Understanding Chinese Business

There are 4 keys to understanding Chinese business behavior:

1. Family is pre-eminent.
Chinese-owned businesses are organized in family-owned units. Family roles and responsibilities are replicated in the business. The head of the family is the boss.

Now that nonstate-owned enterprises are permitted in China, the family business is reappearing there, too.

2. Business is based on Guanxi.
Guanxi are relationships defined by reciprocity and mutual obligation. Guanxi is the most valuable capital a Chinese businessman has. Non-Chinese businessmen need to understand how to deal with those relationships and how to build their own networks in Chinese society.

3. Roles are rigidly defined in Chinese society - and business.

4. "Face" is crucial in Chinese society.
It can be enhanced or diminished. Preserving "face" for your Chinese business associates is very important. Diminishing it is a big no-no.

Find more here
Chinese Asstrology And Business Success

Chinese Asstrology has 12 signs. According to this science, some signs are more successful than others. And the most successful is the Dragon.

Forbes Magazine notes that 43 people on its Forbes 400 List - about 11% - were born in Dragon years. That's a little more than any of the other Chinese signs.

Does that seem exciting? Not to me. I'm a Dragon and I'm not incredibly wealthy. But, Bill Gates is a Sheep and Warren Buffett is a Horse and they are! Like, what's up with that?

Among the successful Dragons are Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Intel co-founder, Gord Moore and Gap co-founder, Don Fisher. Sounds more like the year of the co-founder to me.

Here's the full Breakdown of the Forbes 400 by Chinese Sign.
My advice? If you're a Rooster, don't worry about it.

U.S. Rich List (%)
Dragon - 10.75%
Monkey - 10.5
Horse - 9.5
Pig - 9.5
Ox - 9.25
Tiger - 8.5
Sheep - 7.75
Rat - 7.25
Snake - 7.25
Dog - 7
Rabbit - 6.75
Rooster - 6

Find more here
Good Ol' Coffee: Is It Really That Bad?

Coffee may not be the healthiest liquid to drink, but all the others are so much worse. Read the rest.

And how about this: Coffee May Lower Diabetes Risk.

Men who drank more than six 8-ounce cups of caffeinated coffee per day lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by 50% compared to non-coffee drinkers.

Women who drank coffee reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 30%.

Men who drank decaf coffee reduced their risk by 25%, women by 15%.

Find more here
By Any Means Necessary

A client just received this email from one of my more enterprising candidates and passed it on to me.

(Names have been changed to protect the innocent).

Dear Joe: A brief introduction -- I worked with Johnny Friendly at Waterfront Securities for a number of years and then moved to The Happy Burrito as Director of Refried Beans.

Following that, I went the entrepreneurial route for a few years and I'm now in search of an exciting and challenging corporate position.

I heard about the position you are currently trying to fill through the Canadian Headhunter, and after a brief conversation with him, he determined I was not the right fit for the position.

I reviewed the job profile a number of times and think I would be a great
candidate and would love the opportunity to meet with you about the position.

I know Johnny spoke with you on my behalf and I'm grateful that you are willing to review my C.V. and hopefully that will lead to a follow up discussion.

Feel free to respond by e-mail or give me a call at: ... or cell#... at any time.

Best regards,

PS: The entrepreneurial route means: "I worked for a startup that flopped after six months and then I went to work in my husband's troubled firm". And, oh yes, you can see by my treatment of the Canadian Headhunter that you can trust me completely with all sorts of confidential information.
The Leadership Secrets of CIO's

Techies think the world revolves around technology. It's your job to tell them it doesn't. Technology serves business. Make sure they know it.

5 Essentials for Leading Techies

1. To lead techies you've got to know some IT. They don't like people who don't understand what they do.

2. Techies aren't sales reps. You can't bribe them to meet targets.

Create general conditions that make them happy and they will be motivated.
(eg establish career paths, set achievable, measurable goals)

When motivating techies, a hands-off philosophy works best. They don't need cushy perks, personal recognition or bonuses; they thrive on solving problems creatively.

3. Don't let them work alone. Make sure they share info.

4. Brag for IT
Techies are rather shy. So, you take care of the introductions.
Make sure the business knows how nerds contribute to strategic goals.

5. Make the business goals really clear
Explain dept goals, project priorities, individual responsibilities as they relate to the overall business goals.

Find more here
Who do you make your next recruiting call to?

An MBA grad:

Allen Shardelow, partner at Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search company, says a frustration commonly experienced by executives who have completed an executive development programme is that they return to work and find themselves doing what they were doing before.

"This is particularly the case with MBA graduates.

"They feel energised by the experience of learning with other people of their calibre, eager to be innovative and to take on new challenges," says Shardelow.

"We find that after six months of returning to work many executives come to us to find out what is out there because they feel their talents aren't being used."

So if you are looking to build a candidate database. Find a list of recent grads from the local B School.

Source: Nurturing Leadership Talent
Are Men Out To Get Women?

Margaret Wente of the Globe & Mail thinks that men are afraid of successful business women. Of Martha Stewart, she writes:

Men are generally much harder on her than women are. In an informal focus group, conducted with the men in my immediate vicinity, I found that 100 per cent of them are dying to see her in the slammer. I chalk it up to primal fear. They really want to see a terrifyingly successful, domineering uber-female cut down to size.

Where did she take this poll? In Toronto, or Afghanistan? Anthony and I are not aware of such an attitude. But, maybe, we're dumb. Or, perhaps, as headhunters, we lead sheltered lives.

So, we'd be curious to know if you think this anachronism is still alive and well in people under 70. I hardly think so, but I'm willing to be surprised.

Find more here
People or Policy?

Margaret Wente has a funny article about corporate politics at The Toronto Star. She sees it as a showdown between two alpha males.

She has a tendency, however, to see things in gender-specific terms which causes her to confuse the importance of personal and policy differences even when she makes it clear that the latter was the key problem.

It's always easy to find John [Honderich] in a crowd. He's the supernaturally tall one with the bow tie and the six-foot grin. Whenever you say "How are you?" he says, "Terrific! Never better!" Even when he's not.

The only person who is more professionally upbeat than Mr. Honderich is Mr. Prichard, the man who fired him... It's always easy to find him in a room, too, because he's working it. His schmoozing skills make Bill Clinton look like an amateur.

A large part of the Star's mission, as Mr. Honderich saw it, was to afflict the comfortable. Much of Mr. Prichard's past success came from cultivating them. At U of T, he charmed millions in endowments from the pockets of the wealthy.

[Prichard] took to taking walks through the newsroom with people like Tony Clement and Gerry Schwartz in an effort to build bridges....this tactic generally makes reporters even more eager to burn them.

Mr. Honderich was no universal favourite either. "He's not a person you want to cross,"...Smug and arrogant are other, common adjectives.

"How they must detest each other.", says Wente. But, really, that doesn't seem to be the issue.

Find more here
Improve Your Image

Casting director, Sam Christensen teaches businesspeople to be as charasmatic as movie stars.

Great actors, apparently, have only a slight gap between how they feel and what they show. So he promotes self-disclosure.

He wants people to say, "I'm willing to be myself in front of you."

Why is self-disclosure powerful? Because people think, "He's honest about his limits and he's not shy about them either. He's got guts." And guts are attractive.

And, there's an easy way to get people to love your bad side.
Show them how they can benefit.

For instance:

Yeah, I'm a bastard, but that's why you want me on your side.
Yeah, I'm a pussy-cat, but that's why I'm nice to have around.
Yes, I'm ambitious, but I'm gonna take you and a lot of other good people with me.

So, how can you hate that?

Find more here
A Good Book For Losers

Striking out on interviews? This book teaches you how to settle for less.

Love It, Don't Leave it, 26 strategies for getting what you want by staying put.
Is Christmas Necessary ?

Do holiday sales matter to the overall economy? Not all that much. Because, apparently, they're only 3% of total personal consumption spending in the U.S.

For instance, in 2002, December accounted for 10.3% of non-auto retail sales. That's a disproportionate share but, again, not by much.

Find more here
Presenting Off the Cuff

You haven't prepared a presentation but, all of a sudden, you're called upon to do so.

Begin thinking about 2 things:

a) Your Objective: what do you want to accomplish with this impromptu

b) A Structure: what will be the beginning, middle and end?

It's good to think, on a general basis, about what you're doing with these two issues in mind. Ask yourself: If I was suddenly asked to sell what I'm doing, what would I say?

And here's another exercise that will build speaking muscles.

Open a book and choose a word at random. Then start talking for 60 seconds on that topic. The more you do it, the easier it will be.

Find more here
(January 22 - February 3/2004)

End of season clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women.
Gucci, Armani, Versace, Anne Klein, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Episode, Hugo Boss, etc.

Include clearance, discontinued and end of season products. All merchandise is at least 60% off original retail prices.

Address: 370 Steeles Avenue West, Thornhill, Ontario, L4J 6X1
(Off Steeles Avenue, between Bathurst Street & Yonge Street)

Phone: (905) 886-7444

Open: Mon. to Fri. 10 –9; Sat. 10 – 6; Sun 12 – 5
Payment Method: Visa, MC, AMEX, Direct Payment.
A Joke

One morning, a CEO was opening mail from his company's suggestion box. Taking a single sheet of paper from an envelope he found written on it only one word:"Schmuck". Later that day, at a meeting of the board, he said, "I've known many people who have written letters and forgot to sign their names. But, today, I received a message from someone who signed his name.... and forgot to write the letter."

(Thanks to The Great Chimp).
The New, Cool Liquid Lunch

Uh oh! It's not the alcohol in wine that's good for your health. It's the large amount of polyphenolic compounds. And they're found in dealcoholized wine, as well.

Any wine can decrease hardening of the arteries. But drinking more than one glass of any alcoholic beverage can offset the benefit.

Find more here
New York, New York: The Leadership Secrets of Ed Koch

In my most trying days as mayor, when all looked difficult and sometimes impossible, I would think to myself, “Look, Koch, there are lots of people out there who are smarter than you are, and would have made better mayors, but they chose not to run.

And of those who ran, the people decided you were the one they wanted. So, all you can do is give it your best shot.

Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the critics and the political threats and consequences of doing what has to be done. Make decisions, and know that not every one of them will turn out to be right.

Find more here
Ed Koch: Advice on My 78th Birthday

Now my advice to anyone interested. Examine your professional life and decide whether or not you like what you are doing. Remember, that part of your life occupies not less than a third of your day.

If you really don't like what you are doing, get out as quickly as possible and find a professional pursuit that will make you feel fulfilled. You should want to run to work every morning because you enjoy doing what you're doing.

As for your personal life, I can't help you much. If you are unhappy and have done all you can to make your relationships better but failed, end those relationships. Life is too short to be miserable.

Find more here

Note: Ed Koch was mayor of New York three times. He never married and doesn't have any kids.
Career Advice, From The Front

Great, another career book!

Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It (McGraw-Hill, 216 pages, $31.95).

It's by Davey D'Alessandro. In Y2K, at age 49, he became the youngest CEO ever at John Hancock Fin Svcs and the only marketeer to get to the top of a major insurance company. Wow!

Now, he's pushing career advice for other ambitious guys and gals like our readers. And here it is:

Large firms are not run by reason. Advancement is driven by judgements based on stereotypes, instant evaluations by the boss, or the way your peers perceive you -- accurate or not.

Therefore, to be properly noticed, you've gotta create a personal brand.
Here's how the author did it:

As a young man, Dally was called in to meet with his boss. He was sure that he was about to be fired so he was feeling very tense.

When he was told he was going to be promoted, he was so shocked that he barfed straight at the boss, with incredible force.

It obviously worked - maybe the boss liked his energy - but if you try it don't say I told you.

Here are more great rules:
1. Never show you're smarter than your boss.
2. Don't bad-mouth your boss - unless asked to by his boss.
3. Jump ship when your boss can't help your career.
4. Don't bring a date to the company picnic (might tarnish brand).
5. Hire lots of skeptics who tell you when you're wrong. (Yeah, sure).

Find more here and here and here.

For the basics of Branding see our posting of Sun. Jan. 18/04 entitled Brand Your Company For Recruiting. (Click the Archives at the right).
Great Satan BizWatch: Marcus Gee, You're Scaring Me, Stop!

In more than an hour spent addressing the American people, the U.S. President devoted one sentence to the biggest threat to the financial future of the United States: the soaring federal-budget deficit. Instead of dwelling on that unpleasant topic, he promised new spending and lower taxes.

He praised Congress for passing a multi-billion-dollar prescription-drug benefit for seniors. Yet, he urged it to extend the multi-billion-dollar tax cuts that have already blown such a hole in Washington's budget that even the International Monetary Fund is worried.

His one concession to fiscal prudence was a promise to limit the growth of discretionary spending to 4% a year. He wouldn't say how, except by cutting "wasteful spending," a pledge that has surely been made by every president since Washington.

Mr. Bush was just as dismissive about trade, claiming in a single glancing sentence that "my administration is promoting fair and free trade . . . to create jobs for American workers."

It is doing nothing of the sort. By imposing tariffs on foreign steel and handing out billions in trade-distorting subsidies to U.S. farmers, Mr. Bush showed early on that he would always put domestic political advantage over his rhetorical commitment to open trade.

From Marcus Gee, The Globe & Mail: Friday, January 23, 2004. Find more here
Finkel's Success Tips For Headhunters - Part 1

1) Get to the office by 8:30.
2) Don't read in the office.
3) Don't talk in the office.
4) Don't surf in the office.
5) Don't leave the office early.
6) Personal calls are business-killers

Sounds silly, doesn't it? But I fall short on every one.

Find more here
Finkel's Success Tips For Headhunters - Part 2

I'm on a Finkel kick.

1. Fill out your daily planner.

A good guy who plans beats a great one who doesn't.
All top producers plan.

2. Five Calls before 9:30

Surveys show: most business sales are made before noon.

3. Develop a Call Addiction

After 5 calls, give yourself a reward. No calls, no reward.
(A reward is a coffee or whatever works. I like the latter).

4. Five new business prospecting calls every day.

5. Thirty business discussions per day.

6. An Interview a Day

A first phone contact between candidate and client counts.

8. Careers are made after hours

Three days a week: read a chapter in a biz book, critique your calls or watch part of a biz video.

Find more here
Put A Sign On Your Telephone

According to recruiting guru, Steve Finkel

Making a change in one's telephone style requires ongoing reminders. And, there is no better reminder than a small sign taped to your phone.

Find more here
It's how you train puppies, and it's how you train people

ClickerSolutions is dedicated to teaching training and management techniques which are understandable and reinforcing to both human and animal.

Some testimonials:

Karen Pryor's "Don't Shoot The Dog" changed my life. What works with animals works with humans and I find myself far less stressed because I am able to find operant solutions to everyday problems.

One of the nurses was overworked and treating her patients curtly. I could have verbally leash popped her for rushing the patient, who happened to be MY husband. But I chose instead to find an operant solution so that I could get the behaviors I wanted.

Hats off to Steve Finkel who told me this was true.
Managers Benefit From Interviewing

A manager should treasure the opportunity to interview as many candidates as possible for openings on her team. Here's why.

When managers are interviewing they are promoting the brand to potential customers. And, more important, they are learning about the best practices and errors of other companies. It's an invaluable opportunity that they won't often have.

Find more here
Psychology At Work: My Big Fat Hippocampus

The Hippo Campus is a veterinary college in Central Africa. It's also a region of the brain involved in mood disorders -- and it's smaller in depressed people.

Here's why: stress increases hormones (like cortisol) which inhibit cell multiplication in the hippocampus. Prozac causes an increase in cell proliferation - which seems to work against depression. So does exercise.

Mice with access to a running wheel have twice as many multiplying cells in their brains as mice which get no exercise.

So, should you put a gym in the office? Maybe not a gym, but a running wheel can't hurt. And how about some sunflower seeds while you're at it.

Find more here
The Will To Win

We often hear that 'the will to win' is a key to success. But where does this will come from? Are we born with it or can we acquire it?

Professor McDougall, a famous psychological writer some 40 years ago, believed that the seemingly useless practice of each day taking all the matches out of a matchbox and, one by one, arranging them in a line on a table, was an exercise that would strengthen will-power.

Find more here
On-the-Job Relief - The Forgotten Art of Hydrotherapy

Stuffed up? Got to work anyway? Quick relief is coming your way.

Fill a glass with lukewarm water. Add a touch of salt and sniff a bit of it into your nose. If you're feeling bold, you can sniff it into one nostril and snort it out the other.

It's fine if some of the water drains into the mouth. Simply spit it out. But, above all, don't let anybody see you !

Find more here
Assessing Corporate Culture - Some Questions To Ask

What are the main:
1. Problems your people tell you they're having?
2. Things your people tell you they're happy about?

How does the company:
1. Keep its employees informed?
2. Get feedback from its employees?

What is the turnover rate?
Which departments are highest and lowest?

What is the personality of the CEO?

Does the company have a clear directive on how to manage conflict?

How effective is the existing culture?
Are there any areas that need dramatic change?

Does the organization value excellence?
What are the indicators?

Are there 4 or five 5 deeply held principles in the company?
How are they are manifested, specifically?
Are You Overpaid?

Well according to this Calgary Herald story you might be if you work in any of the following professions:

1 Heads of government agencies and corporations.
2 Auto workers in unionized shops.
3 Executives of technology companies.
4 Senior pilots for major network carriers.
5 Bank executives.
6 Lacklustre professional athletes.
7 Beer salespersons
8 Mergers and acquisitions consultants.
9 Municipal bureaucrats.
10 University professors.

Notice headhunters aren't on the list? Think about that the next time you are trying to nickel and dime us on fees.

In case you are wondering what the norm is in Canada:

The average income of a Canadian over 15 with a university certificate, diploma or degree in 2001: $48,648. The average Canadian personal income the same year: $28,076.

Slow News Day in Kansas

Executive recruiter opens one-man office
Identify A Candidate's Acceptance Criteria

Before an interview, ask the candidate to list and grade her decision criteria.

This will help you see if your job is a fit. It also allows you to feature areas of the job that will interest her.

If she likes rapid promotion, identify the average and the quickest times in which any new hire has been promoted in the last two years.

If she wants learning, give her a list of the resources and mechanisms you have for learning.

Find more here
Brand Your Company For Recruiting

A brand defines what you stand for, your core beliefs about you.
It's the Value Proposition you offer to the market.

A Brand Architecture lays out the key elements of the brand.

Drivers: are the benefits that influence customers to buy.
You determine your brand architecture by focusing on the Key Drivers

Cost-of-Entry Drivers: are the benefits any brand in your field must deliver.

Differentiation Drivers: are benefits that separate you from the competition.
Your distinct benefits might not be on the buyer's mind. You might have to educate her to generate interest.

Preference Drivers: are benefits customers see as crucial. They are your trump cards.

Find more here
Ready To Fight Tonight

Does military experience translate into business success?
According to Semper Fi Consulting, the answer is yes.

The average kid enters college to prolong his adolescence. But a young woman who joins the military enters a school of leadership in which she learns to make life and death decisions on the battlefield.

Which breeds resilience, they ask, in good times and bad?

From Semper Fi Consulting (Business Leadership The Marine Corps Way)
Note: this specific issue of their newsletter has not yet been posted.
A Good Dose of Drucker.

A common theme in the business press in the US and to a lesser degree here in Canada has been the persistent trend of large companies outsourcing jobs to India and other cheaper locales. As recruiters we don't like to hear about jobs disappearing. In the '80's we were fed a great deal of hysteria in the media about manufacturing jobs disappearing and the irreparable harm it was doing to our economy. 20 years later and our economy has suffered no ill effects but is it different this time.

Some pundits have suggested things are different this time and these are white collar jobs that we are losing. Are they right?

Whenever the media begins to make economic predictions a safe bet is to consult with someone who is clear headed, knowledgable and who has been right more often than wrong.

Such a man is Peter Drucker. At 94 Drucker is still going strong and as sharp as he has ever been. Fortune Magazine published an interview with him recently and Drucker had this to say:

The structure of the U.S. economy is remarkably different from what everybody thinks. Nobody seems to realize that we import twice or three times as many jobs as we export. I'm talking about the jobs created by foreign companies coming into the U.S. The most obvious are the foreign automobile companies. Siemens alone has 60,000 employees in the U.S. We are exporting low-skill, low-paying jobs but are importing high-skill, high-paying jobs

Wage cost is of primary importance today for very few industries, namely ones where labor costs account for more than 20% of the total cost of the product—like textiles. I don't know what proportion of the cost of a typical American product is attributable to labor, but it's a small and shrinking one. Take automobile parts. Because of my consulting, I happen to know the internal cost structure for one of the world's biggest auto parts makers. They tell me that it is still very much cheaper to produce in this country—or maybe in conjunction with a maquilladora plant along the Texas-Mexico border—than to import, because the parts, while labor-intensive, are also very skill-intensive to design and make. When that's the case, you're still better off producing in this country. So the belief that labor costs are a main reason for producing outside the U.S. is justified for only a very small segment of industry.

Consequently, the industries that are moving jobs out of the U.S. are the more backward industries. The U.S. remains the cheapest place in the world to produce for many of the more advanced industries. I say that not because our wages and salaries are so low. They aren't. But employee benefits are much cheaper than in Europe, and American workers are more flexible. I don't just mean you can move people out of accounting and into engineering here; I mean physically moving people from Chicago to Los Angeles. Don't you dare try that in Germany. They won't go. That's one of the absurd byproducts of their huge and restrictive employee benefits: It's cheaper to allow someone to remain unemployed in the Ruhr than to move him to Stuttgart for a real job. The same thing is true in Japan.

So what I call "invisible" costs are quickly beginning to be more significant than direct labor costs. These are pension costs, benefits and health-care costs, and especially something nobody has yet assessed, which I call "reporting" costs, which are basically associated with complying with regulations, taxation, labor relations requirements, and the like.

Rather than reproduce the whole article here (I have no wish for Fortune's Lawyers to contact me). I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the issue; it's the one with the "100 Best Companies to Work For" cover story. It is available online but only if you have a subscription. But hey there are worse things to do with your money. Trust me.

Rumbo: The Leadership Secrets of Donald Rumsfeld

Donald Rumsfeld is commonly believed to be a man who likes running toward the smoke.

He ran the Ford White House after the trauma of Watergate and turned GD Searle around after it had racked up eight losing quarters.

And, as the 13th and 21st US Defense Secretary, he's been both the youngest and oldest person to hold that office.

In the 1970s, Rumsfeld published a long list of bland aphorisms under the title, Rumsfeld's Rules

Now, author, Jeffrey Krames, has built a book around them. It's called The Rumsfeld Way: The Leadership Wisdom of a Battle-Hardened Maverick.

Midge Decter has also written about Rummy. Her book's entitled, Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait. And, according to Deborah Kalb

One gets a picture of a supremely self-confident man, one who is perfectly capable of charging into a situation and changing it to his liking, while in the process alienating some of those around him — but remaining so convinced that what he’s doing is right that he’s able to sail through situations that might undo more insecure beings.

Apparently, he's always been that way. So, what does that mean? That he's got leadership genes? And, if so, can other people learn what he knows automatically?

Here's a blog by a Rumsfeld-Hater
And here's one by a Rummy-Lover

And, here are some of Rumsfeld’s Rules:

If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
If you develop rules, never have more than 10.
Learn to say, “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be often.
It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.
If in doubt, move decisions up to the president.

Don’t accept the post or stay unless you have an understanding with the president that you’re free to tell him what you think ‘with the bark off,’ and you have the courage to do it.

Develop a personal relationship with the chairman and each of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a time of crisis, those relationships can be vital.
Forced Ranking: Life Is A Bell Curve, She Said, Get Used To It

Managers hate firing people. The solution: forced ranking. 10% of employees are designated as top performers, 80% as unspectacular and the remaining 10% as bottom-feeders.

The stars get bonuses and training. Poor performers get nothing. And most people who get nothing leave the firm on their own.

Opponents of forced ranking claim that it makes colleagues over-competitive. They won't help people they're competing with. Another disadvantage is the high cost of turnover.

Even proponents don't believe it should be done every year. The first time you're cutting obvious fat but by the third time, you're getting down to the bone.

Forced ranking was popularized by Jack Welch at GE. Now, 20% of large companies use it. Often, it is only applied to senior managers and executives.

Want more? It's here

Thanks to John Holmes for suggesting that we open our links in new windows. And thanks to the Irish Eagle for teaching me how.
Typing Skills? None. Filing Skills? None. Killing Skills? Many

Nothing worse than out of work candidates with guns.

Angolan Temp Agency Teeming With Mercenaries

"A few months ago, we had an employer who had five mercenary openings on a team that he was sending into Namibia to overtake a rice convoy," said Jonas Lukamba, manager of the Manpower Professional Servicing branch in Menongue. "But since then, there has been nothing. We held a weekend workshop to train a group of kidnappers, torturers, and renegade pilots on Excel, but the seminar ended in bloodshed."

A Simple Message Aids Persuasion

If consumers will only skim an ad, you have to make it memorable at a glance. So, the manner of delivery is just as important as the content.

The same is true of the news. Busy people need to get an instant understanding seeing 60 seconds of TV. Not much can be conveyed in 60 seconds, but the simplicity of the message helps them absorb whatever they are able to see.

Let's apply this rule to recruiting.

A Recruiter has only seconds to get someone to decide to speak to her. So, she has to make her message simple enough to allow an uninterested party to absorb it immediately and act.

Find more, here
Mad Cow Not Serious Economic Problem

30 countries have stopped buying American beef but MacDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, the top burger chains, say that their business has not suffered.

If McDonald's is correct and U.S. consumers actually are not shying away from beef, then the main effect of the scare is on export sales, which account for less than 15% of all U.S. beef sales.

Find more, here.
Treat candidates like customers.

Treat talent in a customer service manner. This means responding to inquiries rapidly, giving them feedback on how well they're doing and doing post mortems to identify why they failed to accept your offer.

Candidates need to be asked during and after the process "How well did we treat you?"

Find more, here
How to Assess Ability to Work With Others

1. Pick a real problem that requires teamwork and cooperation. One the candidate will face in the first month on the job.

Have her walk you through the steps she would take to handle the problem.

If she minimizes or leaves out steps in which you would want her to get input from others, you're in trouble.

2. Give her several different scenarios on how a problem can be approached. Have her pick the one she would use. If she picks teamwork over the individual scenarios you've got your woman.

3. Ask the Candidate to list the situations in which she would act on her own. See if any run counter to corporate expectations.

Find more here
Do you work here?

Fortune has come out with it's annual Best Companies to Work For list.

Surprise JM Smucker tops the list this year for it's "gimmick free" management style. Fortune is obviously trying to distance itself from the type of trendy companies that held the business press in thrall over the last decade (Enron for example).

However the article got me to thinking - What makes a company good to work for? Do you like your company? Why or why not? If anyone has any input please share with us in the comments section.

Red China BizWatch

Robyn Meredith
China's growth will hit 9.5% in 2004, up from 8.5% in 2003. But that doesn't mean China has great companies. Most Chinese managers don't know what serving shareholders' interests means and lack the training to run their companies well.

China's banks are insolvent because 40% of their loans are worthless. The government will inject $100 billion into the Big 4 banks to get the bad debt down to 30%. And Regulators will make sure more government money won't wind up funding more bad loans.

Richie Morais
China will not drive global economic and political events in the next years but will hit a brick wall. Politically driven investments will cause a decade of political and economic turmoil. China will eventually make the painful political and economic changes necessary to right the problem.

Benny Fulford
The Chinese appetite for food and energy makes investing in big food producers in Argentina, NZ and Aussie a cheap way to catch a ride with China's fast growth. Energy co's with large ops in the Russian Far East, Indonesia and Aussie will profit from being close to China. Global mining companies should do well. As Chinese demand drives up fossil fuel prices, high-cost oil sources like Canada's tar sands, and makers of solar cells and windmills will benefit.

Find more, here
Great Satan BizWatch: Happy New Year!

The US economy is in terrible shape. Giant deficits are going to push up interest rates and squeeze growth beyond next year. The shift of mfg and svc jobs outside US will mean less consumer spending. Finally, foreigners are taking investment dollars elsewhere.

From Benny Fulford at Forbes. Hey, everybody, let's hope this guy's wrong.
Competition Everywhere

Online for a week and already it's starting.

The Truth Laid Bear features a New Blogs Showcase. To join, you vote for three other entries. I joined. Here are my choices.

Flummery: Political satire featuring fake news stories. It made me laugh.

Greater Nomadic Council has a long review of a book about advertising and the 1960s. He claims that we are still rebelling against the 50s.

I disagree. The 50s were never really left behind. Some pre-modern authoritarianism was dumped and, ironically, certain aspects of modern culture were also muted. But the latter came back in the 1980s in a cultural self-correction and we have been living in a surprising mix of the fifties and sixties ever since.

Since 2001, most of our rebellious spirit has been absorbed in a battle with the middle ages on the global scene. And, to some extent, this has forced fifties and sixties types to recognize eachother as allies on the side of liberal freedom.

December 17. I like the ongoing tag line: Recovery Starts Today. And I liked the style of writing about his quasi-heart-attack. It made me want to read on.

Thanks to Being American In T.O. and to Metastasis for their comments on us.
Those Krazy Kandidates

I've been working on a search at the Director-VP level. It's a good job and many people find it attractive. But, as you know, many are called and few are chosen. And those who aren't chosen sometimes don't take it very well.

This past week I've had two ambitious people try to go around me by sending their resumes directly to the client themselves. Here's how one justified her action (in so many words):

"Yes, I agree that where good recruiters are concerned they generally do make good calls on who to put forward. On the other hand, we get the chance to be reviewed for other opportunities if we hazard a shot and go over the wall".

Other opportunities? She closed by saying she'd be glad to help me source people in the future and reminded me that if there's ever any opportunity that sounds like it would suit her, hey, why not give her a call. Yeah, why not? Anyone need a bold candidate?

If so, here's another. This guy told me his wife delivered his resume to the company without his knowledge.
How much do you earn?

This column in the Seattle Times says that you should resist all attempts to get you to disclose your salary during a job search.

A number of reasons are given but really it boils down to one: If you give out your salary the offer will be based on that rather than your ability.

This has some truth to it but unless you feel ashamed about how much you earn there should be no reticence on your part about disclosing it.

Many candidates I have dealt with were uncomfortable telling me what salary they earned. One actually told me it wasn't any of my business. I hung up on that candidate.

Look. You shouldn't give your salary out to your friends and neighbors but headhunters are like career doctors and just like you wouldn't drop your trousers for your neighbors but would for your doctor you should be willing to be frank and open with a headhunter about salary expectations.

There are only three scenarios:
1 You are overpaid. If this is the case you wont get an offer from many companies and also the recruiter should tell you if you are priced above the market.

2 You are paid the going rate (and trust me most headhunters have a rough idea what you should be making - so we aren't surprised). If you are paid the going rate then your offer will be competitive.

3 You are underpaid. This is the only reason people should feel uncomfortable about divulging salary is if they think they are underpaid. If you feel you are underpaid tell your headhunter: here is what I am making however I feel I am far below the market price. I will not accept any offer lower than this (whatever your target price is). If you are worth it and if your expectations are in line, don't worry you will get what you are worth. But this silly game about not divulging your salary only makes you look uncooperative and like you have something to hide.

In addition many compensation packages today go far beyond base salary. Unless a headhunter is completely aware of all the factors surrounding your total compensation it is very difficult to structure a competitive offer.

Assessing Corporate Culture

I spoke to an interesting guy today who told me that the culture of a company is entirely determined by the big boss. To find out about it, you've got to talk to people who've worked there before and ask them questions about the leader.

A) Does he tell the truth? and - B) Does he lead by example? Does he walk the talk? Any hint of a "No" and you don't join that firm. He knows from hard experience.

Will he ask a chief executive tough questions to his face while being interviewed? He does, but only since he's at the Director level himself and has a secure financial base. Inotherwords, if you're junior and desperate, it's a bit like playing Russian Roulette.
Thanks To All My Friends

Thanks to the Irish Eagle for helping me format my quotations. I don't even know the guy but I sent an email - to Ireland - asking him what to do and, a few minutes later, I got a reply.

And, thanks to The Meatriarchy for his ongoing support. He's a great Newfoundlander

And, speaking of Newfies, a hat tip to Damian Penny, an inadvertent mentor for the past couple of years.

Drinks for one and all.

Good News for Music Biz

The legal onslaught against Internet song-swappers is having its desired effect. The percentage of Americans who download music on-line has been sliced in half.

The plunge largely affected peer-to-peer downloading, and was attributed to the Recording Industry Association of America's strategy of suing nearly 400 individual song-swappers for copyright violations since September.

No Canadian music robbers were pursued.

Find more here
Do You Know Who You're Working For?

Who runs your company? Forbes Magazine hints that Parmalat, the Italian mega-dairy, was funded by the mafia and that it went bankrupt when the guys wanted their money back.

Parmalat got its first break when Italy began to privatize public companies in the early 1980s. As in Russia, mysteriously well-funded entrepreneurs were able to buy good businesses in a less-than-open process.

Parmalat bought seven municipal dairies and then, somehow, found the financing to expand into major holdings in ten countries.
Pissing People Off: The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell

Colin Powell is one mean dude. He's just as tough as Donny Rumsfeld, only dignified. At least, that's what Oren Harari thinks.

His proof ? A handful of quotes.
Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.

I'll be frank. From time to time, I'm going to make you mad as hell.

I only have to do so much compromising. There comes a time when I can just say, 'Do it!'
Need more convincing? I'm not surprised.

Here's an excerpt from the book.
I've Got You Under My Skin

Soon, employees will punch in and out of the office by scanning a microchip implanted in their foreheads (okay, their arms).

The VeriChip, from Applied Digital, is the size of a grain of rice. It will replace all debit and credit cards, allow for handy storage of medical records, and, of course, add a new dimension to armed robbery.

Find more here
Digging Into Major Accomplishments

Tell me about your most significant accomplishment. This entails:

1) Specific results - 2) How long it took - 3) Importance to the company
4) Why you were chosen - 5) Three or four biggest challenges and how you dealt with them

6) Examples of leadership and initiative - 7) Major decisions made
8) Resources and how you made more available - 9) Technical skills you needed - 10) Technical skills learned and how long it took

11) Role you played - 12) The team and reporting relationships - 13) Biggest mistakes you made - 14) How you changed - 15) What you would do differently

16) Parts of the project you enjoyed - 17) Aspects you didn't care for
18) Budget. Your role in preparing and managing it - 19) How you did on the project vs. the plan

20) How you developed the plan - 21) How you motivated and influenced others (examples) - 22) How you dealt with conflict (examples) - 23) Anything else you felt was important to success

Ask for 2 to 3 individual and team accomplishments for the past 5 to 10 years. See the growth over time.

Ask about accomplishments that relate to your specific needs (eg, "Describe your biggest accomplishment in setting up manufacturing scheduling systems.")

The answer could take 15-20 minutes. Few people can give this information without prompting.

Find more here
How to Assess Motivation

A common mistake: Hiring people who have the skills, but are not motivated to do the work required .

To assess motivation, ask the Candidate to describe her favorite work experience ever. Dig deep. Find out what gave her the most personal satisfaction.

Then look for a pattern of this motivation in earlier and subsequent assignments. If it's comparable to what you need done, you've probably found a person motivated to handle your job.

Find more here
Ridiculous Business Books

Write a humdrum business book. Give it a title that has nothing to do with the content. And you've got Leadership Sopranos Style.

Debbie Himsel saw an episode in which Tony asks for blunt feedback. "Give it to my face," he says.

And from that she concluded that Tony is the kind of manager you want to be. Well, maybe he is but only because he doesn't follow her instructions.

Here's her advice. Does it sound like you-know-who?

1. Create an atmosphere of trust.
2. Let people speak freely.
3. Don't get defensive.
4. blahblahblah, blahblahblah, blahblahblah

Here's how Tony really talks:

Parvati: There's a Zuni saying: for every 20 wrongs a child does, ignore 19.
Tony: There's an old Italian saying: you fuck up once, you lose 2 teeth.

David: Tony, I'm sorry; I'm sorry. I'm just having some bad luck!
Tony: Yeah? It just got worse.

There's more here.

You wanna take "Tony's" leeduhship quiz? It's here.

More rip-offs from the Sopranos:
The Psychology of the Sopranos
The Tao of Bada Bing: Words of Wisdom from the Sopranos
A Goomba's Guide to Life
The Sopranos Family Cookbook
How to Assess Candidate Fit

Give a Candidate a long list of cultural factors.

Ask her to rank her top 5 - those in which she does her best work.
She should also rank those she finds intolerable.

Now, you can see if your job fits her cultural needs.

Source: How Many Turkeys Do You Hire? by the famous, Dr John
Why New Hires Fail

New hires don't fail because they lack technical skills.

They fail because recruiters don't check:
a) ability to work with others
b) candidate fit with the corporate culture.

Technical skills are easy to determine by giving candidates:
1) skills tests
2) if / then scenarios
3) a real world situation to handle.

OK, that's what the article says. But it sounds suspicious to me too.

Googlebomb Your Resume

Most internet service providers give you free space online for your own little website.

Post your resume there - and put a list of popular key words and phrases at the bottom that are connected with your job and industry.

When people do a search on those words they will find links to you.

The Meatriarchy, a current events blog, reported that when he happened to use the word "Eropuri" his hit-count sky-rocketed. So, keep in mind that online, your choice of words packs a lot of power.

More googlebombing ideas here.

Assessing Corporate Culture Quickly

Candidates often quiz me about the culture of a client company - as if it's easy to understand. It isn't. And, recently, I've met a number of bright, senior people who made a bad moves because they couldn't tell that their prospective employers had a leadership style or pace did not suit their own.

I'd like to create a checklist of questions an outsider can use to get a quick take on the indicators of a company's culture. If anyone has suggestions, please let us know.

Here are some articles on corporate culture.

Organizational Culture and Your Compatibility

Corporate Culture / Organizational Culture: Understanding and Assessment

Assessing Your Company's Culture: How Do You Measure Up?

Culture Club - Picking the Right Company fit for You

Corporate Culture

Cultural Evolution
Would you hire a genius? I didn't think so.

Dr Satoshi Kanazawa claims that crooks and geniuses do their best work by their 30's. So, I wonder how many make it in the corporate world.

I recently recruited a candidate at the Director level. He's earning a substantial salary and I think the guy's great. But he won't make it to first base with my client -- because he's only 30 years old. "The other managers won't give him any credibility." is the line.

Kanazawa thinks that testosterone forces men to do great things to impress women. And, once they get married that urge wanes. So, listen folks, you gotta get 'em while they're hot.
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