OK, a Little Redundant, But…

June 1st, 2010

I know I’ve blogged about this already, but it seems worth bringing up again, for a number of reasons. First, I’d like readers to share their own experiences on two topics, and second, I want to give readers a unique perspective and see what they think about it.

OK, onto the topics:

I. Head Trash
We’ve had this conversation once before, but it seems to prevail in the marketplace. I refer to head trash as those thoughts, ideas, and beliefs that serve no purpose other than to create a roadblock in your head. I have a theory on it as well: sometimes head trash serves to be the “reason” we’re NOT making progress in our job search. For instance, if I want to be a leader/manager in a company in the healthcare industry, I can tell myself, after being told the same thing many times, that it’s almost impossible because I don’t have healthcare experience. What does this do for me? It validates why I haven’t made progress and therefore, it can’t be my fault, right?

Well, as a counter point to this, I have a client in the healthcare industry that appreciates that our firm looks for people outside his core business for new ideas to help them serve their customers and beat the competition. CEOs like this are out there, they just have to be found.

If professional athletes listened to head trash, would they ever make the pros? What are the odds of someone making the pros in baseball, basketball, or football in this country? The odds against making it must be huge, right? Head trash right there!

Recently, I heard from a friend of mine with nearly 20 years of mortgage experience, (having been part owner of a very successful company) that a wholesale mortgage company wouldn’t look at him because he didn’t have wholesale experience, only retail. Now, I can turn this around very easily in my head – he is probably one of the best suited wholesale mortgage brokers, since as a large retail broker, he was a customer of the best of the best. He knew what made the difference between the leading firms and what he, as a customer of their products and services, looked for in a wholesale partner probably better than most with solely wholesale experience.

If I were him, I’d find wholesale company CEOs that are most interested in out-serving their competition and building market share, and send them a special report on what differentiates the best from simply good. Additionally, I’d share my thoughts on how best to penetrate and grow market share, based on my own experience regarding what would have made me try a newcomer. With the mortgage industry in a rebuilding mode, this is like the Wild West all over again, and most likely a prime market.

So, question 1: What is your head trash? Share a few thoughts so that we can get them out of our heads and start making headway toward our search (pun intended).

II. Going Above and Beyond
With Memorial Day falling just yesterday, I couldn’t help but watch at least one World War II movie (ok, it was more than one). One of the all time great movies of that genre is “To Hell and Back” with Audie Murphy as himself. Having not seen it in over 20 years, I didn’t remember the beginning. General Walter Bedell Smith kicked off the movie by talking about those many men (and boys) and women who distinguished themselves everyday on the field of battle by going “above and beyond the call of duty”. I seemed to have focused my thoughts in the past to just the “above and beyond” part, but “the call of duty” part is really critical to consider as well. Why? Because it depends on the circumstance. Our troops risked life and limb everyday, and some took additional risks to save their buddies, or “take the hill” and meet the objective, which might have served to save their own or other troops.

I continue to hear that people are working and trying harder, doing more today than in the past with their job search efforts. Is this really going above and beyond? In my introductory post on CEO Charlie, I profiled that he spent nearly 40 hours writing 4 special reports to get interviews with companies, rather than sending in his resume. It worked and he got the interviews! How many people have gone to that extent? I know many that have written special reports, but an entire week on just 4, with no certainty that it would work??

Question 2: What are some things you’ve done to go above and beyond? Maybe we can get some good ideas out to our readers that they can incorporate into their searches.

That’s all for now. I have more to say, but word count says I’m over 800 and that’s getting long for a blog, so signing off…

One last word – Linchpin. It’s a book written by Seth Godin and is very good. If you haven’t read it, you should. I might blog about it soon…Are you a Linchpin?

One Response to “OK, a Little Redundant, But…”

  1. Penny LaClair says:

    This is a difficult question to answer “in public”. I don’t see other answers, but here goes…

    What’s My Head Trash?

    I am a NHRA Executive of the Year finalist have a Master’s degree and enjoyed working for two prior bosses who had connfidence in me and pretty much gave me free reign to do quality work.

    Because I caused them little or no stress, took stress away on many occasions, needed very little guidance and produced results that got them favorably noticed, they appreciated me. Most people who have worked for me would work for me again and I have folks I’ve worked with in tandem who would sing my praises… So, what’s wrong?

    I landed in the market during a time when it was flooded with excellent people to pick from. There are folks I’ve networked with that I’d hire or work for in a heartbeat! So much of networking and interviewing involves chemistry and chemistry is a funny thing, isn’t it?

    Even in a saturated market, the number of times I’ve been passed up is concerning. When I ask folks who I respect what keeps me from being considered for opportunities, I get a variety of answers from “not having the right look” to “being too nice”. My look and/or personality wouldn’t be considered “bold”. And, I’m learning that many people expect VPs or Sr. Directors to be bold. I’m assertive when I need to be and I’m always effective. In this market with so many folks competing, assertiveness becomes more important than ever just to be noticed.

    The teeter-totter in my head that teeters between “change how you present yourself” and “be authentic” is the Head Trash that gets in my way. I work on knowing it’s not that black and white. I can step up my look, be more assertive and still stay true to myself while likely entertaining those who already know me.

    Behavioral change is the hardest change of all to make and asking someone to do it during a time of stress, which is when most people revert to form, just seems unreasonable. (more Head Trash?) Oh man…, anyone have some Red Bull?

    When Did I Go Above and Beyond?

    On one occasion I put together a whole power point marketing presentation describing how I could benefit the organization. I’ve taken props inside a portfolio like the Ad guys do. And, I’ve asked folks who I know did not like me much when we first met to coach me. The question was, “By the time I left the company the feedback was that I am really good at what I do. You did not like me much in the beginning. What could I have done differently to speed up your favorable impression of me?”

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