Against Assumptive Closing

BusinessPundit has a good discussion of sales technique. First he complains about traditional sales training:

Those of you with sales training know they drill you to "ask for the order."... this means that you make a presentation, reply to any questions or objections and immediately assume that the customer is going to buy. So you ask, "When would you like delivery" or "What options would you like on your widget?"
Then, he offers his own ideas:
Selling is about problem solving. Only sell to people who have a need for your product. If they don't realize they have a need, show them why they do. Don't try to sell them your widget. Develop a widget that they need. And don't keep asking for the order after each time you handle an objection. You'll drive a buyer crazy.

When I worked at Radio Shack, my manager insisted that we always step the customer up to the next level product. The rationalization was that customers would be happier with the more expensive item. But what really happened is that they refused to shop at Radio Shack again because of they got ripped off spending more money than they intended.

I threw their sales training out the window, and was the second highest salesman in my area. Why? Because people trusted me. I looked out for my customers and they came back. I sold them what best fit their needs, not what best fit mine. And that is what successful selling is all about.
There were some interesting comments, as well:

One of the most underrated aspects of salesmanship is listening. The sales rep who starts talking without making any attempt to draw the customer out is headed for failure. So is the salesman who uses stereotyped and pre-planned conversational forms. david foster

If the client isn't doing 75% of the talking you aren't going to get the sale, no mater how many nifty closing techniques you use. Chris O'Donnell
Tom Peters: Comments on Outsourcing

Short version:
Geography is now meaningless.
All first-world jobs are up for grabs by anyone in the world.
All government can do is create local environments conducive to growth.
The notion that God intended Americans to be permanently wealthier than the rest of the world, that gets less and less likely as time goes on. (Robert Solow, Nobel Laureate, Economics)

[Globalization brings] the true equalization of opportunity based upon merit [and] will reduce the unearned advantage in living standards that has been enjoyed by residents of advanced industrial societies throughout the 20th century. (Governor, Bank of England)
1. Off-shoring can't be stopped.
2. Service jobs are a bigger issue than mfg.
3. US wage advantage...bye bye

4. Free trade makes world safer and it hurts when you lose your job but tough luck.

Individuals, themselves, must make sure they have useful global skills to protect them from labor market upheavals.

Worker benefits should be portable to aid labor mobility.
(eg. health care, re-training credits, pensions)

5. Big companies dont create jobs. And they're not built to last.

Job creation is led by a small fraction of start-ups that become growth companies (Microsoft, Amgen, FedEx). So entrepreneurial incentives are a top priority (low capital-gains taxes and high R&D supports).

6. Education must stress creativity and innovation -- the mainstays of high-value added products and services.

Children should be nurtured on risk-taking, with a low expectation of corporate cosseting.

Research universities need strong support.

7. Protection of intellectual capital is imperative.

8. Broadband everywhere is a National Priority equal to the War on Terror.

9. Economic progression is a driven by technological advance (eg farm to factory to R&D lab.) Technology change is so vigorous for the foreseeable future that those who seize the moment have lots of opportunity.

Find more here via Gautam Ghosh
More On Resume Intros

Career Objectives

In order to satisfy my conviction for personal accomplishment, I am seeking a career that challenges my intellectual capacity, as well, incorporates my creative energies within a demanding employment.
I don't know where this fellow was convicted nor the personal accomplishment he was convicted for but, aside from his criminal record, he isn't telling employers much about the benefits they might receive if they hire him. And, that's quite typical.

Just in case our three regular readers missed it, I've added a postscript to my rant about Resume Intros and Exits (see Sun. Feb 22/04).

My addendum states that there is one useful type of introductory section in a resume and that is a Keywords section which lists all of the job titles, industry names, products and functions associated with the work you have done and intend to do. These will help a relevant resume be identified in an automated search.

Of course, there's nothing to stop the one and only janitor of a community centre from using the words Director, Maintenance, Institutional Buildings.

But that's the problem with keyword searches. If someone says she was the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Maintenance, she'll come up in a search for a Director of Maintenance, as well.
Recruiting: Generalize or Specialize ?

I just read an article that advises recruiters to generalize.

Recruiting is a core competency and a good recruiter can find any type of candidate. However, most organizations do not accept that reality and never will. Beware of being known as a just a technology recruiter or a finance recruiter.
He's got a point. Once you become expert in one area, people tend to stereotype you and refuse to consider you for any other assignments. But it's hard to be a generalist as well.

Last year we contacted lots of prospective new clients. They were willing to consider using us but every last one of them asked "What's your specialty?" When we said that we are generalists, they all lost interest. One guy, in retail, said "Look, you recruit two or three retail people a year. The recruiters I'm working with now recruit fifty."

He had a point. If you recruit a lot in a certain area, you understand the job requirements without having to be told, you understand the structure of the departments of the competing firms and, presumably, you already have some contacts in the field. So, you might have an advantage over even a very good recruiter who only dabbles in that specialty.

Steven Levy agrees. He claims that the biggest problem with recruiters is "lack of content knowledge" and says:

The best recruiters -- who are able to drill down and discern the great from the masses -- are the one's who possess an in-depth knowledge of functions, industries, etc. and continue to build this knowledge base year-after-year.

Recruiter training? Take college courses in areas pertinent to your practice. Become a regular attendee at CAD User Groups, etc.

As an engineer, I know several areas of technology very well. Yet I am frequently contronted with recruiters without a similar background who claim to be be able to assess talent based upon 'feel.'

This gut approach works great for assessing talent's alignment with your personality (and even here consider how many relationships go south) but not necessarily with the companies. And skills assessment is an entirely different issue.
Check Your Site's Popularity

Link Popularity Check is a FREE program that checks the popularity of your web site on several search engines and compares it to other web sites on the Internet (for example your competitors).
Free Google Monitor

Free Google Monitor software allows you to find the position of your web site in Google for popular keywords. It can run the same list of keywords for your website and that of your competitors so you can compare results.
Interview With A Gung-ho Recruiter

MRI (Management Recruiters International) has 600 offices worldwide.

The number one office for MRI since 1996 has been Kaye Bassman in Plano, Texas. Led by Bob Bassman they generated cash in of over $12million last year with 24 Recruiters and a support staff of 36.

Out of the top 10 recruiters in the MRI system world wide 6 came from the Kaye Bassman organization.

An interview with Bob Bassman can be downloaded as an mp3 file here
Techies Are Autistic

A Harvard psychiatrist says computer nerds are mildly autistic.

Proof? They talk like Mr Spock - formal, little emotion.
And they can't read people - no empathy.

Autistic kids also have difficulty connecting socially. They're hypersensitive and spend hours rocking or moving their hands rhythmically, to soothe themselves. (Bill Gates is reported to rock himself, spend hours on the trampoline, not make eye contact, and have trouble making social conversation).

The problem may lie in a part of the brain called the cerebellum which controls the shifting of attention. Children with cerebellar damage take six seconds to shift attention. This isn't fast enough to make out the fleeting changes of emotional expression and social information.

A smile erupts and disappears in a moment on a mother's face. The child with slow-shifting attention can't catch the smile or can't see what the mother is smiling at.

At best, he catches the shadow of her smile. Thus, he cannot tune in to people or share in a moment of joy. Later on, he may learn to tediously calculate what others are feeling.

Because attention shifting is slow, autistic people experience life as a series of freeze frames. They have trouble perceiving the whole. But they are far better than normal people at perceiving the parts. Some autistic artists can reproduce, in perfect detail, a building only seen once.

Find more here
Techies, Attention & Personality Typing

The idea that nerds are created by a slowness in their ability to shift attention opens the door to defining a whole range of personalities by this factor alone.

Let's apply it to the well-known Merrill-Reid Social Styles which defines 4 personality types: Analytic, Driver, Amiable and Expressive. (Techie, Task-Master, Social Worker, Prima Donna.)

The Analytic's attention moves so slow that he can't catch fast-moving emotional signals. Nor can he see what is prompting them in the environment. So, he is highly focussed on detail and has difficulty understanding other people's feelings (because this requires a broader perspective).

The Amiable's attention moves more quickly. It can grasp what people are feeling and what they are responding to. But he still tends to focus on detail which gives him a one-on-one, personal orientation.

The Expressive's attention is moving more quickly. He doesn't focus on detail and is more aware of the big picture. His attention doesn't move so fast that he is unaware of others' feelings but fast enough that he is not overly concerned with them. And certainly not for very long.

The Driver's attention moves very quickly. He is totally consumed by the big picture and has little awareness of or concern for other people's feelings.
Movie: The Headhunter's Sister

(USA, 1997, 96 min) Directed by Scott Saunders

Bob McGrath stars as Ray, a 40-something headhunter who lives the bohemian lifestyle of someone half his age... The film's characters give the impression of being vagrants with apartments...

There's something piercing in its lovingly detailed portrait of how "Our generation has managed to take the idea of youthfulness way beyond any attractiveness."... With in-your-face camerawork Saunders explores the lies we tell ourselves to keep from peeking over the edge.

Find more here and here and here
Being At The Table

Here's what being at the table means.

Whenever a company modifies its strategy, it affects every current employee and the company's future hiring needs. Who's at the meetings discussing strategic change?

Someone from:
- engineering to describe the technology challenges of the strategy shift.
- marketing & sales describing how to ensure market acceptance.
- operations describing how the product will be produced and delivered.
- finance & accounting to figure out how to justify & finance the project.

Someone should be also there from HR / Recruiting, trying to figure out how to staff the program and redeploy the company's current workforce.

If you're not invited, find a way in. Then contribute. That's how you get invited the next time.

Find more here
Strategic Recruiting

Here are some broad ideas on how Recruiting can become more effective at the strategic level.

If the company is technology driven, you must figure out how to hire the best technologists now and in the future.

If your company is customer or marketing driven, where are you going to find the best marketing people to brand your products to justify premium pricing and maximize market share?

If your company has a low-cost operational efficiency strategy, you'd better be thinking about where you're going to locate your factories, distribution centers, and call centers, and who will staff them.

If a decision is made to move the customer call center to India, HR should be involved. Same goes for decisions to outsource HR.

Find more here
Career Guru Run Down By Semi-Trailer

"You control your destiny" was his key message.

via Bald Monkey
An Introduction To Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a method of perfecting business processes. To reach Six Sigma status, a process can only incur only 3.4 errors per million.

Banks use Six Sigma to reduce errors in cheque processing to 34 per 10 million. Service industries use it to eliminate problems that lead to call-center inquiries.

In Human Resources, Six Sigma can track the habits of the top per cent and bottom per cent of performers. Metrics based on that data are used to develop a process that factors out low performers.

DMAIC is a key Six Sigma tool used to measure business processes.

It means: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control. The target process is defined, its performance measured. Problems identified. An improvement program outlined, defects removed.

Six Sigma tools are the same as TQM (Total Quality Management). But Six Sigma puts them into a well-defined method, teaching practitioners when to use which tools.

Here's how Six Sigma projects are organized. As you can tell, many of the job titles are drawn from the martial arts.

The CEO picks a Leadership Council from management. It defines the organization’s Six Sigma goals and decides if compensation will be tied to project results.

Six Sigma Champions are managers who select and oversees Six Sigma projects. They receive only a few days of training.

They also select Six Sigma Black Belts, each of whom directs an employee team charged with a specific task.

Black Belts receive at least four weeks of training and are usually assigned to Six Sigma full-time for two or more years. Master Black Belts train other Black Belts.

Green belts are members of 6 Sigma teams assigned to projects in their departments. They can be full or part-time. Yellow Belts are administrative assistants.

Find more here
How to Write Proposals

A good proposal has to point out an opportunity that has not yet been noticed. Or it has to prove that a problem can be solved better with you on board than without you.

Write on a 10th-grade level. Get rid of unprovable claims. Use headings that help scanning.

Be specific: “A 50-page instructional manual” packs more punch than “education and training.”

Use a 3-column grid to create summary sheet. On each row, list a need, your solution, and a space for comment.

Win or lose, find out why. Win-Reviews clarify expectations. Loss-Reviews identify missteps. Ask specific questions. “Did we miss a specific target?” Not “Why did we lose?”

Find more here
Tips For Better Teaching

1. A leader has to persuade. To persuade, you have to teach.

2. Students only want to learn when they see something important to them that they don't know.

3. A little human warmth gives people the courage to try something new.

4. Don't pretend you know everything. But make sure you know enough.

5. Repeat important points. It takes 3 hearings to remember.

Find more here
Resumes: Intros and Exits

Last year, a friend of mine asked me to help him with his resume. Over the years, he had worked at a number of very different jobs within the same company and he wanted to describe each of them in detail and still keep his resume down to two pages.

When we got short of space I told him to cut the Objective since it was just the usual pap and, also, to cut out the lines it took to write: space, References, space, Available on Request.

The more I suggested this, the more edgy my friend became. "Michael", he said with passion, "I spoke to a VP at one of our supplier companies. He is a very senior man and he said that these things are very important." I knew better than to press my case under these conditions but I still think I was
right. And here's why.

Let's start with references upon request. Are prospective employers going to think you're hiding something if you don't offer that invitation? No. If they want references, they'll ask with or without your invitation. You can consider that to be understood.

Now, let's look at Objective. People fill this area with a lot of fluff.

A guy sent me his resume the other day with this rather modest Objective.
To work in a challenging environment where I may apply my experience to fulfil the workplace needs.
Did he really have to tell me that? Chris Rock has a funny routine in which he criticizes guys who brag that they take care of their kids. "Take care of your kids!", he says, "So, what! That's what you're supposed to do!". Shouldn't it be taken for granted?

Sometimes people don't offer Objectives, they give a Summary instead. Here are some excerpts from a long one which I've cut down to a few key phrases.
Senior corporate xyz professional....Results-driven... innovative... continually ‘raising the bar’... passion for professional excellence... deliver exceptional results.
Does that tell me anything more than a bunch of hackneyed phrases? Here's another:
To secure a senior xyz role where my broad scope of xyz experience, coupled with strong analytical, planning, project management and collaborative skills can be applied to achieving strategic business and organizational objectives.
Again, a lot of bland generalities. You might think that this person is actually trying to tell me something about his strengths and experience. My experience, however, is that if you ask people questions about the things they put in the introductory sections of their resumes, they usually have a hard time coming up with an answer.

Here's what I mean: Can you give me some examples of your strong analytic ability? How did you raise the bar? Can you give me some examples of your passion for professional excellence? When you start asking these kinds of nit-picking questions, many people tend to get a bit irritated.

Here's something a little more substantial:
Legal Counsel with five years progressive experience in the xyz industry. A proven ability in structuring and negotiating substantial contracts, due diligence for mergers and acquisitions and demonstrated success as valuable counsel on key human resource matters.
My advice is to:

1. Put this general stuff in the cover letter.

2. Put it in point form (bullet format) so a reader can get the point at a glance.

3. If you want, you can actually back up some of these "headlines" with a few references to measurable or, at least, objective achievements.

4. Leave out the stuff that should be taken for granted, unless there is some way in which you can show that you were exceptional in this regard.

For instance, if you want to say that you're dependable, well maybe you should also indicate that you haven't missed one day in five years and that every last one of your projects was delivered on time in budget. Something like that. Otherwise, fuggedaboutit.

There is one problem with my approach. If so many people are convinced that a lot of gobbledy-gook is a necessary part of a good resume, then some employers, like my friend's authoritative VP, might think less of you if you leave it out. But, frankly, that's a risk I'd be willing to take.

PS: Keywords
There is one worthwhile substitution for the usual Objective or Summary section at the beginning of a resume. And this is a Key Words section. These days, resumes are stored in large electronic databases. People search these resume databases with job-related keywords so you might as well have a list of them right on the page.

Again, these words are job-related. They don't describe your personality or work-habits. Words like "Dependable" and "Self-starter" do not belong here. Words like "strategic sourcing", "purchasing", "procurement", various industries, products and programming languages do.
How To Be Unhappy

We can't tell you exactly how to get happy, but Dorothy Rowe has some good advice on how to stop yourself from being happy. And here it is.

1. Always be right.
If you grow up believing that the world is exactly as you see it, you will soon get into difficulties because events will keep disappointing your expectations.

So, if you want to be unhappy, spend your life insisting that your point of view is right even when everything associated with it is going wrong.

2. Discount simple pleasures
Many of us are forced by circumstances to live and work in ways which bring us little joy. We protect ourselves against a sense of unending misery by putting into every day some little activity which we enjoy.

So, if you don't want to be happy, don't pay attention to small pleasures.

3. Blame Yourself.
If you want to turn unhappiness into depression all that you have to do is tell yourself that you are worthless because of your role in causing whatever problems you have.

When you are unhappy other people can comfort you and you can comfort yourself, but when you are depressed you feel nothing of the comfort other people give you and you treat yourself as your own worst enemy.

4 . Refuse to tolerate the unpleasantness of change.
Most people find it very difficult to see their intellectual knowledge about happiness manifested in the way they act and feel. This is because they resist change.

There is always a risk that trying new things will lead to disaster and bring more unpleasantness than they already have. So, fear of unmanageable danger makes people settle for the status quo.

Therefore, if you want to be unhappy, all you have to do is maintain this negative prediction. And, lucky for you, that doesn't take much effort at all.
No Pain, No Gain

The Abateria, a gym located in Toronto's downtown business district, has introduced a new fitness program that is spreading like wildfire south of the border.

Abusercise, created by former US Marine Drill Sargeant, Dex Conniker, combines high levels of verbal abuse with a strenuous exercise routine.

"Our customers want to suffer when they come to the gym," says manager, Balwinder Chima. "We guarantee as much as they can handle."

Trained instructors deliver a barrage of verbal humiliation that drives a person to realize her potential. "It's really motivating," says Larry Splazatto, a personal trainer.

via Bald Monkey (Satire Alert: Anthony wants me to remind you that this is a joke swiped from a humour blog).
How To Recognize An Ideal (= Fantasy) Salesperson

1. He takes time to diagnose your problem.

He shouldn't describe his solution before he questions you methodically to uncover your problems.

He should ask questions you would not have thought of yourself so that he expands your understanding of the situation. This diagnosis takes time and hard work.

2. She lets you set the pace.

If a salesperson is there to serve you, she will not rush you. The last thing she will want to do is create mistrust or a confrontational atmosphere. She will do what is necessary to help you understand the best option.

3 She will help you calculate the cost of your problem and see it if makes sense to pursue a solution. (Vagueness is a red flag).

4. She won't allow project-creep that expands the purchase beyond reasonable parameters.

5. A good sales rep provides a competitive advantage.

Find more here
Canada Keeps Its Eye On The Ball

The writing is on the wall, isn't it? Eventually, to compete with the Far East, employees in the first world will have to drastically lower wages and standards of living.

Now, KPMG says that of the 11 major industrialized nations, Canada has the lead in being the cheapest place to do business. Great!

Find more here
Even More Rules For Leaders

1. Perfect people don't make you great. They're too cautious.
2. The first year with any company is the best.
3. Fixing weakness prevents failure, building strength brings excellence.
4. Think of your team as the people who pay you.
5. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
6. When you pay someone, that's a great time to give feedback.
7. Freedom is great when the boundaries are clear.
8. Don't lament change. Look for opportunities in disruption.
9. Promote brand awareness. Let everyone know what it can do and can't.
10. People don't fear change, they fear the unknown. Informed people don't fear change.

Find more here
How To Inspire Intense Devotion

1. In every deed, focus on one overriding aim: persuading the customer to return. If you look after getting repeat business, profit will take care of itself. The most important measurement is the number of returning customers, not the total number of customers.

In many cases, the option that brings the customer back isn't as easy to measure as the option that maximizes profit on the current transaction. This is where leadership comes in. It requires courage to take the unquantifiable option.

2. You have to win customers by appealing to them in ways that mean something to them. Finding out what you don't know about customer experience is the secret of success.

It's the explicit job of every employee to cultivate a bone-deep feel for the customer. If you believe you're in the business of serving the customer better, then you have to spend time in the customer's shoes.

The difference between being a customer yourself and waiting on a customer is amazing. What seems reasonable or even valuable from the perspective of the company is often glaringly wrong from the point of view of the customer.

Find more here
Ask The Candidate for Selection Criteria

Top performers should know what it takes to produce a high level of performance in their own jobs. So, ask candidates what criteria they would use to decide if a peer is an "A" player.

Then ask them to use those criteria to assess themselves. Perhaps, on a scale of 1 to 5. Then, have them provide the logic behind their grades.

Most candidates tend to spout generalities. So, you have to get them to talk in terms of specific work done, meaning projects accomplished on time, within budget, to the satisfaction of all concerned - or otherwise.

Then you see if you agree with their criteria and the grades and how they match your job spec.

Find more here
Intelligence Resting

Lewis Terman was the father of the standardized-testing industry.

He created the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. And he launched the Genetic Studies of Genius program to track children who scored well on the test.

He hoped that an impressive score would presage great accomplishments. But none of his prodigies won major science prizes or became important artists.

Two of his group, however, did achieve fame. Ancel Keys perfected the K-Ration and Jess Oppenheimer created "I Love Lucy".

And two students who were excluded from the study because their scores were too low, won the Nobel Prize (William Shockley and Luis Alvarez).

Find more here
Business Wisdom From The Wisdom Business

Here's some biz-wiz from The Medicine Woman's Guide To being In Business For Yourself (How to Live Your Spiritual Vision In a Money-Based World) by Carol Bridges.

Business is the art of fair exchange and, as such, part of the path of balance - depicted symbolically by the Medicine Wheel, a circle divided into four quadrants, one for each direction.

The teaching of the South is: Take charge. To get any idea off the ground, you've got to weed the garden. Leave only what you are trying to grow.

The West reminds us to to relax, enjoy change. It's going to happen anyway.

The North tells us how to relate to material things. The earth is seen as a living being. Material reality, EVEN MONEY, must be respected as a part of Her.

More contents:
Chapter 2 You Call Yourself A Shaman?
Chapter 4: Earth To Medicine Woman: The Bank Is Calling
Chapter 12 Be A Warrior: If you've read this far, the worst is behind you.
82% of Canadians Below Poverty Line

Poverty Action, a Toronto-based group, has released an influential report showing that 82% of Canadians are now living below the poverty line.

The report follows a new methodology for measuring poverty which recently revealed that 76% of Americans are poor.

"Many people think of poverty as an absolute term," says Poverty Action Director, Miles Van Diezil. "But academic studies from the sixties onwards have shown it to be a relative, socially-defined construction.

via Bald Monkey (Note: Anthony says that reality and satire are so similar that I have to warn you that this is a joke)
Red China BizWatch: Electronics Manufacturing

Today, 16% of electronics manufacturing occurs in developing countries. That percentage will double by 2005.

China gets about half of that production because its government offers highly subsidized financing and sometimes even provides facilities and equipment.

However, there are some limitations to the movement eastward.

1. Labor costs are rising in China, which reduces the benefits of moving production there.

2. The production of goods for the military isn’t being transferred there, for security reasons.

3. There are risks associated with weak intellectual property laws.

In response to these considerations, electronics companies are not shifting production of their most complicated products and cutting-edge technology to China to protect intellectual property.

And they are moving production out of coastal regions where labor costs are rising rapidly.

Find more here
Business Culture In Asia

An expatriate Australian sales manager slashed the corporate entertainment budget and told his salespeople to stop getting drunk with customers and get on the phone, or make ordinary sales visits. This approach, routine in Australia, proved disastrous. The Korean customers were used to being wined and dined.

A Western business visitor was annoyed by an Indian CEO interrupting their meeting for phone calls and discussions with others, on both business and private matters. However, it is part of the Indian CEO’s culture to do several things at once, in contrast to the Western preference for finishing one task before turning to the next.

An group of Australian business people thought they were making progress with a Thai group in negotiations to set up a joint venture. Every time they asked the Thais whether they were interested, the Thais would answer “yes”.

But it was part of their culture not to be so rude as to say “no”. A better approach for the Aussies would have been to ask “When will we be moving on to the next level of our business relationship?” The answer, by Thai courtesy principles, may have been “It is difficult at this time”. Enough said. The Australian group never got its deal.

A Malaysian manager uses meetings as a means of exercising power and a forum for communicating his decisions to others, who are then permitted to make constructive remarks. By asking critical questions, an Australian manager will cause the leader to lose face.

The Chinese in business are very hierarchical. Not only do managers expect employees to do exactly as they say, no excuses, they must also do it in the way specified.

Employees must also refer decisions to their bosses. If an Australian asks her Chinese counterpart a question by email, the Chinese employee must ask the boss whether it is alright to give the information.

Find more here
Call Basics For Recruiters

Focus on generating quality activity (marketing calls, recruiting calls, new search assignments etc.) without being attached to the results.

That means don't avoid a necessary task for fear of negative results. Be willing to experiment and improve your methods if things go wrong.

Have a simple system that makes it easy for you to track your key numbers (the number of calls vs the number of successful calls). And, use the numbers to refine your methods.

If there is a part of your day that you dread, do this first.

If you dread marketing calls, find a few methods of introducing yourself to a company that feel authentic and that you will not dread executing.

Then you can relax a bit and move on to less difficult tasks.

Find more here
My Pet Peeve

I'm very happy about women's liberation, but it has had one unfortunate consequence.

People used to use the masculine pronoun to refer to all people. This was obviously incorrect. One word can't mean two things. And, if you use a word that refers to a man, you are going to think of men even when that is not the intention. In this way, women used to be left out of the verbal picture.

The common solution to this problem, however, has been awful. Almost everyone seems to be using plural pronouns to refer to one singular person whenever the person in question could be male or female. And this sounds moronic.

Look at these lines, written by a professor.

"Call the references up and say something like this: "I want to thank you for giving us a reference for Mr./ Mrs. XYZ. Based on your recommendation we hired them and they turned out to be an excellent employee."

When he refers to Mr or Mrs XYZ, he is clearly referring to only one person. But, later in the sentence he says "they" turned out to be an excellent

"Next, call the candidate and tell them who referred you and why you're calling. Assess their interests and then sell them on the firm and the job. Also offer to send them additional material about the job and the firm".

Notice that the "candidate" (singular) is referred to as "them" (plural).

Here's my suggestion: use "he" or "she" indiscriminately when referring to one person. Just avoid using the same gender every time you write.

One gender is still being used to refer to both but with balanced use there won't be any discrimination against women or men. And, it won't make you sound like you just learned to speak English yesterday.

Of course, you could invent some new pronouns. 'e instead of he or she. Hem instead of him or her. The trouble is, no one would know what you mean.
Narcissists can be useful in the workplace

Following four experiments on 248 subjects, Dr Roy Baumeister concluded that people who want to be adored are masterful loafers who contribute little when no one is watching them. But if you need someone to make a crucial presentation or do something spectacular, they will be good to have around.

As defined by psychologists, narcissism is characterized by an inflated view of self, the quest for excessive admiration, an unreasonable sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, an exploitive attitude towards others, a proneness to envy, a wish to be envied, frequent fantasies of greatness, and arrogance.

Arrogance: The habit of arrogating, making undue claims in an overbearing manner which exalt the importance of the person to an undue degree.

Arrogate: To claim for oneself without right.
Overbearing: to be rudely domineering.
An Interesting Cover Letter

I have never parachuted out of an airplane or swam the English channel. Never participated in terrorist bombing campaigns or international money laundering. Never had sex (not even oral sex) with a White House intern. Never been involved in any shootouts with postal workers. I did not found an esoteric religious cult in which group members participated in bizarre rituals with poisonous snakes while chanting my name. I do not remember being abducted into flying saucers for medical experiments. I have never impersonated a census worker. Never been seriously injured during a volcano eruption. I am not responsible for global warming, nor have I ever publicly come out in support of it. I have never spanked a supermodel and never had a corndog. I have a PhD from Princeton.

Thank you,
Roy F Baumeister

Find more here
Only Quality Chocolate Gets You High

Chocolate improves your mood because it boosts a brain chemical called serotonin. Just like Prozac.

Run-of-the-mill chocolate doesn't work because its cocoa content is not very high. So, try these:

1. Valrhona chocolate which is 70% cocoa.

2. Bonnat, from France. It produces a 100% cocoa bar that has no sugar and is the most bitter of all the bars sold.
Quick Profits Can't Be the Main Goal

CEO's who run their businesses to get the stock price up and please their shareholders in the near term are putting their companies on a course of long-term decline.

Mission-driven companies accrue far more shareholder value than financially driven firms.

When raising the stock price is the priority, it takes precedence over considerations of marketplace competitiveness and customer satisfaction — which are crucial elements for building value over time.

And when top management runs out of options to immediately increase shareholder value, it tries to restructure to achieve financial goals.

Nonstrategic acquisitions, divestitures, consolidations, layoffs, and cutbacks follow.

By the time such restructuring is done, the corporation has lost its capacity for growth.

Impatient investors won’t give the CEO the time needed to revive the business. They press for a change in leadership or sale of the company.

But, the worst failing of being financially driven is that such a culture doesn’t rouse most people to strive for exceptional performance.

A few top execs have the promise of substantial wealth to motivate them. But they’re only a small fraction of the organization.

Financial incentives are far less meaningful for the majority of people who design, manufacture, and sell products and services.

Getting employees to feel a sense of purpose beyond making money is the only way for a company to consistently deliver innovative products, superior service, unsurpassed quality, and, ultimately, shareholder value.

Competitors can copy an innovative idea for a product or service. But an organization of highly dedicated people is hard to duplicate.

Furthermore, employees who place a high personal value on their work are remarkably resilient, even when cutbacks and layoffs are required.

In 1962, five years after Medtronic founder Earl Bakken invented the pacemaker, the company was near bankruptcy. Then Earl defined Medtronic’s mission: To restore people to full life and health.

This mission inspires employees to do superior work with dedication and passion. Leaders regularly refer to the mission before making strategic decisions.

And, it has led to spectacular results . From 1985 to 2003, shareholder value grew at a compound annual rate of 32%. Today, Medtronic is one of the 30 most valuable companies in the U.S.

Is the ability to create a meaningful mission limited to companies like Medtronic that are in the business of saving lives? No.

Being a leader in innovation has motivated the employees of 3M to be creative throughout the company’s history.

Intel employees are unwavering in their efforts to keep their company on the forefront of technology.

Microsoft employees are inspired by integrating all the software their users need into a single, highly functional system.

For the past 10 years, Wells Fargo has focused on providing superior customer service, expanding its network of branch banks throughout the Midwest and West.

By contrast, US Bancorp which is also based in Minnestoa, concentrated on cost cutting and centralizing services.

At first, it seemed as if U.S. Bancorp had the superior strategy, because its stock soared when cost cutting led to large profit increases.

But lack of attention to the customer and problems with employee morale eventually caused revenue and earnings growth to stall.

Its stock lost over half of its value, leading to the company’s sale to a smaller Milwaukee banking group.

In contrast, Wells Fargo’s growth was steady and its shareholder value is now double that of U.S. Bancorp.

Only by having a meaningful mission and supporting its pursuit, will companies survive and increase the value they can deliver to customers, employees, and their shareholders.

Find more here
Something I've Told Candidates for Years:

Work Like a Headhunter to find the Right Job

Nic Corvello of Ask The Headhunter has a regular column in the Seattle Times where he answers questions from job-seekers from a headhunter's perspective.

I don't always agree with him but he is bang-on with this one:

1. Find out exactly what work the company needs to have done. This is usually different from what the job description says.

No it's always different from the job description. Most job descriptions are written in such vague language that you could never tell what the real job is.

Here are two other excellent questions to ask:

What is the first project I will be working on? This give you an idea of what the real priorities are. Sell your skills based on that.

At the end of my first year how will you know if I have been successful? This gives you hard information as to how they are measuring your performance. Sometimes they won't have an answer - this could be a good or bad sign depending on your headspace.

Read all the article here.

Which Idiot Do you Work For?

Good piece over at MBA Jungle about dysfunctional bosses.

Sometimes, stupidity disguises itself. At other times, it announces its existence with a bugle. "At this major business-to-business publisher where I worked," says Anne, a former marketing director, "they hired some guy out of retirement to run web development, and he didn't know how to use an Internet browser."

I just hope some recruiter got a fee for the placement.

Read the whole thing here.
CEO Conspiracy Update

A lot of people are coming to the site in search of info about the conspiracy accusations against a Toronto CEO.

Here's an update for them: Petraitis free on $3.15 million bail

Alex Petraitis, ex-chair of mag wholesaler Metro News was released from jail last Friday on $3.15 million bail.

Petraitis, his son Ian and James Neill each guaranteed $1 million toward the bail amount.

William Thomas Neill pledged $50,000 and Prologix Distribution Services president Mitch Massicotte pledged $100,000. Prologix is co-owned by Metro News and The News Group (a Jim Pattison firm).

Find a bit more half way down this page
How to even out your placement activity

I tend to be a monomaniac.

I get a search, my client tells me that it's very urgent, and I focus on that one thing to the exclusion of all else. But, apparently, that's not a good way to make money.

And, this article offers a different approach:

When you have a hot deal in progress it is easy to ignore other activities. Resist this urge.

To keep your paycheck balanced, you must keep your activity balanced by doing a little bit of each part of the business everyday. For instance: marketing, recruiting, seeking new search assignments.

Spend 30-45 minutes at the end of each day planning the next day's calls. It's one of the key differences between big billers and marginal ones.

It helps you to stay on course when urgent but less important things come up during the day. At least plan your first 20 calls or plan from 8 AM to 12 PM.

Confusion is the chief cause of worry. Having a plan takes the stress out of the execution of your day.
Emotional Intelligence: How To Deal With Obnoxious People

A communications pro told me that many execs want to respond vindictively to public criticism. It's his job to tell them that it's usually better to act like you're not crazy.

That's bad news, I know, but in case you're interested, here are some tips:

1. Don't be rude, regardless of the provocation.
Just be pleasantly persistent. People will still hate you but they'll have less of an excuse to show it.

2. Be a model for better behaviour.
Allow a few years for the lesson to sink in.

3. Use "Please" and "Thank you".
Easy ? Not when you're pissed off.

4. Semper Paratis
Rehearse situations that will surely test you.

5. Don't feel guilty when you do go crazy.
The freedom to err inspires progress.

6. Experiment.
Every once in a while, raise your voice, berate others and stomp off in righteous indignation. See what happens. (And let us know)

Find more here
10 New Technologies That Will Change The World

01. Universal Translation
02. Synthetic Biology
03. Nanowires
04. Bayesian Machine Learning
05. T-Rays
06. Distributed Storage
07. RNA Interference
08. Power Grid Control
09. Microfluidic Optical Fibers
10. Personal Genomics

Find more here (Free registration required) via The Weekly Read
Attention, Martha Stewart

Seven neurological drugs are in mid-to-late stage clinical trials:

Antegren - Multiple sclerosis - Biogen Idec, Elan
Clioquinol - Alzheimer's - Prana Biotech
CX516 - Alzheimer's - Cortex Pharma
Duloxetine - Depression, urinary incontinence - Lilly
Pregabalin - Epilepsy, neuropathic pain, anxiety - Pfizer
Varenicline - Smoking addiction - Pfizer

via Brain Waves
Good-bye Coffee, Hello Legal Speed

Provigil, a new wake-up drug, has just been approved by US regulators.

Employers should consider subsidizing the purchase of this performance-enhancer where it is not covered by insurance.

via Brain Waves
Ambitious Young Thing

Well, friends, I've had another clash of interests with an aspiring candidate. I said that she was too junior for the job. She insisted it was a lateral move.

Who was right? Well, the client saw at least two candidates who were earning double her salary, so you tell me.

Anyway, she sent me an email expressing the hope that we could work together in the future - and promptly sent her resume directly to the client.

Here's her (client) letter. It's short and to the point. So short, she forgot to mention my name. (Note: names have been changed to protect the innocent).

Dear Fred,

I recently became aware of an opportunity to become involved in a key position at The Happy Burrito.

I feel that I have to seize this opportunity and have attached my resume with cover letter for your review and consideration against the position of Director of Hot Sauce.

I look forward to hearing from you soon to learn if my background meets your needs.

Kind regards,
Sincerity Jones

New Technique Erases Problem Memories

1) Do you have interviews you'd like to forget?
2) Do you have candidates you wish you'd never met?
3) Do you think life would be better if certain people were never born?

Find more here
Elements of Personality

Sam Gosling asked dog owners to rate their pets for 4 personality traits.
They could choose either extreme or somewhere in between.

1 energetic-slothful
2 affection-aggression
3 anxiety-calmness
4 intelligence-stupidity

Strangers then watched the animals perform tasks in a local park, and rated them on the same characteristics.

Anxiety was assessed from the dog's reaction as it watched its owner walk away with another hound.

The ability to retrieve a hidden treat from under a cup was used as a measure of intelligence.

78 dogs of all shapes and sizes were tested. In general, owners and strangers agreed on an individual dog's personality. This suggests that the dog personalities are real.

Are these good measures for candidates, as well?

I've been preparing a posting on key indicators of personality that are visible during interviews and the first three traits I decided to measure for are, essentially, the exact same as for the dogs:

1. Friendly, 2. Relaxed, 3. Lively, 4. Formal, 5. Articulate. More on this later.

Find more here; via Futurepundit
Sasshi: The Asian Art of Business Communication

Let's say you want to go to the show. But you don't want to make your spouse feel that he has to do what you want.

Therefore, you don't say: "I'd like to go to the show". Instead, you say: "Would you like to go the show?" He says "No." And you get angry because he is so inconsiderate.

That's appears to be the problem in East-West communications.

Asians dislike the Western habit of being very direct in saying what you want. They find it bossy and rude and prefer to make oblique references to what they want.

In Japan, only very senior managers can directly tell their employees what they should be doing. Other people have to signal their desires, vaguely.

A Japanese manager working in Australia may address employees for half an hour with platitudes about the company.

After the first 10 minutes, the Australians will stop paying attention. But any Japanese in the audience, will still be listening because they will know, “this is a senior person from Tokyo, we must pay attention”.

Towards the end of the speech, the manager will give a subtle indication about what he expects from the employees. The Japanese will get it, but the Australians won't.

In fact, Japanese managers are so fond of vagueness that the Japanese have a word for guessing what the boss wants: sasshi.

In the reverse scenario, when a Westerner manages Japanese, the latter will be as startled by being told directly what to do as they would be by abuse. They may understand what the manager wants, but they will hate him for it.

These cultural traits are learned at a very early age.

In North America, if a child is making a lot of noise singing, the father might tell the child to pipe down.

In Asia, however, the father might say “how well you sing a song”. At first, the child might be pleased,

but it would soon dawn on him that something else might have been meant and the child would try being quieter or not singing at all.

A gentle approach? Or, one bound to drive you crazy? You decide.

Find more here
Please don't let this trend take hold.........

"As Katie Bryant prepares to shoot her multimedia resume, she hears the horror stories. One job hunter flubbed his greeting speech through 26 takes (he never did get it right). Another man shot his video in Sacramento, then flew back home to South Carolina. His wife didn't like the results, so he flew out to California again. And again. The third time, the missus herself directed the production. These tales aren't exactly confidence builders."

What are they talking about? Video resumes. That's right video resumes!! I hate reading resumes enough as it is how am I supposed to wade through 50-100 videos? If this catches on I'll consider leaving the business.


Full article at MBA Jungle:
How important is sex appeal in business?

USA Today asked a panel of super-geniuses this question and here are some of the answers.

ChromeDome, Steve Covey, answered wisely. He said that he'd prefer to call it feminine charm because sex implies more than is really going on.

Young Jeff Sonnenfeld, Associate Dean at Yale, bewailed the fact that women in exec roles suffer for their good looks because jealous people hate them and others think they're bimbos. He didn't mention the hijab as a means of liberation but he did point out that these babes do feel pressured to wear glasses and severe hairstyles. Pity.

Earl Stafford, CEO of Unitech, says that sex does sell - from "females" who are attractive. But only in the short term. This suggests that if you've got something else going for you, sex will give you a chance to put it on display. (Like, in an interview. We're not talking about casting couches here).

Debbie Himsel, genius author of Leadership Sopranos Style, says that good looks are an important asset but in the end you've got to deliver. Deliver what? Pizza? She claims that none of the successful female leaders she's known would use sex appeal to get ahead. But she doesn't mention if they've got anything to use.

Julio Arrieta, CEO of Adecco, says that sex sells in advertising but not in the back office. He claims that, back in the day, when business was fat, "males" and "females" leveraged sexuality to climb the ol' beanstalk. Now that lean is in, sex isn't so important. He could be right. Anorexia is not attractive.

Find more here and here via Live2Learn
Job Opening At CIBC

David Kassie, a top exec at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, left the company yesterday.

Two days prior to his sudden departure a former employee was arrested in the US as part of a crackdown on illegal trading in mutual funds.

A statement from the bank said that Dave "has left to focus on other interests".

Yeah, I think that's what I'll put on my tombstone, too.

Actually, it was time for him to go. He's 48 and he's been with the bank since 1979. If he stayed much longer, who else would hire him?

Find more here and here
Lovecat, baby, Lovecat !

Lovecats are business people who are known for sharing and as promoters of business growth.

You know that they're mavens [experts]. They always seem to have great information for you. They always seem to recommend the finest books ... at the right time. They're ferocious networkers. They always seem to put you together with people. They don't expect anything, you wonder how they make money.

They're incredibly compassionate. They're very warm and feely and they always manage to have kind words for you. They always manage to find the power of very small people. And they're very gregarious.

Yet they're shrewd, they're great business people and they're generally paid retail. I've met many of these people.

Mr. Stanley Marcus [Neiman Marcus] was an example of a lovecat. That guy got paid retail. He always told me: Tim, if you add enough value, you get retail. Discounts are for people who don't add value. If you don't add value in this world, you compete on price. He said: If you're willing to take the time to be knowledge added and network enabled, you can get retail.

Tim Sanders

Find more here

Q: Barry, you argue against the value of networking.

A: Too many people think that networking is sticking out your hand to shake another person's hand and simultaneously giving her your business card. Immediately, she says who she is and what she wants. Real relationships are built over a long period of time. You need to build trust and that takes time and effort. Don't try to trade on relationships too soon. Always ask what you can do for that person before asking for yourself. As Tim Sanders says. "be a lovecat" by connecting people of like interests together.

Comment from the site:
I am in agreeance with Barry's statement that business relationships are built over a long period of time, but to say that networking has become a pointless activity is a bit disconcerting. - Mike W

From The Enlightened Mind
The Headhunter Effect?

According to Peter Cappelli, professor of management and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. The much ballyhooed "labour shortage" that is often talked about is a myth. The professor gives a number of reasons why the myth is so entrenched in corporate thinking but one of the more interesting ones is as follows:

If there is no impending shortage of labor, why do employers feel that the tight labor market of 1998 to 2001, [...] somehow represented a major shift from what they had known before and presaged a bleak future? One reason, Cappelli believes, is that the pressure to hire laterally from the outside to bring in new skills, which was accelerated during the late 1990s, is a new development in the history of human-resources management. The breadth of jobs that today are filled from the outside – ranging from the mailroom all the way to the CEO’s office – stands in stark contrast to years gone by when recruiting was almost entirely focused on entry-level positions. An increase in outside hiring contributes to higher turnover, which forces employers to be in a state of continuous hiring and gives rise to the feeling that there is a shortage of workers.

“Employers could be forgiven for thinking that this situation looked like a labor shortage: Despite flat-out hiring, they could not bring in enough workers to meet their needs. Retention management should have been part of the solution along with performance management to identify who were the truly important people to retain.”

Gee I wonder if us headhunters are contributing to the myth? After all each time we recruit someone we are creating turnover.

What does Cappelli suggest?

Most firms have to improve their recruiting, but doing so requires more than just coming up with more applicants or filling vacancies more quickly. The overarching goal should be to make better matches between applicants and jobs. That means uncovering the right applicants who truly fit the jobs they apply for. Matching the right person to the right job not only leads to better performance but also to reduced turnover, according to the study.

The real issue then will be to have a system of practices in place of finding good people, hiring them when you need them and keeping the good ones.”

Fair enough but Capelli doesn't give any info as to how companies can improve their matching skills. It's fine to say that companies should look to improve retention but if you can't find the right fit to begin with it's a moot point.

Find the complete article here
Better Candidates in the Future

The designing of children is already taking place on the open market as couples turn to the Internet to find genetic parents for their families.

They view pictures of "DNA" donors, listen to tapes of their voices, and review pages of descriptions of their physical features, their hobbies, their SAT scores, their philosophies of life.

At, couples bid on the eggs of attractive models. And at the Repository for Germinal Choice, couples purchase "DNA" from Nobel laureates.

One man seeking to sell his DNA for $4,000 per vial, established a website with his family tree claiming to trace his genes back to six Catholic saints and several European royal families.

I hate to say it but I think this guy's kids would be hard to manage.

Find more here
You lead, you serve, they follow

Before B Springsteen's last tour, his manager announced that arena floors would be entirely general admission (GA).

No reserved seating and no seats period. But there would be a fenced in area around the stage that would hold only 300 people.

With 1,800 GA tickets sold for each show, there was a risk of pandemonium as fans would rush to get into "the pit".

But a super-fan from Napanee, Ontario solved this problem. His name's Bill Daverne and he criss-crossed the United States attending dozens of concerts on the last tour alone.

Bill would get to a city that he'd never been to before, go straight to the concert venue and get all of the fans to line up in an orderly fashion.

When I heard this I had to wonder how he could get so many ambitious strangers to listen to him. And when he told me, I saw a business lesson in his story.

Daverne and fellow enthusiasts would start a line and a list. If you joined the line, you got your name on the list and a number painted on your hand.

You were told you must return at certain times for roll calls. If you missed any of the roll calls and you lost your place in line. This meant that fans could come and go as long as they made their check-ins.

Daverne and his friends had no official titles. They weren't endorsed by the band, the promoters or the arenas. Legitimacy was conferred by their unassailable service alone.

And they got a reputation. Security guards who, at first, showed them no respect would eventually authorize their line as the one they themselves would honour. And they would tell security officials at the next stops to keep an eye out for these guys.

When Bill got to Fargo (yes, that Fargo!) he was immediately approached by a security guard who said he was looking for Bill or Ted or Todd.

And, the fans let eachother know about the rules via internet news groups.

So, Daverne had a position and a even a bit of a brand. He was the line guy. But he had to work hard to get there. He had to show up early, make sure the list was maintained through the night. And he couldn't play any favourites; he had to be fair.

The point of the story is, to me, that some "nobody" can walk into a situation and take control by having a good idea and thorough execution. I just found that fascinating.

Find more here and here (he's half-way down the page).
Don't Brand Before You Position

Branding is getting everyone to know you, plain and simple.
Positioning is getting people to want you because of your value.

Positioning leads to brand, but brand does not always lead to position.

Branding bombards it audience with a particular message. It's a big job and many smaller companies take it on when they don't have to.

In reality, they should simply pick the under-serviced segments that their larger competitors are ignoring, and attack with an unassailable value proposition.

If serviced properly, these customers can become reference accounts.
Then you can leverage them into larger sales.

Find more here

See also Brand Your Company For Recruiting
from Sun. Jan 18/04. (Click Archives at right)
Law firms recruiting hepatitis clients

Find more here
Venture Capitalists Value Good People Over All Else

Business ideas are meaningless. It is the execution of the idea that means everything. That is why betting on business success is all about people or to quote a popular, management, management.

Entrepreneurs are always afraid that someone has stole their ideas...guess what someone has. but it is irrelevant. It is the execution of the idea that matters.

For example, is a discount airline a new idea? Why can only Southwest make it work? It's all about execution!

In betting on a company look for a management team that has worked together before. A team that has succeeded and failed before. One that has humility and you will find a good team to bet on!

From Barry Moltz. To which the Business Pundit adds:

Barry writes that he would rather have an "A" team with a "B" idea than the other way around.

Last week I was listening to a panel of directors for angel investment groups. All of them said this same thing - It is the people, not the idea, that truly determine the success of the business.

via Business Pundit
Colorado to investigate sex and recruiting

The University of Colorado's president agreed to form an independent commission to look into allegations the school uses sex to recruit football players.

"What we're looking at is the culture of recruiting. This is bigger than the University of Colorado," said state Senator Peter Groff.

Find more here
Toronto CEO Arrested For Conspiracy to Murder

Police have arrested Toronto magazine distributor Alex Petraitis on charges of conspiring to kill his wife, Kirsten.

He was picked up by police in a "high-risk takedown" along the quiet route to his cottage near Peterborough.

Based in Toronto, Mr. Petraitis had been the president of Canadian Mass Media Inc. and a principal in Metro News Ltd., both of which distribute magazines and books to Canadian retailers across the country.

"He [was] one of the power brokers in magazine distribution." said Bill Shields, editor of Masthead Magazine.

We're all very shocked by the whole thing," said a neighbour in Mr. Petraitis's Yorkville condominium. "They had a nice marriage," she said. "They were nice people."

Mr. Petraitis spoke briefly with a reporter from the Peterborough Examiner. "I'm mystified. . . . I'm shell-shocked," he said, denying any knowledge of a crime.

Paul Benjamin, of Benjamin News in Montreal, has taken over Mr. Petraitis's role as president of Canadian Mass Media Inc., a company started in 1994 by a conglomerate of Canadian magazine and book wholesalers.

"The executive committee felt it prudent to replace Alex as president of the organization," Mr. Benjamin said.

Officials at the North York offices of Metro News Ltd. and Canadian Mass Media Inc. would not comment beyond saying that "Alex has taken a leave of absence from the company."

Petraitis is represented by high-profile defence lawyer Eddie Greenspan.

Find more here
Heavy Exercise Causes Skin Wrinkles

People who do excessive cardiovascular aerobic exercise and do not use antioxidant protection will have crow's feet.

200 mg Lipoic acid , 1000 mg Ascorbic acid , and 4000 mg Glutamine taken 15 minutes prior to exercise will probably help most bodies repair themselves.

Find more here
A Joke

Okay. These two procrastinators walk into a bar... no wait that's not the joke... There were these two procrastinators see? And they were ...they were thinking about walking into a bar. And one of them opens his mouth like he was gonna say somethin, right? And then he shuts his mouth and looks down at his feet. And the other procrastinator says, "were you gonna say somethin'?" and the first procrastinator says to the second procrastinator, "why didn't our moms ever give us names?" And the other procrastinator says, "she's still thinkin' about it." And then... oh forget it.

Thanks to here

No-fault divorce

You're going to make some bad hires, so you need a way to detect and dispose of them very quickly. And, here it is:

Monitor performance (after 1, 3 & 6 months) to identify new hires who are failing.

Use these milestones as opportunities for coaching or cut your losses by releasing the bad hire immediately.

Poor performers can be given a package if they leave voluntarily.

Those who don't leave are watched closely with the understanding that they will be terminated if they don't improve in the next few months.

Find more here
When popularity means business

Joe the salesman is likeable and engaging.

Moe the salesman is a misery but he sells the same product for 20% less.

Which salesman will you do business with?
Most North Americans choose Moe.

But, in other cultures, personal relationships are the key element in decision-making and the decision to go with higher-priced, likeable Joe would be perfectly acceptable.

Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American executives value personal relationships with your sales agent more than your brand or product reputation.

Or so the common wisdom claims. Does anyone have any broad personal experience in this area? What do relationships mean in North American business culture? Is it truly so narrowly bottom line?

Find more here
Should Candidates Reveal Chronic Illness?

Common sense says that the moral obligation to support oneself will always trump other values. The key question will always be: can I afford to risk losing a job?

The employer might resent deception but can abject poverty be the moral option? This puts the obligation for discovery on recruiters and hiring authorities.

Find more here
Office Romance: Is It Really That Bad?

Associated Press — Britney Spears says that her attempt to kiss Madonna in her new music video was just acting.

Her Me Against the Music video ends with Spears, 22, trying to kiss the 45-year-old pop star. “It was beautiful. I felt like a princess,” she said.

Find more here and here
All The News That's Fit To Sing

I saw The Ballad of Phil Ochs, yesterday. Really enjoyed it.
It's essentially a revue of his songs by a great young performer.

Upcoming Shows:

Feb. 1, 4pm - Rancho Relaxo (Toronto)
Feb. 6, 7, 8pm - Staircase Theatre (Hamilton)
Feb. 27, 8pm - Whalebone Theatre (Parksville, BC)
March 13, 8pm - The Old Church Theatre (Courtenay, BC)

Find more here and here

Is there a business angle to this posting? Well, let's call it a marketing opportunity. Maybe some smart person could turn this into another Mama Mia. (Yeah, sure.)