CEO Blog

Category Archives: Management

The Continuing Value of a Recruiter to The Client

invest in people There are many reasons why clients will go to a recruiter.  Some of those reasons are fairly common and others are not so common.  Typically clients look to a recruiter when they have an urgent need for talent … but an ongoing relationship with your recruiter will mean you can actually get proactive!

Today I will talk about the kind of situation many managers face, the need to bring new knowledge into the organization.  There are many reasons why this is needed.

  • You do not have a key skill amongst your employees;
  • A key resource leaves and the skill leaves with them; or
  • A new technology comes into the company and you have no-one with that skill.

Typically companies will approach these situations in a few different ways:

  • Hire someone new into the position who has that skill;
  • Hire a contractor into the position;
  • Muddle through; or
  • Outsource the responsibility to an external supplier.

There are however many times when you have good employees, who could do the work if they had the right experience.  They are also people you would want to reward with this kind of opportunity and if your could then it would strengthen their tie to your organization.

What can you do?

Your recruiter can help you to identify the right kind of contract resource, who can bring the experience and the skill.  Their task would NOT be to do the work themselves but to partner with the internal employee through the process of getting them up to speed, while ensuring the work is done well.  As a part of their mandate they could even train a few in house people in relevant skills to ensure adequate backup for your new in-house expert.  This approach is more attractive to in house resources who might resent the “sexy” projects being given to contract resources.

The short term cost might be a little higher than hiring a net new person, or even hiring a contractor for the duration.  Longer term you have the skills you need, happy employees and your costs are likely to be less.

“If you take care of your employees they will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself.”  J W Marriott

It requires a little more planning and the right expectation setting with both the contractor and the employee.  It might require a willingness to put in a little extra effort on the part of the employee, but they will be getting new skills in return.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”  Chinese Proverb

This is just one more reason why hiring managers should have an ongoing relationship with their recruiter.  A good recruiter will be able to understand the business issue, find exactly the right candidate and set the right expectations with an incoming contract resource.
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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?
________________________________________________________________

Practical Tips for Driving Your Day

Jim Rohn quote about time managementI often talk about the need to take control of your time.  Too often we come to the office and just “do stuff”, which means that your day is driving you.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Yogi Berra

Sometimes when I talk about this subject I see heads nodding, the recognition that what I am saying makes sense … but all too often people don’t change how they operate.

“The only possible way to have it ALL is with structure and the discipline to keep to it, to make it a routine.” Margot Hattingh

Here are some ideas about exactly HOW you can drive your day using goals, routines and priorities.

  1. Set some goals … they can be your own or set by the company. g. If you are in sales you may have a goal that supports meeting your sales quota.  If you are a recruiter you might have a goal of interviewing 2 people a day.  Other examples might be learning goals (1 one hour seminar a month etc.) or numbers of people to talk with or meet with.
  2. Understand which tasks have the highest priority related to your job. If you are in sales they might be client meetings or calls; if you are a recruiter it might be conversations with candidates or interviews.  These tasks will be the ones that have the most impact.  These are “A” type priority items.
  3. Understand what the mandatory “other tasks” are in your job. These might be internal reporting, meetings with your boss etc.   These will be “B” type priority items.
  4. Create your Master To Do list. I always suggest having this separate from your notebook (or wherever you capture notes).  I like to capture what I have done in my notebook, and keep a separate list of things I need to do.  Identify which are high priority tasks, which are
  5. Create a standard “start of day” routine with reminders generated in your calendar. These could be “Start of Day routine” … review To Dos; identify what to do that day; book time in calendar for specific tasks (more later).   This should be done BEFORE opening email or listening to voicemail.  It should be revised if necessary after those tasks.
  6. Create a standard “end of day” routine (again with reminders) Review To Do’s; Identify calendar items for next day & any required preparation; celebrate completing tasks etc.
  7. Create a standard end of week routine; a standard end of month routine (that might include monthly report generation etc.)
  8. Measure yourself against your goals regularly … as it makes sense. If your goal is to have 10 client meetings a week, then you can measure that every day … meetings you have had plus those planned gives you a shortfall to correct.
  9. Always put the emphasis on high return (A type priorities).
  10. Build time into your day for the “B type” activities.
  11. Build time into your day for breaks.
  12. When NOT on a break focus on work!

If you can do that you will be driving your day.

“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” Brian Tracy

What did I miss?  What else could you do?

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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?
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A Mentor/Mentee Relationship is Attractive BUT Hard Work!

Quote from John Maxwell about mentorshipMentoring is very often cited as an excellent way for “up and comers” to learn, and it can also be very rewarding to the mentor as they help those early in their career.

“There are two ways to acquire wisdom; you can either buy it or borrow it.” Benjamin Franklin

I read an excellent article from Brian Tracy a number of years ago called The Value of Mentors which appeared on the CPSA website (Canadian Professional Sales Association).  The focus of the article was on the mentee, and gave a number steps that a mentee can do in order to take full advantage of mentors.

I have had mixed success as a mentor, and while some people will say I have helped them in their career, there have been a number of occasions where I felt I had provided very little value and in fact the experience had been a waste of my time and their time.

Given all of the above I certainly can’t profess to be a great mentor, but I can share some of the lessons I have learned, the hard way:

  1. Put the emphasis on the mentee.  They need to do the work of deciding where they need help.
  2. Have a formal agenda, ahead of time, for any meeting.
  3. Don’t wing it … know the topics for discussion ahead of time.
  4. It is OK to let the conversation wander, after the agenda is done.
  5. The concept of a mentor/mentee relationship is often very attractive, but there is a lot of work involved … don’t commit to the relationship if both parties are not willing to commit to the work!

Informal chats with people can bring value, but it can equally be a waste of time.  My advice to anyone considering being a mentor is to ensure the mentee is prepared well (Brian Tracy’s article is a good place for them to start.

“For every one of us that succeeds, it is because there’s somebody there to show you the way out.” Oprah Winfrey

I will reiterate that there is much to be gained from having a mentor and in being a mentor.  The effort is worth the result, but without the effort it is very likely to be another conversation with little value.

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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?
________________________________________________________________

Surviving a Downturn (in Alberta?)

oil rigsHere in Canada, where the resource sector plays such a big role in our economy there is some concern about what kind of economy we are going to see in 2015.  The price of oil is unlikely to recover quickly and the conference board is suggesting that Alberta will head into recession.

This will have people wringing their hands and concerned for their future.  The most pragmatic will already be making plans for the new realities and those who have not yet done that will either throw your hands in the air and hope for the best … or better yet will knuckle down and do what is needed!

The following is advice that I remember reading from Tom Peters at the start of the last recession … it was sobering, but reality.  It seemed like a good time to pull it out again.

I am constantly asked for “strategies/’secrets’ for surviving the recession.” I try to appear wise and informed—and parade original, sophisticated thoughts. But if you want to know what’s going through my head, read the list below:

You work longer.
You work harder.
You may well work for less; and, if so, you adapt to the untoward circumstances with a smile—even if it kills you inside.
You volunteer to do more.
You always bring a good attitude to work.
You fake it if your good attitude flags.
You literally practice your “game face” in the mirror in the morning, and in the loo mid-morning.
You shrug off shit that flows downhill in your direction—buy a shovel or a “pre-worn” raincoat on eBay.
You get there earlier.
You leave later.
You forget about “the good old days”—nostalgia is for wimps.
You buck yourself up with the thought that “this too shall pass”—but then remind yourself that it might not pass anytime soon, so you re-dedicate yourself to making the absolute best of what you have now.
You eschew all forms of personal excess.
You simplify.
You sweat the details as you never have before.
You sweat the details as you never have before.
You sweat the details as you never have before.
You raise to the sky the standards of excellence by which you evaluate your own performance.
You thank others by the truckload if good things happen—and take the heat yourself if bad things happen.
You behave kindly, but you don’t sugarcoat or hide the truth—humans are startlingly resilient.
You treat small successes as if they were Superbowl victories—and celebrate and commend accordingly.
You shrug off the losses (ignoring what’s going on inside your tummy), and get back on the horse and try again.
You avoid negative people to the extent you can—pollution kills.
You eventually read the gloom-sprayers the riot act.
You learn new tricks of your trade.
You network like a demon.
You help others with their issues.
You give new meaning to the word “thoughtful.”
You redouble, re-triple your efforts to “walk in your customer’s shoes.” (Especially if the shoes smell.)
You mind your manners—and accept others’ lack of manners in the face of their strains.
You are kind to all mankind.
You leave the blame game at the office door.
You become a paragon of accountability.
And then you pray.

Thanks Tom!

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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?
________________________________________________________________

Are You Changing With the Times? 11 Questions to Ask Yourself.

Vince Lombardi quote about winning in a complex societyOur world is constantly changing and we all need to adapt with it if we want to survive and remain relevant!

“Control your own destiny or someone else will.”  Jack Welch

If you are a salesperson, what are you doing differently to ensure that meet your targets in 2015?  You can be sure that someone out there wants to eat your lunch, how are you going to combat that?  How are you going to take market share from your competitors?

If you are a business owner or a leader of any kind you need to be aware of your environment and adapt to the inevitable changes affecting you and your business.

We are a couple of weeks into January and already there have been some big impacts on our world here in Canada.  Target announced it is shutting its Canadian operation, Sony is shutting its Canadian retail operation and Mexx is shutting down.  The conference board suggests that Alberta will go into recession based upon the price of oil and the Canadian dollar is as weak as it has been for a long time.

There are disruptors gaining traction in many industries … a couple of examples would be Uber in the taxi/limousine space and AirBnB in the hotel space.  Are there disruptors in your space?  Would you know if there were?

Skills shortages associated with the professions are a growing issue, but that may come with high unemployment in the unskilled labor market because of the attraction to offshore manufacturing.

Add to all of the above factors the uncertainty created by international terrorism and you have a market that looks very different from this time last year.

“Enterprises that do not adapt are in for a lot of trouble.” John McCallum

Here are 11 questions you might want to ask within your organization …

  1. Do you understand what internal and external factors will affect your business?
  1. Do you understand the risks AND opportunities?
  1. Are you listening to your clients? Are you asking them good questions?  Do you know how they will react?
  1. If you are in management are you listening to you staff … because they are closer to the action? Are you arming them with the right questions to ask?
  1. Do you have a game plan for 2015? How is it different than 2014/2013/2012/1998?
  1. Are you active in your industry association? Do you know what your competitors are planning?
  1. When did you last do a strategic plan?
  1. When did you last look outside your own business?
  1. When did you last do an extensive account planning exercise?
  1. Are you executing on the planning that you have done?
  1. Do you have the right people on your team, or could you benefit from “upgrading”?

If you can answer these questions well you are likely in a minority, and well positioned for the future.  If you are doing the “same old, same old” then just maybe you should act now before it is too late!

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

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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?
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Waiting is Not a Winning Strategy

Oliver Wendel Holmes quote about time running outThere is an old saying that goes something like, “Good things come to those that wait”.

My experience, certainly in the business world, is that if you want something to happen then you had better drive that outcome!

“Don’t just stand there.  Make it happen.”  Lee Iacoca

Here are 5 reasons why waiting is a bad idea:

  1. Waiting is a passive state … it cannot affect the decision. Doing something is always a better alternative.
  2. If you are waiting for a client decision, then you can assume your competition are influencing that decision … that is what I would do!
  3. If you wait, then get the wrong decision you will never know if you could have influenced it. If you act then at least you know you did everything you could.
  4. If you are waiting, hoping that time will provide you with something of value then likely you will be disappointed. If you want something of value, develop a plan to get it … and execute on that plan.  Fate might be kind to you, but giving fate a push improves your odds.
  5. If there truly is nothing else you can be doing to affect that outcome then use the time to influence some other outcome … don’t JUST wait. If you are in sales you should be working your next deal (and the one after that).

Waiting is not just a  bad idea in business, the same applies in all aspects of our lives.

“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here are a few thoughts about waiting …

Don’t wait for someone to come along, get out there and meet people.

Don’t wait for the right opportunity, make your own opportunity.

Don’t wait until the timing is right, find a way to make it happen.

Don’t let life pass you by because you are waiting!

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” Charles Buxton

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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?
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5 Reasons Salespeople Should Finish Strong!

Finish StrongWhen I was much younger I used to be a sprinter, and my distance was the 220 yard sprint, although I also ran the 100 yard race.  These days of course, those races would be 200 and 100 metre races.

One of my lasting memories of this sport was my coach shouting, “Finish strong”, whether it was during training or while competing.

I have also been a soccer player for most of my life and it seems to have always been a popular phrase during training sessions.

The driving force for this sentiment is that races, and soccer games, are not over until everyone is done or the referee has blown the whistle.  It is therefore critical that participants compete “through” the finish, and not “anticipate” the finish by easing up as the end approaches.  A large number of races and games are won and lost right at that time!  How many times have you seen a runner “pipped” at the post, or a game decided by a final play?

“Are you going to Finish Strong?”  Nick Vujicic (of “No arms, no Legs no Worries” fame)

In the business world this same mentality applies to the sales profession, most particularly at this time of year.  There is a strong motivation to ease up on the activity levels, to perhaps “cruise” through the final two weeks.  We will tell ourselves that the clients are easing up, that they are not going to make spending decisions during late December or that they are more focused on things other than work.

We make excuses to focus on “busy work” or perhaps some personal activities.

We might socialize a little more with our more popular clients, which is not a bad thing as long as nothing is slipping as a result!

Just like those races and soccer games, it is very easy to lose because others are working hard when you are easing up!

I would suggest that this time of year, more than most, is a time for salespeople to work harder than ever.   Here are five reasons why you need to Finish Strong!

  • SOME of your clients might slow down, but that means you have a better chance of getting their attention.
  • Some of your clients will have year end budget that they need to use.
  • Some of your clients will be planning for next year, and you can understand their needs early.
  • Some of your clients will have extra time, and this you can get face time easier than at other times.
  • For many of your clients it will be business as usual, so don’t miss your opportunities.

 “It’s supposed to be hard!  If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it.  It is the hard that makes it great.”  Jimmy Dugan

 Don’t get caught out, push through to the very end … and then enjoy a little time off!

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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) VirtualRecruiterservice?
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10 Tips To Get Employee Input

Vince Lombardi quote about team versus individualIf you are of the opinion that nobody knows the answer better than you, then you might disagree with the premise of this article.

There are certainly people who think they are smarter than everyone else, and they will discount all opinions beyond their own.

There are people who will only accept input, advice or opinion from a certain group of people that they trust.  While that is better than thinking they have all the answers themselves, it is still an artificial limit on potentially valuable input.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

I believe that there are always multiple views on any given situation, and if you only look at it one way then you are missing an opportunity.

You do not need to agree with everyone who provides input … but you really should give it serious consideration.  Even if one small aspect of their argument gives you pause, then you have received value.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Ryunosuke Satoro

One of the fairly standard approaches of new leaders (or leaders new to their position) is to gather input from as many people as possible.  It might be part of a 90 or 100 day plan, or something less formal.  It might involve talking to fellow executives and managers, or more valuable is to include conversation with the people actually “doing the job”.

Leaders, by nature will have egos, but ego should never factor into doing the right thing.

If you are a leader (new or old) make sure that you take advantage of the collective brainpower in your organization.  The breadth of thinking, the differences in opinion and the multiple views will provide valuable information from which you can make informed decisions.

10 ideas to gather valuable information from your team:

  1. Create both formal and informal means of getting input.
  2. Act on the information … it does not mean you need to implement every idea, but people need to know you listened.
  3. Try “Ideas boxes” … they can be physical or electronic, just a means for anonymous feedback (sometimes needed).
  4. Build time into your schedule for staff meetings … group lunches, individual chats, coffee with the boss.
  5. Ask good questions.
  6. Listen … and be seen to be listening!
  7. Give information back … people want to know what you are thinking, where the company (division) is going, what management thinks.
  8. Involve your fellow executive/managers … from all areas of the business.
  9. Give credit to people who have good ideas … never take credit yourself!
  10. Encourage people to talk to you … open door management.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Henry Ford

If you think you have all the answers you will quickly find yourself alone … and that is not a good place to be!

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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) VirtualRecruiterservice?
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Making The Most of Your Sales Meeting Time

Zig Ziglar quote about using time effectivelyIf you work in any large city, or your sales territory is large, then you can find yourself spending a lot of time travelling to and from meetings. Obviously face to face time with clients is critically important but you also don’t want to kill your productivity for a day, or half a day because of that meeting.

What can you do to be productive when you have to accommodate a fair bit of travel into your schedule? Here are some tips:

“You win not by chance, but by preparation”. Roger Maris

  1. This may seem obvious but plan your schedule as effectively as possible… you don’t have to accept the first time that your client suggests.
  2. Think through what times work best for you… for example, on your way into work, or on your way home might be most effective.
  3. Try to avoid prime “calling time” when you can be on the phone with other clients and prospects.
  4. Can you use the travel time? I would not advocate tough business calls while driving, but with hands free technology and a little preplanning you could make some of your “catch up” calls while on the road.
  5. If you can use other transport, like public transport, then you can work on other things while you travel.
  6. Plan your time so that the activities you can do while out of the office, are saved for those occasions… catch up reading, short emails, writing cards etc.
  7. Schedule other client meetings in the area that you are visiting, maximizing the “travel time per meeting”. If you travel for 60 minutes to have one 60 minute meeting, it is not very efficient.
  8. Try to meet multiple people at the site you are visiting, there are typically multiple people who would be worth meeting. The accounting people who pay your bills, the EA who helps set up meetings, the purchasing person who handles contracts etc.
  9. Make the most of your meeting time! Have a clear agenda, so you get all of the information you need in one go! Take good notes so you don’t miss anything!
  10. Make sure that you use your calendar and everyone who needs to know your schedule does know it. That way they can slot in other meetings for you, even if you are out at meetings.

“Day by day, what you do is who you become.” Heraclitus

Some salespeople are lucky, and their clients are all close by, but even then there are many things we as salespeople can do to maximize our time. A little planning, some forethought and a focus on the fact that time is a precious resource will go a long way to increasing our productivity and success!

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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) VirtualRecruiterservice?
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Thinking Ahead

Preparation quote from Ben FrankllinFor a short period of time, during my school years, I took chess lessons. While I enjoyed the game I did not keep it up, probably because I was more inclined to less cerebral activities like football (soccer). The aspect of chess that I found most interesting is the need to think multiple steps ahead, to think through the implications of your next move and your opponent’s likely response… and beyond!

I try to apply the same thinking in my professional life. If I can think ahead a few moves then it means I can be better prepared for whatever might come my way. Obviously there are no crystal balls, but too often the future is very obvious and yet there are people who somehow always seem surprised!

“A first-rate Organizer is never in a hurry. He is never late. He always keeps up his sleeve a margin for the unexpected.” Arnold Bennett

Can you see yourself in any of these situations:

  1. The salesperson has one key contact in a client who gives them a significant amount of business. That person leaves, or retires, or gets promoted, or moves role… and “Surprise” the business dries up!
  2. The company relies on its technology to be its differentiator… but at some point someone else innovates faster. Surprise! The market for their solution is no longer popular.
  3. You have monthly work commitments and you have an upcoming vacation that will impact your ability to deliver. Surprise… you suddenly have to get the work done, at the last minute, before going on vacation!
  4. I make a commitment to deliver a speech at an upcoming conference, but procrastinate in writing it until “Surprise” the conference is in two days!
  5. You want to lose some weight and get fitter before the warm weather arrives. You lay out a plan but there are so many “exception occasions” that “Surprise” your weight is not going down and your fitness not improving!

If you take time out to plan then you are far less likely to get surprised. Thinking ahead, or “planning” is critical for individuals and companies.

“A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.” Confucius

In sales you need “account plans” that will meet and exceed your quota targets with built-in allowance for anomalies. You need to ensure adequate account coverage, an understanding of the “players”, competition, opportunities and threats. Good account planning should result in few surprises.

As a company you need strategic plans that will map out your future, taking into account external and internal influences such as competition and regulatory change. You should collaborate with your management team, and consider using external advisors in the creation of these plans.

As an individual you need to plan your time, ensuring that you get to complete the things you both need, and want, to do. A good plan will allow for both work and personal goals, assuring the right kind of life balance that suits your situation.

If you let your days drive you, instead of you driving your days you are bound to get more surprises than necessary!

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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) VirtualRecruiterservice?
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