CEO Blog

Persistence or Stalking?

Sales quote from Patricia FrippWhen you are in sales there is a tough line to walk between being a stalker and being persistent.

There are lots of statistics suggesting that salespeople give up too early, BUT if there is no “client need” then pushing too hard is not going to help.

Recently I spotted an article about some reporting tool that caught my interest at that particular moment.  It was a point in time thing, but (silly me) I clicked through to the website.  There are so many tools on the internet that tell suppliers about who has been on their website … so I’m guessing that within microseconds the supplier knew exactly who had just clicked onto their site.

A small sidebar.  I find these tools fascinating, but creepy and I’m pretty sure I am not alone.  Use them carefully, and be empathetic to your “target” … and I use that word carefully!

I guess the fact that I clicked right back off within 5 seconds of reading their landing page was not considered relevant data in their sales and marketing world.

The calls started about an hour later.  “We noticed you were on our site … we’d love to help, give me a call I’m SalesGuy at (xxx) xxx-xxxx”.

Nothing wrong with that, he was responsive and just trying to convert a website visitor.

I ignored the call.

The second call came before the end of the day, and continued twice a day for some time.  All ignored.

I’m an old sales guy, and I have some empathy for a sales guy wanting to make something happen.  I’m also a busy guy running a company who cannot afford to take time out to talk with every sales guy who calls me.

This crossed the line of persistence and became stalking.

“To satisfy our customers’ needs, we’ll give them what they want, not what we want to give them.”  Steve James

So, here is some advice if you really want to get some traction with someone like me, using the tools available to you.

  1. A brief flicker of interest is always worth following up … but read the signs!
  2. A brief flicker of interest CAN be fanned into something more tangible, by feeding it with some valuable information.
  3. If I showed a flicker of interest I might be open to temptation, if it does not take much time.
  4. If you send me a link to your website … it is highly unlikely I will click through.
  5. If you send me attachments it is highly unlikely I will read them.
  6. If you want my attention you will need to be brief, relevant and have some kind of impact.
  7. It is possible to get that interest over time, IF you do not overwhelm me. I have one salesperson who has consistently called me three or four times a year for probably 8 years.  I have never found that to be stalking, but I do admire the persistence … I just have never had need of his services, yet.
  8. A steady flow of interesting content might work over time.
  9. Persistent stalking is going to turn me off quickly and will never get you business.
  10. You can remain “on my radar” because you are professionally persistent. However when the right time comes, I will remember you.

In business to business selling, clients do not always need your services or products right now, but you can still get their interest for when they might.  That of course makes it a longer sales cycle, but it also doesn’t take a whole lot of your sales time.

“Make a customer not a sale.” Katherine Barchetti

Bring value.

Be relevant.

Remain in contact … on a schedule that makes sense.

You might call that “Pragmatic Persistence”!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

Twelve Lessons on Building a Company Culture

Jack Welch quote on cultureThere is a significant amount of focus on company culture these days, and with good reason.  If you want a sustainable entity then a positive company culture is a good start, it is a great way to attract & retain talent plus it is a positive message to clients and shareholders.

Where I get a little concerned is when I see leaders establishing a “project” to “fix the culture”.  It might well be the right thing to do, in that there needs to be a plan to establish a strong corporate culture but it is not really a project, because working at culture never ends.

In our nineteen year journey from starting this company we have learned many lessons along the way, and have received recognition for some of the good things we have been able to do.

I thought I would share some of my thoughts on culture, based on our journey.

  1. Steven Covey played a big part in our company culture … and Habit #2 “Begin with the end in mind” was just one factor in our development.  In order to develop the right kind of culture we needed to define the kind of company that we wanted to be.
  2. One of my previous employers was consulting company Andersen Consulting, now known as Accenture. Their methodology at that time focused very much on alignment between People, Process, Technology and Strategy.  This was another critical influence for us.  It is important to have all parts of the company pulling in the same direction.
  3. In line with the above, we needed to develop a mission, vision and core values that inspired us, were meaningful to us and that we could live with … even when decisions were tough. This was an important process for us, and while they have been modified over the 19 years, they are fundamentally the same today as they were back then!
  4. We don’t live in a perfect world so we had to learn some patience. Rome was not built in a day.  There are always setbacks, poor hires, wrong turns along the way and tough economic times to traverse.
  5. A business needs to be profitable in order to pay its people, its suppliers and provide the right level of service to its clients. This means that you might want to provide more “goodies” for your employees, but it has to be done prudently.  I like to point at Nortel, which was a company that its employees loved because they had big salaries and amazing benefits … unfortunately that was not sustainable and most of those employees had trouble finding jobs that could offer anything similar.  As a private company we need to live within our means.
  6. For us, our vision meant focusing our efforts on clients, our own employees and on the candidates that work with. We have continually looked for ways to improve those relationships.  This focus allows us to ensure business decisions we make are in line with that vision.
  7. A positive culture within our company means that we have high expectations of our people, and that we provide them with training and the tools to e successful. We create an atmosphere focused on one of our core values, TEAM, and we are prepared to invest in growth.  We give monthly and annual recognition for employees that excel and that exemplify the behaviors we associate with our values.
  8. You can never please all of the people, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
  9. If you have a clear culture then you will attract the people that fit your culture, and those who do not will self identify quickly.
  10. The number one reason why culture is successful, or not, is leadership. It needs 100% commitment from the whole leadership team.
  11. Sometimes you will need to make tough decisions to preserve the culture you want, or you risk getting the culture that just happens!
  12. It is a work in progress that can never be considered complete.

In addition to being a Platinum member of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies program our company was recognized as one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures in 2102, and in 2015 we were named one of Canada’s Best Workplaces.

The awards indicate that we are on the right track and we are enjoying the journey … but it IS a journey!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

It is Time to Take a Hard Look at Payrolling

Jack Welch quote about teamsCompanies have many excellent reasons why they use a flexible workforce to supplement their full time staff.  Like any purchase, organizations want to get the best price possible for these services and one of the ways they try to save money is by sourcing the people themselves and then “payrolling” them through a third party, for a small fee.  The rationale is that the fee paid to the agency is reduced and thus the company saves money.

A detailed analysis of the facts shows that (a) companies do NOT save money, in fact they actually pay more.  PLUS (b) those organisations introduce increased corporate risk!

Here is a look at the real costs of payrolling:

  1. The average payrolled resource will actually be paid above market value, because there is no competitive process.
  2. By the time a payrolling fee is added, the amount paid by the organisation is higherthan they would have paid the agency to do the work for them.  Eagle’s internal analysis would suggest that on average the difference is greater than 10%!
  3. The increased rate paid to the individual causes a market issue over time because they expect that increased rate for all of their future work.  So overall market rates get edged up artificially and companies end up paying EVEN more for these resources into the future.
  4. There is also a hidden cost for the internal company resources who will have spent their efforts in finding this person, instead of focusing on their company’s core business.

In addition to dollar considerations there are corporate risk issues:

  1. The independent resource is not as independent as one sourced through a third party.  They have a relationship to the organisation’s hiring manager, they won their role without competition thus creating a potential conflict of interest with the organisation’s hiring manager.  This can make it more difficult to handle potential performance issues.
  2. Employer/employee relationships are a tricky area when talking about independent contractors or worse still “sole proprietors” who operate as independents. Many government departments, both federal and provincial, led by CRA are very interested in this area.  Payrolling erodes the independence factor and thus increases risk to the hiring company.
  3. Recent practices by some third parties of charging the payrolling fee to the individualscauses an even greater risk.  Positioned as an easy “money saving” scheme to the client, it can end up being a minefield as evidenced by a recent $384 million class action lawsuit launched against one large Canadian company and their third party provider!  It is worth noting that it is illegal in Canada to charge an individual a fee for work, so if an independent contractor is not really independent, then in addition to scrutiny on remittances you might have a big legal problem.

Companies can benefit most by engaging credible suppliers to compete on every resource requirement.  This approach means that companies can focus on their actual costs, not on other factors such as what their supplier might make.  According to Statistics Canada, the average bottom line in the staffing industry in Canada is 3 to 5% of revenues.  So chances are, your staffing supplier is NOT making out like a bandit!  Let the market forces work, and everyone benefits!

So the best choice for organizations, for both price AND risk management, is the competitive market.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

CANADIAN JOB MARKET Review First Quarter 2015

Newspaper jobs sectionGeneral Observations:

As always, the intent of this summary is to provide some insight into Canada’s job market with input from many sources including our own “from the trenches” view.  We want to bring value to both job seekers and hiring managers with these observations and opinions.

The first quarter started with a bang, and not a good one!  The price of oil took a hammering from its mid-2014 highs above $100 a barrel down into the mid $40s.  In addition there were a slew of layoffs in the retail space with Target, Sony, Mexx and Holt Renfrew all announcing cut backs or just closing up Canadian operations.

The unemployment rate at the end of Q1 was 6.8%, up from 6.6% at the end of the last quarter and Canada had added 50,000 less jobs in the 12 months to March 31, 2015 than it had in the 12 months to December 31st 2014.

TSXAs another economic indicator the TSX has been fairly steady, despite other volatility in the markets.  At the end of Q1 it had a reading of close to 15,000 (and is up from there today).  This reading was not a marked contrast from the reading of 14,700 at the end of the last quarter.

As already mentioned the price of a barrel of oil has plummeted and is currently sitting around $55 a barrel, but at the end of Q1 was below $50.  This had a significant impact in the oil patch, resulting in cut backs, reduction in spending and layoffs.  When coupled with a low Canadian dollar however it is not ALL bad news, and Canadian manufacturers and exporters are benefiting. One prediction suggests that the oil patch will ultimately lose about 8,000 jobs through this period, however in that boom and bust world we will see it come back with a vengeance at some point.

One of the largest employers in Canada is the financial sector, centered primarily in Toronto, but with a significant presence in Montreal. There are many reasons why this sector remains busy including its highly competitive nature, evolving technologies, regulatory change and volatile markets.  In addition to these factors the booming US economy means that I expect this sector to remain busy.

The telecommunications sector is another big employer in Canada and remains busy.  The demands on their infrastructure, technology advancements, retiring boomers and expansion into new markets are all drivers of their need for people in addition to the ongoing need to compete in a very competitive space.

ConstructionThe construction industry continues to be a great place to find work, both in the trades and in the head offices of the large companies. There are construction sites in most major cities with infrastructure projects, office towers and condo developments. There has been an impact, particularly in Alberta from the drop in oil price.  I expect this to be a point in time “bust” and a recovery can be expected if not in the second half of 2015, then it should happen in the first half of 2016.  There continues to be high demand for “trades” in the home renovation and small scale construction world.

Despite the need for governments to contain costs we have seen a fairly steady demand in Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments.  They are huge employers, and people with the right skills are always in demand. The required downsizing is generally achieved through attrition and there is always work to be done. Regulatory change, policy development and general administrative needs dictate the need for a large and skilled workforce that receives competitive incomes and very attractive pensions and benefits. The wild card here will be the effect of upcoming elections and the impact of lost oil revenue taxes.

The Canadian Staffing Index is an indicator of the strength of the largest provider of talent in any economy (the staffing industry) and an excellent barometer of the health of Canada’s economy. The index suggests a slowdown in the demand for talent in Q1 of 2015, and a slower quarter than the Q1 of 2014.

Eagle E logoHere at Eagle we have seen significant impact on our Western Canada business however other markets remain busy.  The first quarter saw a drop in demand by more than 30% in orders, most specifically from Calgary but with some impact in other Western markets too.  The GTA remains very busy and the National Capital region is experiencing its annual government year-end slowdown, but nothing unexpected.

More Specifically:

cn towerThe GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is Canada’s and Eagle’s largest market.  The number of head offices located here plus a population size that makes it the 4th largest city in North America mean there is a lot of business here.  This market accounts for approximately 60% of Eagle’s business which comes from the major industries here, which include the financial, insurance and telecommunications sectors.  The retail sector and the construction industry generate significant demand, in addition to the engineering space.  The GTA is also home to a large part of the Ontario provincial government and multiple municipal governments.  Hence the GTA offers the most opportunity in Canada, but is also the most competitive city in Canada.  It is definitely the city I would want to be in if I were looking for work.

oil rigsIn Western Canada Calgary has taken the brunt of the hit from the drop in oil prices, and it has been a significant hit.  Having said that, the city has always experienced a boom and bust economy, but just hasn’t had a bust for a while!  Things will return, and as the “hub” for Western Canada, with the second largest number of head offices and the attraction of the low Alberta tax rate (for now) we expect it to boom again.  Edmonton will also be affected by the oil price as The Alberta Government is dependent on taxes from oil revenues, although the impact has not as yet been significant.   Saskatchewan is also generally a fairly hot market for talent but will feel the effect of a lower oil price.  The opportunity in the current market is for companies to upgrade their low performers, taking advantage of the available talent which will quickly disappear as the economy rebounds.

Parliament building in OttawaEagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal & the “Maritimes”. Ottawa has been a steady government market for some time now and we don’t see that changing as boomers retire and new opportunities arise.  Montreal continues to be steady, particularly in the financial sector, the telcos and the construction industry. There will be some impact from the oil price felt particularly in Newfoundland.  This region is typically slower for job creation at the best of times, so I expect it to be even slower than normal until we see an uptick in oil prices

AT Eagle our focus in on professional staffing and the people in demand from our clients have been fairly consistent for some time. That would include Program Managers, Project Managers and Business Analysts who always seem to be in demand. It might just be our focus, but Change Management and Organizational Excellence resources are in relatively high demand too. Big data, analytics, CRM and mobile expertise are specializations that we are seeing more and more. On the Finance and Accounting, side we see a consistent need for financial analysts, accountants with designations and public accounting experience plus controllers as a fairly consistent talent request. Technology experts with functional expertise in Health Care is another skill set that sees plenty of demand


Always look on the bright side of life
The first quarter has been a tale of East versus West.  The West has suffered through the predictable fallout from a dropping price of a barrel of oil, the Eats have continued somewhat unabated.  Now is a tough time to be looking for work in the oil patch and we are seeing an increase in willingness to travel to where there is demand for talent.  While our crystal ball is no better than any other, we expect this situation to correct through the latter part of 2015 and first half of 2016.

While the impact in Calgary has been significant we have not seen too much impact in other markets, including Edmonton which we would have expected.  This may happen yet, with an impending election and the impact of dropping revenues from oil taxes.

The other big verticals such as Financial, Insurance, Telecommunications and Construction have not been greatly affected by the price of oil. Demand for talent appears to be strong and we are seeing these sectors benefit from newly available talent, previously employed in the oil sector.

Despite the current crunch, we expect continued skills shortages in our knowledge economy, partly fuelled by the boomers retiring, but also caused by our education system not turning out the right skill sets and the advancements in technology creating a shortage as the skills catch up.

The unemployment rate at 6.8% is not great but it is also not terrible.  When you factor in the fact that unemployment amongst professionals is probably more like 4% companies are still having trouble finding the right talent, at the right time for the right price!

That was my quarterly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

Are You TRULY Living Your Life?

Live life to the full ... quote from Mark Twain


Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

Humility is a Key Attribute for a Leader

Jim Rohn quote on leadershipI read a Fortune magazine article recently and it was talking about the importance of humility in CEOs.  My immediate reaction was that seemed so obvious, and I was also struck that ALL leaders need to demonstrate some humility.

It did not take much reflection to understand why the article was necessary.  There are countless stories of CEOs with big egos and the damage that can cause, ranging from sheer illegal activity to losing key employees who do not feel valued and at a minimum they have poor results.

All too often leaders, who probably have significant experience to bring to the table, think that they have all the answers.  Perhaps it is a pure ego thing, perhaps it is the result of significant previous success or perhaps they have surrounded themselves with “yes people”.

“Our ego hinders our ability to influence more than anything else under our control.”  Michael McKinney

It is not just company executives who suffer this way.  How many times has the expert consultant brought in to a company for their experience and arrived knowing what the answer is?  Despite knowing somewhere down deep that every situation is different!  Their previous successes feed their ego and it gets away from them.

How many times have we seen companies lose their way because the CEO took them down the wrong path, or refused to adapt to changing conditions, or worse yet, ignored input from others?  They were leaders who believed that they knew best, and nobody would convince them otherwise.

Experience is a hard earned asset, deserves respect and we can all benefit from the input of people with experience.  However no person is an island and the experience of the many is typically more valuable than the experience of one.

It is a poor leader who will think they have all the answers!  They will never attract or retain great talent, and they will not have the respect of their people.

A good leader will bring their experience to the table, but will take into account the input from those around them.

A great leader will find people who have even more experience and wisdom than they themselves have.  They will take that collective input, weigh up the data, and make decisions.  They will not come to the table with their mind made up, even though they might have strong opinions.

When we decide that we have all the answers we stop learning, and possibly that is the greatest mistake of all.  When we stop learning we can no longer be a leader.

“Humility is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all the possible changes of life.”  George Arliss

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

10 Lessons From a Retirement Party on Living a Good Life

Make people feel good as your legacyRecently I attended a retirement party for a friend that I have known for more than 25 years.  It was a great time and I was able to catch up with a number of people I had not seen in some time, plus meet some new and interesting people.

There were a lot of people at that party and it was very evident how well my friend is regarded by people at all levels, from the very top executives down.

One of my friend’s quotes says “Looking back, I am concluding that one of life’s most rewarding moments is when you run into people on their knees and you are able to lean over and lift them up.”  

For me it was a great reminder of what is truly important in life, and my friend embodies so many of those values.

Here are 10 tips on living a good life, based on his experiences:

  1. Always make time for your friends and family.
  2. Choose a career that you will find fulfilling.
  3. Push yourself to live up to your potential.
  4. Do not be envious of other people’s lives.
  5. Have a plan for your life.
  6. Be nice to people.
  7. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  8. Always be learning and growing.
  9. Make time for have some fun.
  10. Get involved and give back.

Retirement in 2015 is not what it was in decades past … people retire with lots of energy, many years of life left and the experience that they can put to use in a Career #2, IF they so choose.  For some it will just be the First Retirement!   If you live your life well you will always have new doors available to be opened.  I have no doubt that my friend will be entering his next phase with the same energy he demonstrated in phase 1!

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  Vivian Greene

Many years ago my mother sent me a birthday card with that famous James Dean quote, “Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.”  I still have that card posted on my wall … maybe I need to send one just like it to my friend.  Of course he could well have coined the phrase himself!

Steven Covey suggests that we Begin with the end in mind.”  Just maybe the ultimate way to do that is to begin your career thinking about what you would like your retirement party to look like!  It doesn’t really matter where you are in your career, you can always choose to change things up and live the life you deserve.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?


Technology Industry News for March 2015

Tech pictureThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for March 2015. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of March in previous years …

Five years ago, March 2010 saw a continuation of the economic recovery.  It was a quiet month for M&A activity with CA buying both 3Tera for about $90 million and Nimsoft for $350 million.  Chordiant was bought by Pegasytems for a little over $160 million, and the other notable deal was Avnet’s $340 million purchase of Bell Microproducts.   Three years ago, in March 2011 world events included Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear woes.  Montreal’s Radian6 was snapped up by for about $276 million; Facebook made a couple of acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $50 million for Next New Networks; McAfee bought database security firm Sentrigo; Cisco logoCisco bought portal company newScale; Teradata bought data analytics startup Aster data … a continuation of the consolidation in the red hot data space;  and OpenText bought a mobile app development tool vendor WeComm.  In March 2012 there was some activity with a couple of (then) young companies receiving significant capital Appirio ($60 million) and Hootsuite ($20 million).  Cisco made a couple of acquisitions, paying a wopping $5 billion for video software and content company NDS Group in addition to a smaller network management buy, ClearAccess.  NEC paid $450 million for the information management business of Convergys and Avaya paid $230 million for an Israeli videoconferenceing and telepresence company Radvision.  Other companies on the acquisition trail were DELL, EMC, SafeNet, Avnet and Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseThe Utility Company.  Two years ago March 2013 saw some of the “usual suspects” making acquisitions, but there were no billion dollar deals announced.  Oracle continued its move into the telco space with the purchase of Tekelec; Google bought a small Toronto University based company DNNresearch in the machine learning vertical; Microsoft sold Atlas Advertiser Suite to Facebook; and Yahoo bought Summly.  Last year in March 2014 Facebook made a, somewhat surprising, $2 Billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR.  Intel also expanded its horizons with the $150 million acquisition SAPof smart watch maker, Basis Science.  SAP added to its purchasing software suite with the acquisition of Fieldglass and Telus made a couple of buys, Enode a management consulting company out of Quebec and Med Access an addition, in British Columbia, to their healthcare division.

Which brings us back to the present …

March 2015 saw some significant M&A activity with HP paying $3 billion for Aruba Networks; Lexmark paying $1 HP logobillion for customer management software company Kofax; eCommerce company Rakuten paid $410 million for ebook marketplace Overdrive; Cheetah Mobile is paying $58 million for mobile ad networkMobPartner;  TeraGo Networks paid $33 million for cloud provider RackForce; IBM bought natural language and image processing company AlchemyAPI; and in the cable TV world Charter Communications is paying $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itOther companies in the news includes SAP laying off 3% of its workforce (2,250, jobs); Ericsson is cutting 2,200 jobs and Sharp is cutting 6,000 jobs.  Aplle released details of its new Apple watch, and also had good news about its market positioning of mobile phone sales since its release of the iPhone 6.

oil rigFor yet another month the reports and surveys out of the US were all positive demonstrating a strong recovery in that economy.  Canada’s news was less than stellar with unemployment creeping up to 6.8% from 6.6% in January.  The collapsing oil price is anticipated to cost 8,000 jobs in the Canadian oil patch.  Another report suggests that skills shortages will see Canada short by 182,000 people in the tech sector by 2019.

On a final note the FAA moved a little bit on approval of drone deliveries in the US, however the limitations are likely to limit that industry in the near term.

That is it for my look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.  I’ll be back at the end of April, until then … walk fast and smile!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

Encourage People to Ask For Help

Ask for help quote from cesar chavez

I always tell new employees to ask lots of questions.  I tell them that it is far better to ask, and get it right than to assume and get it wrong.  I tell them that they might feel stupid asking the same questions over and again … but the reality is, in our busy world we all need to hear the lessons multiple times before they stick.  It in no way means they are stupid!

I also try very hard to ensure people are not made to feel stupid when they ask questions … because that is one sure-fire way to stop the questions from coming!

“The strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.”  Rona Barrett

Today I read an article from Harvard Business Review about a study showing that when facing a difficult task, a person you ask for advice will actually think MORE of you, rather than think you are stupid.  That “the very act of seeking help conveys a certain wisdom”.  Also they suggest that “people with knowledge to share think highly of anyone who goes to them for advice.”

“You may feel vulnerable asking for help, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all learned to depend on each other?”  Lori Deschene

This is important data that makes a lot of sense and my lesson from this study is to encourage ALL of my staff to ask more questions … not just new employees, or people new to their role.

Here are just three reasons why we should not try to do everything alone:

  1. Two heads are better than one … an old but relevant saying. With more than one person looking at the situation you will get more ideas than just one person looking at it.
  1. Avoid overconfidence. The person who thinks they know it all is delusional.  No matter how experienced you are you can benefit from input … even if it is to remind you of the point or two you forgot!
  1. Get buy-in. If the person you ask for advice is your boss, or another manager, then you are spreading the risk for your solution.  If something goes wrong it wasn’t just you who had input to the solution.  This is much more than a CYA (cover your butt), it is good governance.

The Harvard study is good supporting data, but leaders should intuitively know that encouraging staff to ask questions is just common sense!  When people guess, assume or just make it up the result not likely to be what we would want!

Do you encourage people to ask questions or do you make them feel that they should always know the answers?

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

Some Hard Facts About Sales

Some sales statisticsYour job in sales is to generate business for your employer.

You do this by:

  • Representing your company well.
  • Understanding client needs and problems.
  • Solving those needs and problems with your company’s solutions/products.

“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”  Zig Ziglar

There a LOT of pieces to that, including:

  • Recognising where there is a fit, and not forcing square pegs into round holes.
  • Recognising that to get the whole story from one client you may need to talk with a lot of people … and listen a lot.
  • Recognising that to uncover one client that actually needs your help will necessitate a lot of rejection from companies that don’t need it today.
  • Recognising that people like to deal with people they like.
  • Recognising that you need to earn trust.
  • Recognising that you need to build credibility.
  • Recognising that this is all hard work … and needs total focus.

“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.”  Wilson Mizner

Look at the chart … this is real life!

You need to be able to answer these questions.

  • How many good leads do you need to get “enough” closes to meet your targets?
  • How many meetings do you need to have to get those “good leads”?
  • How many conversations do you need to have on the phone to get those meetings?
  • How many calls do you need to make to get those conversations?
  • How many of those people that you called never hear from you again?
  • How many people you talked with will never hear from you again?
  • Do you have a system and a process to keep in contact with those people … bringing them some kind of value?
  • Why do you think people will buy from you?

There is nowhere to hide … this is what it takes for you to be successful.

“Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.”  Jim Rohn

If you are waiting for the phone to ring you might be waiting a long time.

If you are relying on the same clients you relied on last year then you are in decline.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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