Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘manager

Wanted: The best and the brightest

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canonical-ubuntu-help-wantedYou know how important good employees are to your organization. In fact, before you started your own business, it’s likely that you were a good employee to someone yourself.

On the flip side, adding a staff, or even starting a staff, is a very scary and expensive proposition. The employee sees the net on their paycheck and that’s how much they cost, right? Of course not. You have all those extras you have to pay for: self-employment tax, workspace expenses, benefits. The list goes on.

So, you need a staff, but you know that hiring the wrong people is a very expensive mistake to learn. What do you do to ensure that you minimize that risk?

Much of it depends on the type of position you are looking to fill. Is this a front line person that needs basic skills and needs to be dependable? Is this a manager that is going to generate leadership and drive a department? Is this someone that you might need as your right hand person with the possibility of having as a partner.

Ads in the paper for front line employees have become a very last-century activity. In fact, many papers are just a fraction of their former selves due to the acceptance of the Internet as a tool for job seekers and the lack of advertising/classified dollars. You have to post your position(s) where the most eyeballs will be. Monster and Careerbuilder are just two of the possible ways you can look to fill your positions. I’m a strong advocate of posting positions on your own website regardless of the level of the position. People who are really interested in your company are more valuable than those simply looking for a job.

It’s helpful to start to network to find a strong manager for your company. Talk to people you know and place feelers out there in your connected community. Let people know you’re interested. People that know people are often an excellent source of information about a candidate beyond what you might find on their resume.

But don’t let any of this work and expense be the reason for not adding to staff. If you’re growing your sole proprietorship, then you’re likely at the ceiling point where you might not be able to grow your business any further. Besides a second set of hands, new employees can also be an extra set of eyes and another prespective on problem solving.

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Written by Jeff York

September 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I want to believe you

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001clemens2Credibility. As a marketing professional, there are few things that are more valuable to me than the concept of credibility. Certainly, clients look to me for experience, skill, and ability to execute, but if they don’t believe I will behave in an honest, responsible way, then they would never hire me.

Conversely, they want to demonstrate credibility to their customers and clients. They want to position themselves as a company that you can believe in, trust, and want to do business with. If they don’t think that I have those qualities myself, then how can I effectively do the job for them?

If you’re just starting out in business, you don’t have a name for yourself. Once you start conducting business and building a track record, you start to become defined by your past actions.

How do you want to be perceived? Do you want people to question your judgement and actions? Or do you want people to trust and respect you?

A great deal is learned about an individual when you study their behavior when they think no one is watching them. How do they conduct themselves? If you have the opportunity to generate additional revenue through an underhanded tactic, would you even if you knew no one would catch you?

Last year, I had a shoot in which I needed to hire an actress. She was wonderful to work with and did a great job. Recently, I had an occasion where I needed the same actress again. From the first shoot, I had all of the actress’s contact information. I could have hired her directly at a lower rate by bypassing her manager. That would have netted us more profit, but it would have been the wrong thing to do. While it’s unlikely the manager would have discovered the situation, it doesn’t matter to me. If not for that manager originally, I would never have found the actress to begin with.

Do the right thing at all times. You’ll be surprised at how that will come back to reward you.

Written by Jeff York

March 21, 2009 at 9:20 am

Let me be honest with you!

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All too often, people find themselves in a situation where their bosses or clients ask an opinion. However, from past experience that person doesn’t feel that they are in an environment where their honest opinion is welcome. Rather than being honest, it’s just easier to tell that person what they want to hear. A potentially contentious conversation is avoided in the short term, but nothing of value is gained. Or worse, the truth is kept hidden when having an open and frank conversation would have yielded results.

Whenever I’m put into a management role, I spend a great deal of effort and energy toward breaking down the natural barrier that exists between employee and employer. I reach out to my staff to make sure that they understand that I want the truth and honesty every time, no matter what the circumstances. If I’m working on a project and I ask an opinion about my output, I want to know if it’s pure crap. If someone disagrees with a decision I’ve made, I want to talk about it. If it’s something that’s goinng to hurt my feelings, I don’t care. As long as we’re sitting down and having a 2 directional exchange of honesty with an environment of respect, then I need to hear it. Bring it on.

If you’re a manager, ask yourself “Do I do everything I can to get honest input.” By simply being a manager and asking a question, you will get input. However, unless you have done substantial work beforehand to create an environment that’s condusive to honesty, you’re not going to get it. And if you don’t get it, you not getting what you need.

Written by Jeff York

January 18, 2009 at 11:11 pm

It’s never easy being an Agent of Change

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You would be hard pressed to find a good manager that doesn’t believe in the importance of remaining nimble and implementing change to remain current with the ever-evolving business landscape.

But, if that’s true, then why is it so hard getting others to follow you as you act as an Agent of Change?

It’s been my experience that often people oppose change for a variety of reasons and not all of them are a conscious decision.  But all of them act as impediments toward positive change much to the organization’s detriment.

Perhaps the most sinister explanation revolves around having a vested interest in the status quo.  Human beings, by nature, like to be comfortable.  After we’ve been in a position for any period of time, we tend to get comfortable.  We know what we can get away with.  We know how to execute what is expected of us and how to deliver just enough to look good enough to not get fired.  Start creating change and you may create an environment where good enough isn’t good enough anymore.  You might start having employee’s weaknesses exposed.  A situation exists where people might have to accomplish more, accomplish differently, and maybe even take on responsibilities where they aren’t as proficient, interested, or accomplished.  You are threatening to take people into the unknown and that can be scary.

Oh man!  First you try to do what’s right for the company and then you have to do battle with your co-workers.  Is it worth it?

Let’s see.  Implement positive change and the company grows.  You prosper.  Those that battled you prosper.  Absolutely it’s worth it.  But you have to ask yourself these question first.

1.  Will I have the proper support of those above me?

2.  Will I be given enough authority to enact change?

3.  Is the change I want to do really a positive thing for the company or am I just doing this to look good and put it on my resume?  You have to be very honest here with yourself.

4.  Am I really married to the concepts I’m proposing or am I open to input from a variety of sources that might improve my original plan?

What have you done that’s created positive change within your organization?  During the development of the initative, did you encounter resistance?  If so, how did you counter that and turn adversaries into allies?