomplishments that might warrant the promotion, and for the impact you have. Can others help? Sure. But YOU own the responsibility. When you soul search do you recognize that your personal mission doesn’t align with your company’s? You aren’t trapped, or being held hostage at your company. Go do something else! I get it; you have responsibilities to your family, and money is a critical factor. At the same time, people figure it out. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. People can learn how to fulfill their passions AND make money. Shouldn’t you? Darn right you should.

As a leader of an organization you have the ability to make conscious choices about the health, prosperity, and impact of the business. Do you have people on the team who are eating away at the culture and fabric of the firm? That is totally in your control. Do something about it! As opposed to focusing on the barriers and limitations, focus on the result. The long view of this is how those critical moves will move the organization forward (as opposed to the things holding you back). After all, isn’t your responsibility as a leader to model what it looks like to live the values and vision of the firm? If you don’t who will????

You have the ability and responsibility to choose – every day, in every moment. Choose wisely.

 

Andrew Freedman, Principal at entreQuest, specializes in helping eQ’s clients grow by creating well aligned company cultures and strategies that result in remarkable client and employee experiences.

 

Posted in Client Experiences, Employee Experience, Grow Regardless, Motivation, Success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

eQHarmony – Making Organizational Matchmaking Easier

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cupidFinding the perfect career match is tough stuff! But it doesn’t have to be quite so hard.

If you have interviewed someone or have been on an interview recently, you know how challenging it can be to really get to know a candidate, or potential employer, during the interview process. Candidates are more schooled than ever in how to “ace” an interview. Employers are well-versed in how to effectively pitch their organization, making them more attractive to top talent.

While both parties are courting the other, what really matters is getting through the surface level mutual attractiveness to understand whether each party can fully help the other live into their vision, mission, and goals. Regardless of which “side” of the conversation you are on, here are some quick and effective tips to help you dig beneath the surface level sales and marketing pitch of the other party, and really determine if the potential career match is the right one.

•  Make it a values based discussion: Ask the potential employer about the firm’s core values (or ask the candidate about his/her values). More importantly, ask for evidence of how those things show up? What are the behaviors that they put into regular practice and serve as evidence of the values coming to life? It is also useful to ask about a time when the candidate/firm had to make a tough decision based on one of their values.

•  Culture, culture, culture: Ask the candidate about the best company culture she has experienced, why it was the best, and what she contributed to make that culture more vibrant. Ask her to talk about a time when a coworker’s actions or mentality wasn’t aligned with the culture or values – and, what she did in that situation. Ask the potential employer to describe the company culture, with examples of how the culture comes to life. Also, ask the potential employer to cite examples of times when the organization used the culture to make specific decisions (when an employee wasn’t fitting the culture, or a tough client decision that involved the culture).

•  Responsibility and Accountability: Ask the candidate how she defines each of these terms. Then ask for examples of how she embodies them. Also, ask for examples where she didn’t take responsibility or accountability when she should have. Ask the potential employer how responsibility and accountability come to life in the organization. Ask for examples of how employees hold each other accountable, and also how employees hold senior executives accountable. Especially, with regard to accountability, if there is no strong evidence of peer accountability, or upward accountability, that could be  an indicator of weak organizational alignment, transparency, or health.

In all the cases above, the goal is to really understand what it will be like working together. Hiring mistakes on either end of the equation are too costly. Profile tests and assessments can be very useful to help curb hiring mistakes. They can demonstrate a sense of what actually happens, how people think and behave in real life situations, and provide great insight and value into the quality of the potential relationship. In reality, the profile tests and assessments do a great job in allowing both parties to make fully informed decisions.

Be sure to put in the time and effort up front – after all, you deserve to work with only the highest performing people and organizations, right?

 

Andrew Freedman, Principal at entreQuest, specializes in helping eQ’s clients grow by creating well aligned company cultures and strategies that result in remarkable client and employee experiences.

Posted in Client Experiences, Employee Experience, Grow Regardless, Motivation, Success | Leave a comment

Cross Your t’s and Dot Your i’s Before Accepting That Job Offer

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dottedlineCongratulations, you have a job offer! Considering how competitive the market is today, you should be proud of yourself. Often times, the details of an offer are not discussed until the final rounds of the interview process. Hopefully the person who is interviewing you has at least discussed your compensation history, what you are looking for in your next position and, if it’s on target, what they can offer. Most of the details regarding benefits, time off, work hours, and bonus structures are conversations that are reserved for the final rounds.

So when you finally receive the offer, reality sets in and you are confronted with what could be a life changing decision. If you are currently employed, you weigh the pros and cons. If unemployed, you make sure you do your diligence in landing the best opportunity.

Here are some things we recommend considering before you sign on the line:

 Research the benefits – It’s important to understand the carrier and plans that the company offers. If you or someone in your family sees a specialist or requires treatment, make sure the plan covers it, and your current physicians accepts the plan. Understanding how much the company contributes to the plan and if there are any HRA contribution should also weigh in the worth of the total package. If children are in your future do you understand the maternity leave policy? Benefits go beyond health care. Do they reimburse for education, provide daycare on-site, are there stock options and 401k contribution? Just to name a few.

•  Prepare for a counteroffer – There’s a chance that your current employer will counteroffer or talk to you about a promotion. Before you put in your resignation, make sure you have gone through all of the reasons why the new opportunity has more pros than your current position. Counteroffers are often a result of someone in authority feeling threatened or at risk. By accepting a counteroffer you are most likely not resolving the principles that led you to interviewing in the first place. Statistics have shown that 80% of people who accept a counter will not be with the company after 6 months.

•  Understand office hours – There are some companies that are rigid with office hour expectations, and other companies that are more flexible. If you were in an environment where there’s no problem leaving at 3 to pick up your kid from the bus stop, and work the rest of the day at home, you can’t assume your next employer will feel the same. If having the ability to work remotely is important to you, make sure you find out if the company shares the same value.

•  Read what you are signing – Many people sign contracts without reading the print. Companies regularly include non-compete and non-solicitation clauses that could prevent you from working in a similar industry with a different company. If your position includes commission or bonus make sure you understand the payout policy in the event you do leave the company.

 Check out Glassdoor – If you haven’t already, see what people are saying about your prospective employer. Are you finding consistent red flags that you have not addressed? Yes, it’s a little late in the process and you should have done your homework earlier, but you either ask now or never.

This is an exciting time and as long as you do your diligence and think through the decision, you will know it in your gut what to do.

 

As Talent Acquisition Manager, Jessica focuses on finding the right candidates to fit our clients’ needs. She works with our clients to understand the exact skills and attributes that would fit with the cultural climate and their environment.

 

Posted in Employee Experience, Grow Regardless, Motivation, Success, Talent Acquisition, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t GO There: 4 Comments an Interviewer Should NEVER Say

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thumbnailHave you ever had a time when your words just kept rolling off your tongue and after they’ve left your lips you long to take them all back? But, like word vomit, you realized all too late that you’ve said what you said with no take-back. Or, do you often have times when you’re talking and mid sentence you think, Ctrl Z? (For those of you who don’t know, Ctrl Z is the shortcut for undo on your computer).

This happens to people all the time. It’s like your thoughts are spinning, your tongue is speaking, and finally when your mind catches up; you regret saying what you said. This happens in personal conversations and in business; and, unfortunately, sometimes in interviews, when you are trying to recruit TOP Talent! If you didn’t know, we are in what we call at eQ a TALENT WAR. Acquiring, retaining, and growing talent has never been so difficult or complex. What people want now is different than what they wanted then. Skillsets are different. Expectations have changed. People demand more, and contribute less. Did you know that last year CEOs rated “talent” as their number 3 concern, and this year it rose to #1? Unfortunately, this will all continue (as the baby boomers retire), until our new, fresh millennials begin contributing in a meaningful way.

Once you have a candidate in front of you that you’re pumped about, we want to ensure that you don’t mess it up. So, we’ve put together the 4 things you should NEVER say in an interview. Some of these things will get you sued (so pay close attention), while others will just make the candidate know they don’t want to work for you. Never, ever…

1.  Say that you don’t like your boss, the company you work for, or are thinking of leaving. Nothing is a mood killer like this one. This is as bad as going on a date and dropping the fact that you are in a nasty divorce and are unhappy with your relationship. Not only would it be a surprise to your date, but it’s a total buzz kill. Even if you – Mr. Interviewer, are unhappy in your job – find ways to “fake it ‘til you make it” in the interview. Do not elude in any way, shape, or form to your personal issues or lack of satisfaction with the company, as doing this should get you fired.

2.  Ask personal questions about child care, how old the children are, whether or not the candidate can handle his/her children while working full-time, and, worse yet, ask a mother if she will need to “pump” during the day (yes, it has happened). While you may just be trying to get to know your candidate, this line of questioning is likely to get you sued….and fired.

3.  Say that you’re not sure about the role, compensation, etc. As an interviewer, you MUST know the details of the position, what the primary directives are, and what a general framework of the compensation looks like. If you cannot answer the candidate’s questions about the basics, you should not be interviewing. Be prepared. Do the prep work. Make the candidate WANT the job.

4.  Say that the person currently in the role will be fired soon. This is obviously confidential information, and will likely cause the candidate to question the security of the position. Airing out dirty laundry is not a good strategy for landing your next rockstar.

There are without a doubt a number of additional things you should never say when interviewing. But, if you stick with these four (along with NOT asking questions about any protected class inclusive of: gender, ethnicity, sexual preferences, etc), you will at least steer clear of a lawsuit. If you know that your goal is to really impress the right candidate, enough so that he/she wants the position and is willing to fight for it, you’ll have to do more than just avoid these 4 things.

If you’re interested in learning how you can “Romance your Next Rockstar” – which will give you great tips that apply dating to hiring– please email me at maaronson@entrequest.com for a free e-book we wrote on this very topic. This book will help you go from avoiding a lawsuit to landing the BEST candidate in the market.

 

Misti Aaronson is the Executive Vice President and a partner at entreQuest. She utilizes her talents and expertise from working with countless organizations to help businesses grow through expert talent acquisition, growth methodology and development of their teams.

Posted in Employee Experience, Grow Regardless, Motivation, Success, Talent Acquisition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Become Human Spam – 3 Steps to Becoming a Master Communicator

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spam

We’ve all heard the expression, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it…” While there’s truth in that statement, the words we choose are very important, both in what they say to others and what they may say about us.  I attended an event recently featuring best-selling author and branding expert, Sally Hogshead, at which she encouraged her audience to avoid “becoming human spam” by ensuring that we thoughtfully communicate in ways that add value. My effort here, then, is to do just that – add value by focusing on three primary areas of opportunity to strengthen your message through sincerity, clarity, and brevity; and honing your skills with a few simple adjustments.

In my work over the last decade with leaders at all levels, there’s no doubt in my mind that communication skills are THE single greatest asset or deficit that leaders possess.  Communication skills encompass everything from time, place, and media chosen to share or receive information, to tone and volume, to the ability to listen effectively.  And, of course, there’s your choice of words.  Given that we all like to be effective when we share ideas and information with others, understanding how to better leverage these opportunities should be of interest to everyone.

•  Sincerity – Let’s start with sincerity because effective communicators (and leaders) are, if nothing else, authentic. They mean what they say – or at least they appear to. You can err in many ways when sharing information and seeking to persuade others and still be heard if you’re credible.  Lacking credibility, you’ve got no chance.  Consider this carefully: unless or until you believe your own message, you may as well keep it to yourself.  You can’t win, but you certainly can do harm – especially to your ability to ever effectively teach, inform, and persuade in the future.

•  Clarity – There are a number of facets to clarity. I’m going to focus on word choice.  Specifically, take care to use the most precise language you can.  This precision includes being sure to use actual words (avoiding those that aren’t, such as “irregardless”), to use words closest to the meaning you intend (to get closer to something is to “home” in on it and to sharpen your focus or skill is to “hone” it); and – similar to resisting our hyperbolic urge – assert only what you can prove or at least credibly defend (“no one else does this” is likely hard to defend; “no one is more committed to this approach” is a statement of opinion that rings true). We have an affinity for hyperbole, and our tendency to overstate things makes it hard for us to create distinctions between information and guidance that is useful versus important versus urgent.

•  Brevity – There’s an old adage in communication that advises us to, tell them what you’re going to say, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve said. While that construct has a time and place, everything from adult learning theory to detailed brain study tells us that helping one develop and implement his or her own solution is far more impactful than telling someone to do or believe something.  So, the sooner you get to inviting questions and framing action, the sooner you’ll get to change or get to better.  My advice then is simply to choose your preferred way of saying something and say it once, respecting your audience.  If you are concerned about someone else’s comprehension, ask them what questions they have or ask them to say back what they’ve taken from your message.

To launch your behavior change around communication, my encouragement to all speakers, writers, and listeners is to value as many communication opportunities as you can, every day.  A few accessible steps toward becoming an even more effective communicator include:

•  Practice – Think about what you might say in a particular (likely to occur) situation and practice that… you’ll be amazed at: how likely you’ll have the opportunity to use what you’ve practiced; how much more likely you are to say what you want/mean.

•  Listen – Commit to doing nothing else in at least one conversation per day, but focus on hearing what the other person is saying (in other words, do NOT begin planning what you’ll say next… unless it’s to repeat what you heard or what you’re understanding the person to be feeling or wanting).

•  Refrain – Eliminate at least one adjective from your statements in writing or orally (do without one “great” or “truly” or “-est”… you can do it!). Be patient and stingy with your superlatives and people will value them so much more.

What you say does, indeed, make a difference.  Please join me in this effort to be much more effective through what you say by being genuine, being clear, and being brief.

 

Jeff Lesher, Principal at entreQuest, blends his deep knowledge of organization design, human capital, and leadership with a pragmatic approach drawn from his own business experience and eQ’s philosophy to help eQ’s clients focus on their core purpose and move people effectively to action.

Posted in Client Experiences, Employee Experience, Grow Regardless, Motivation, Success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Intentional!

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New plant germinate from the crack concrete of survivalIf you don’t know Kathy Albarado, you should. Kathy is a friend of eQ; she’s a business partner, a CEO, and a remarkable human being. I have a ton of respect for Kathy, because of what she has achieved, what she stands for, and who she is. One of my favorite things about Kathy is her mantra of being INTENTIONAL.

For me, this speaks to being purposeful in everything a person does. In an organization this couldn’t be more critical to the success of an individual, a team, a business unit, or an enterprise.

While this has many applications, here is the one I want to resonate with you the most after reading this post: the gap between being intentional (purposeful) in an action, or not, is the difference between you expanding your business and living into the vision you created for the firm; or it means scraping together just enough money to make payroll each week—or not. The concept is that serious.

Consider this: are you able to tell when someone is operating at a transactional level? Whether it’s a customer service representative who fields your call, or if you’re buying something over the phone, even calling your cable/internet provider, or asking a question about booking a hotel room; can you really tell? Transactional sounds like, my job is to answer the phone, answer the questions, and complete the transaction.” Maybe they’ll even ask a compliance-based question…mind you, they’ll do it in a very monotone, disengaged fashion. The typical canned response being, “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

That is someone operating WITHOUT intent or purpose. It is the difference between the bricklayer versus cathedral builder mentality.

The person who serves the same job function (on paper), but who acts with intent or purpose engages in an entirely different manner. As the customer, you feel that you are the only customer that matters, that the representative cares, that your business matters, and that your concerns matter—we all crave that type of connection.

When actions are delivered with intent they create remarkable service moments, opportunities for increased sales, opportunities for referrals, and opportunities to drive customer loyalty.

The cool thing is, you can screen for intent and purpose. That’s right, screen for it. Imagine that your organization has a clear vision, mission, and values. During the interview process, you can ask candidates for examples of their values and how they express them both at home and at work. You will immediately get a clear picture of whether they operate with intent, or just go through the motions. It doesn’t matter what role (bank teller, telephone customer service representative, account manager, VP of sales, COO) the equation is the same. If candidates cannot fully express how they live their values and how that comes to life at work, you will very likely have an issue with this person in their role. If; however, they can easily articulate how they express their values in what they do, and their values align with your organization’s values—Oh, baby! You might be on to your next rock star!

Don’t leave your customer relationships, organizational succession plans, and short or long term business success to chance. Be intentional about who and how you hire, how you train, how you set performance expectations, and how you grow your enterprise!

 

Andrew Freedman, Principal at entreQuest, specializes in helping eQ’s clients grow by creating well aligned company cultures and strategies that result in remarkable client and employee experiences.

Posted in Client Experiences, Motivation, Success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

STOP Wasting Your Time: 5 Great Reasons You Should Hire a Talent Acquisition Partner

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Stop wasting time conceptWhen you hear the word RECRUITER, what do you think? What do you feel? What taste do you get in your mouth?

I’ve asked this question before and the answers aren’t great. I’ve heard it all from: slimy, shady, money hungry, scam….and the negative list of words continues on.

There are certainly recruiting firms out there that are all of these things, BUT most are actually the opposite. In the face of what we call at eQ a “Talent War” – acquiring great top-performing talent is growing to be a more difficult task every day. In fact, last year CEO’s rated Talent Acquisition and Management as the 3rd most important on their list. And this year, it rose to #1. With the Baby Boomer generation retiring, and the Millennial’s stepping into the shoes of people who have moved up or out of organizations, acquiring, growing, and retaining talent is projected to be the MOST important as we move towards 2020.

A strong and trustworthy talent acquisition agency can be a great partner to help you find the BEST talent on the market. Here are 5 reasons why hiring a firm to help YOU find the right talent should make it to the top of your list:

1. You should focus on what you do best:  

We’ve written about it time and time again – CEOs and leaders are NOT hiring experts.  In fact, many have no clue how to find and hire the right people. Hiring a Talent Acquisition Partner is no different than hiring an accountant. You surely wouldn’t attempt to do your own taxes right??!

2. Put your internal corporate recruiter to the test:

If you haven’t used a recruiter that specializes in talent, how will you ever know that your corporate recruiter is worth it? Use a Talent Acquisition Partner to compare the depth of candidates, time to hire, and ultimately assess your ROI on your internal recruiting strategy.

3. Keep up with your competition:

Regardless of your size, there are always bigger, better companies who have greater “pull” and resources in getting top candidates. By using a Talent Acquisition Partner you have a better chance of seeing those top candidates. Recruiters will introduce great candidates to you regardless of your size; because, at the end of the day, they are trying to make the perfect match (and size rarely matters in this case).

4. You don’t have time.  Period:

Recruiting is time consuming and costly. Costs include: job postings, applicant tracking tools, the time associated with the recruiting process (which is massive!). Consider the back-and-forth phone calls, the exchanging of hundreds of emails, the coordination of the interviews…and that’s even before you spend an average of 5 hours interviewing each candidate. If you are even remotely attractive to candidates, you could have hundreds of resumes to manage.  #toomuchtimeneeded

5. Speed:

Recruiters spend their ENTIRE day working with candidates….candidates from all industries, all levels, passive lookers, active job seekers, etc. They have their finger on the pulse of who’s who, and what great opportunities are available. Typically, they can turn better quality candidates FASTER than you can in your dreams.

There are probably 10 more reasons you should consider outsourcing the interview process to a Talent Acquisition Partner, but these 5 are probably enough for you to pick up the phone and stop wasting your valuable time doing what you aren’t good at.

 

Misti Aaronson is the Executive Vice President and a partner at entreQuest. She utilizes her talents and expertise from working with countless organizations to help businesses grow through expert talent acquisition, growth methodology and development of their teams.

Posted in Grow Regardless, Motivation, Success, Talent Acquisition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

20/20 Vision: Simple Ways to Realize the True Power of Your Organization’s Vision

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Vision Of Eyechart With GlassesI’ve had the privilege of working with some really passionate business leaders to help them grow their businesses. I often think about the journey that each of those leaders took to create high performing organizations. There are many critical path items that lead to long term success, and we’ve discussed various ones in these blogs (clarity, alignment, systems of management).

Creating a compelling and inspiring vision for the organization certainly makes the list. But unfortunately, this is where many leaders stumble. While getting the words right is so very important, it doesn’t mean a thing if the entire organization doesn’t completely internalize that vision. Without successfully accomplishing this your vision becomes just words on a paper or website. The vision you created winds up inspiring no one and creates zero impact, momentum, or competitive advantage. In my not-so-humble opinion that is simply criminal; and I can’t let that happen to you and your organization.

What to do?

The overarching principle: Leaders and organizations realize the true power of their vision when every person in the firm KNOWS it, OWNS it, and DRIVES it. Period.

How can leaders accomplish this?

•  Create clarity: Clarity doesn’t happen by just sending out a memo once a year, or holding a town hall meeting. While those can be great internal marketing events, clarity happens when leaders effectively communicate to the entire organization:

•  Why do we exist?

•  What is our critical focus (Lencioni calls this thematic goals)?

•  What is most important right now?

•  What does success look like?

Getting the entire organization aligned on these answers creates singular focus.

•  Communicate, communicate, communicate: Leaders cannot over communicate what is most important (how the firm is doing), and what comes next. Often, leaders will think, “I told them in the staff meeting two months ago. They should know already.” This way of thinking just doesn’t work. Repetition is a key.

•  Celebrate WINS: Show evidence of progress. When employees are living the vision and values of the firm, SHARE IT! Send pictures, send emails, post information on the internal social sites, highlight examples in meetings. The more momentum leaders create the easier it is to replicate the successes, and the quicker team members take initiative to live the vision and values without having to be ‘managed’ to do so. (You can’t manage someone to do those things anyway; if you have to attempt this, you probably have the wrong people.)

•  (MOST IMPORTANT) Go to the front lines: The magic happens where team members are closest to the customers. Want to know how to better connect individuals’ visions (their WHY) to the organization’s vision (WHY)? Go to them. Have line managers spend more time with their people. Connecting with front line staff shows them that their leaders CARE, which builds CONNECTION, which inspires people to take OWNERSHIP. That is where leaders need to get traction and impact.

Of course all the things we’ve covered in previous blogs have to be in place in this overall organizational ecosystem; but, making the connection with the team members who actually do the work every day, this is the absolute most-important element in the equation in creating your high performing organization. Once you connect an individual’s purpose to the organization’s, there is absolutely no stopping your team.

Andrew Freedman, Principal at entreQuest, specializes in helping eQ’s clients grow by creating well aligned company cultures and strategies that result in remarkable client and employee experiences.

Posted in Client Experiences, Employee Experience, Grow Regardless, Motivation, Success, Team Members | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Host Effective Team Meetings

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cartoonmeetingTeam meetings are meant to drive performance, provide clarity, promote accountability, and provide an essential opportunity to motivate a group of people. Everyone has most likely been in really good meetings, and unfortunately have found themselves watching the clock in others. Below are 5 suggestions on how to successfully lead a meeting.

1. Make an agenda: Preparation is essential. Creating an agenda allows you to outline your thoughts and organize the meeting. There should be a mission to every meeting. What do you hope to accomplish and what actions need to proceed? Without a focus, it’s easy to deviate from the proposed topic. While tangents can lead to good ideas, it’s distracting in the sense that it takes the focus off the mission which can distract participants and lose engagement. If you find yourself in this position be sure to take note of the side conversations and plan another session to deliver on those ideas.

2. Don’t let technology drive: There are excellent resources that can enhance presentations. Knowing how to effectively manage those resources is crucial when leading a meeting. Reading verbatim from a slideshow is almost a guarantee that people will lose interest. If people are simply reading there is a chance they will focus attention on the slides, and not the presenter.

3. Engage the team: Prior to the meeting, attach the agenda in the invite. Challenge the team to bring ideas to the meeting. Create a meeting where people can openly contribute feedback on initiatives that are/aren’t working. Ideas for improvement, analytics around performance, or anything else that allows people to participate is a great way to engage the team. entreQuest has seen companies find success in achieving results when employees are accountable for establishing goals. It creates a sense of accountability and ownership for implementing strategy, rather than being told what to do.

4. Manage your time: Creating an agenda for your meeting also gives you the ability to allocate time to segments within your meeting. Starting a meeting late may insinuate the topic of discussion is of little importance, and may set the precedent that being late is acceptable. When a meeting runs significantly over you run the chance of losing interest. People start looking at their phones to reschedule other meetings which is distracting and can lead to disengagement. What you don’t want as a leader of a meeting is for people to think you don’t value their time. If you find yourself in this position, simply create a list of action items that need to be completed and set another meeting to follow-up on the items not hit.

5. Follow-up: Meetings can lead to great initiatives. Ideas are often born that drive growth, performance, and accountability. Most of the time this only happens when action is taken after a meeting. Send the team a summary of what was discussed along with the next steps. Keep the momentum moving and excite the team!

Meetings can be a powerful tool for bringing together a team and making people feel a part of an organization. If you are able to plan, organize, engage, and be the leader, your team will look forward to future meetings.

 

As Talent Acquisition Manager, Jessica focuses on finding the right candidates to fit our clients’ needs. She works with our clients to understand the exact skills and attributes that would fit with the cultural climate and their environment.

Posted in Employee Experience, Success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview Red Cards: 7 Things that Will Get You Sent Home

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redcardWe recently had a great candidate come to eQ for an interview. He came from a company friend who was actually an intern, and a great one too.  One morning our intern sent me a note saying that her brother needed a job, and that she would LOVE for him to work at eQ because of the great experience she had. Fast forward 2 phone conversations and several email exchanges; we brought him in for an interview.

While we didn’t have anything at eQ that was imminent in terms of a position that he would fit, he was someone that we would keep “warm” and consider 1st should something arise – based on the great recommendation his sister gave us.  After all, he was well spoken, presented himself as if he had 5 more years of experience than he actually had, and was entry-level, a blank canvas, which we love.

The interview went well, until our Talent Consultant asked, “Any big plans this weekend?” To which he answered, “Probably sit around my apartment and get high.”

WOW!  Sit around your apartment and get high?  Out of ALL the great things you could’ve said:  take a long walk in the park becoming one with nature, reading a great business book, giving food to the homeless. You decided to pick the only one that will get you asked to leave?

We recognize that this is an anomaly, and that most people wouldn’t answer the question in this way. BUT, after interviewing thousands of people, we’ve seen it all, and have put together the top 7 things NEVER to say in an interview:

1.  DO NOT hit on the person interviewing you. This should be a given, but you’d be surprised about how many people go there. It’s like an opportunity for them to see if you have a weak point, and to see if they can sway you for a job and a date. Ladies and gentlemen – don’t do it. It makes you look like a desperate idiot.

2.  DO NOT bash your former or your current boss.  Boss bashing (even the smallest of offenses) makes you look like a rookie, REGARDLESS of how big of a jerk your boss is/was.

3.  DO NOT repeatedly say the name of the person that is interviewing you. I recently had an interview with a guy that made $350K per year and he kept saying, “Misti…you see….”, “Let me tell you, Misti.” It was distracting and actually a bit demeaning. I get it that maybe he was trying to connect, but his consistent use of my name actually distracted me from what he was saying.

4.  DO NOT inflate your salary and paint a picture that you make more than you do. This will come back to bite you when the interviewer asks for your W2s, and you have to defend how you came up with your “number.”

5.  DO NOT name drop. As an interviewer, there are very few things that I find more annoying than someone who name drops. Especially if they name drop people I don’t know. If you are best friends with Obama, Jay-Z, Prince William, or Dave Matthews, go ahead and name drop. Anyone else – just stop.

6.  DO NOT say that you are interviewing “to see what’s out there.” Nothing communicates lackadaisical like someone who is just “practicing interviewing,” and not focused on what they want, or why they are taking up an hour of your time. If you are really just seeing what’s out there, you will be better off keeping it to yourself.

7.  DO NOT use meaningless metaphors and phrases such as: “I see the writing on the wall.” Really? What writing? What wall? Is it a lazy way to say that you had an idea this was going to happen? Okay – then why didn’t you do anything about it? My other favorite is the default people go to when talking about compensation. I would estimate that 80% of candidates I’ve interviewed say, “I want to make six figures.”  Awesome – now we are getting somewhere? You want to make $100,000 or $999,999? Could you be a little more specific please? OH – and why do you think you are deserving of $100K if that’s what you meant in the first place?

I get that these 7 things might come across harsh. The good news is that it will be less harsh to hear it now than losing the job of your dreams. Or worse yet – getting asked to leave.

 

Misti Aaronson is the Executive Vice President and a partner at entreQuest. She utilizes her talents and expertise from working with countless organizations to help businesses grow through expert talent acquisition, growth methodology and development of their teams.

Posted in Employee Experience, Grow Regardless, Motivation, Success, Talent Acquisition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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