The pulsating drumbeat that courses through Sheryl Sandberg's bookLean In is equality for women in the workplace. Sitting on the other side of the forest listening to Sheryl's rhythm of reason however, that's not what I hear at first. I'm hearing an unbelievable opportunity to free and unleash production, effectiveness and innovation in the workplace!
Sheryl's book is going on its fourteenth printing and selling like mad. I think it's women reading the book and shouting out, "that's me, that's me, that's me!" But a lot of others, I hope, are buying and reading Lean In and saying, that's an opportunity, that's an opportunity, that's an opportunity!"
Observation: Listen, I know Sheryl comes from a well-to-do background that most of us only dream about. Get over it. She speaks the truth, the truth of what's going on out there; the truth of what most women are enduring in the workplace.
The opportunities that I feel are coming are more like a hurricane than a drumbeat. The vision I see is two 1972 Cutlass's sitting at a red light out in the desert. One has fat tires, is jacked up and breathes fire. The other looks like something your grandma might drive. But under the hood is 2013 tricked out, computerized technology. For Grandma to win the race she only has to step on the gas. And when she does, the muscle car gasps for breath while it eats her dust.
Many women today are your Grandma's 1972 Cutlass. They have what it takes. They need understanding, guidance and care from both women and men who are in a position to give it. They need to hear, "Suze, pound on that accelerator girl! We got your back. Let it out. Let the world see what you got!"
If the status-quo American business society today can get out of its own way and wake up to the fact there are millions of women, who if at least, are accorded the same opportunities as men, but on a more progressive note, are encouraged and guided,the productivity gained and innovation uncovered would reestablish America as the national business power she truly should be, and place all other nations soundly in the second paragraph. Who knows, we might even give Finland, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan a run at their global educational power rankings.
Do you work at Facebook? Wanna know a little secret for how to excel and stand out from your coworkers? Actually you can take the secret advice that I'm about to give and tell it to everyone you know at Facebook. You wanna know what? Somewhere between ninety and ninety-seven percent will totally disregard it.
Now, what sort of advantage do you suppose that gives you?
Ready? Take another chomp on that donut and you'll miss it.
Read Sheryl Sandberg's bookLean In. Apply what you learn. That's it!
This advice applies to men and women, but especially to women. Of course I am speculating that the culture that Sheryl talks about trickles down more than a few layers of management. In reality, Sheryl would be laughed out of Silcone Valley if it didn't.
Here's one example that screams about what Sheryl and Facebook value. Lori Goler, a marketing director at eBay, called Sheryl up inquiring about work at Facebook. She asked, "what is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?" Sheryl mentions in hiring thousands of people over a ten year period, no one had ever asked that question. It blew her away. Lori got the job.
If there was a book out in public about a company that lays out in black and white what they value in their workforce and I was a part of that workforce, I'd memorize the doggone thing. Fortunately for you ninety to ninety-seven out of one-hundred of your coworkers will go about their business oblivious to this or think the highway they're already traveling is the right one.
Read the book. Apply what you learn. Stand Out in a Sea of Facebook Sameness!
Are you a Gen-Yer looking to stand out, looking for an edge, looking to grow? Then The Encore Career Handbook, designed for older people looking to make a difference in the second half of their lives, is the perfect road map for you!
Are you one of those folks who grew up with What Color is Your Parachute? The Encore Career Handbook is the What Color is Your Parachute for the 21st century. Although I wouldn't replace the Parachute book with it, just use it to supplement your knowledge.
Back to Gen-Y, my most favorite generation. What do you suppose the odds are that sometime in your life you'll work for or with a Baby Boomer (people 49-67)? Do you think it might be to your advantage to get to understand thoughts, beliefs and ideas from this age group have?
To be real, I've moved away from forming hard fast opinions on people because of the generation they belong to. If it weren't for my bald head and the fact I look every bit of my fifty plus years on this planet, I'd say I'm a Gen-Yer - because I feel that way. But generalities are useful, particularly when they come to this subject.
I recommend reading The Encore Career Handbook because it will help you learn about some of the underlying motivations that Boomers take to work everyday. Did you know that Suzy, the fifty-one year old manager of your office, secretly desires to work with wounded animals? No. But engage her in exploratory conversations and you'll probably learn a whole lot more when it comes to your personal development.
I once told Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist, a book on career advice targeted to Gen-X & Y, that I bought and read her book so I could learn more about those generations and be a better manager. I believe the words I used were I was using her intel to go undercover.
This is precisely what I recommend Gen-Yers do. Buy and read The Encore Career Handbook in order to learn more about Baby Boomers.
Update 8/14/2013 - I was a bit hasty in declaring The Encore Career Handbook the new What Color is Your Parachute? Dick Bolles has published a fresh and new copy of Parachute for thirty-nine straight years. And that doesn't include the two editions he published before 1975. That's just crazy man! I believe however, that Marci captures both the spirit and detail of what Mr. Bolles has been providing for nearly four decades.
Join in with Jonathan Fields as he interviews Tommy Bahler. But first, I must ask you, are you a dad? Especially if you're a dad to young children. Tommy is seventy years old and the stories he tells are influenced by his dad. So when you listen and watch him, think about how you can be like his dad.
If you like learning and storytelling/listening, you are gonna love listening to Tommy!
Go here to learn about Jonathan's Good Life Project and check out the folks who he's interviewed.
Yesterday I had the most excellent and pleasurable of conversations with Rich and Mary Saltzman, owners of Sola Salon Studios serving the the Tampa Bay New Tampa and Wesley Chapel neighborhoods. There's much I'd like to tell you (and much more for me to learn), about the unique business concept that Rich and Mary deploy, their business philosophy, their story and the salon owners who are open to sharing their individual stories as they relate to business and perhaps most of all, their ability and freedom to express who they are through their work.
My interest in Rich, Mary and the salon owners relates to the freedom that is now part of their lives. This is what my future writing will focus on, not the promotion of their individual businesses per se. Before I move on from the thought of promoting the salon owner's however, I'd like you to think about one thing.
Would I want a stylist working on me who works in a shop laden with the pressures of drama, competition, inattentive / unreasonable owners, overall shop helter-skelter and messiness? Or would I want a stylist working on me who is free to express his or her artistic license?
There is a chance I put the cart ahead of the horse here. Rich and Mary are on board with my project. As are two of the salon owners. But as yet, I have not approached the others (I'm working on it. To be real, I was just so excited about what I witnessed yesterday that I had no choice but to write today). With this in mind, I'd like to tell you something about Rich and Mary.
Rich and Mary understand that the more positive stuff written about both their operation and those of the salon owners, the better it is for their business. They could easily pass out a memo encouraging salon owners to talk with me. But they will not. It's important to them that the salon owners have the autonomy to do their own thing. Perhaps the salon owner might be insanely busy or have other things going on in their life or maybe they just don't feel like participating; no worries, Rich and Mary are totally cool with it. This speaks volumes about these two engaging entrepreneurs.
More to come. Stay tuned. By the way, Rich and Mary have owned a Sola Salon Studios, which is located on N. Dale Mabry in Carrollwood, since 2009.
We were at Wiregrass Mall this past Saturday. Rosemary was shopping and I was people watching and vendor observing. Wiregrass had their Fresh Market event going on.
I walked up to M & M Sharpening's booth. Or rather I was attracted like a rat to cheese. I've owned knives since I was a pre-teen. I think I'm on my fourth or fifth sharpening stone and I flat out suck at putting a decent blade on a knife. I asked proprietor Mark Bertsche how long it would take to sharpen my pocket knife. He did it and would not accept payment. He said, "tell your friends about us." He didn't know about Rothacker Reviews and I didn't tell him. Btw, my knife's blade was gorgeous when Mark finished with it.
I asked Mark how he got into the business. He retired as a software engineer and needed something to occupy his time. He attends local Tampa craft shows in the winter time and heads up north in the summers. Mark will not be back in Tampa until the Fall. Ric, a protege, who is also an ex-software guy, was sharpening knives in the booth on Saturday. He is providing area sharpening services at this time. I'll give you the 411 on Ric once I use his services, but I was watching him work on one knife and it looked pretty sweet. Drop me an e-mail if you'd like to get in touch with Ric in the meantime.
Both Mark and Ric sharpen much more than knives. Check out M & M's site for more info. I love the fact of doing business with people who love what they do. Check them out!
I participated in the Kickstarter campaign for Seth and his team. This is a picture of all the stuff that my donation included. That large book weighs twenty pounds and you can see by the ruler below how large it actually is. I'll probably review the book in the not so distant future but I just wanted to pass the word along on the book and show you these pictures.
Should you buy the book? Yes. I've already made that determination after reading about thirty pages. But here's another reason. I first began to read Seth's books in the late nineties. I've seen improvement in each book. Seth has sharpened his awareness, increased his resources and enhanced his writing skills (I have twenty pounds of proof of this). That's why I'll continue to buy Seth books, provided he's not writing on some uninteresting topic, for years to come.
You gonna write about anything other than Dan Pink's new book Dave?
Along with ninety-five other people I agreed to help Dan Pink promote his new book To Sell is Human. I don't have a personal road-map for doing this. I've helped other authors over the years, mostly by writing about their books. A few have been collective efforts with others, the latest being Seth Godin's new book, The Icarus Deception. In this case I agreed to pay out money in advance. For Seth however, it was a no-brainer. I am receiving more value than I am paying out.
Although I did pre-order and purchase Dan's book, I joined this team effort because I truly believe in his work. Here's what we get: a signed first edition of the hardcover, an advance reviewer's copy and entrance to an exclusive Facebook page. What we really get is to be part of a team; a unique opportunity to learn and the ability to make a collective difference.
To Sell is Human stands on its own. Actually, this is the reason I wrote this post in the first place but I ventured off the beaten path a bit. We'll get to this in a minute. I wanted to make sure that my friends and acquaintances know about all the free stuff Dan is giving away for a limited time if you purchase the book before December 31, 2012. All I can say is: Extraordinary value!
In spite of never meeting Dan in person, I have a high degree of trust in him. I became aware of the lad in the late 90's via his work for Fast Company ( I have copies of all his FC articles since 2000). His book A Whole New Mind in 2005 was when I really connected with his thought process. He single handed-ly introduced me to the concept of design. I will never, ever recover!
Here's the thing about his work and for me it started with Drive. I do not require reams of case history and research to believe a point he is trying to make. Some people enjoy reading about research and the intricacies of experiments. I don't. I trust in Dan's effort. I'm not saying not to include the research and data, at times it is most useful, especially when Dan presents an interesting person. I just do not require it to form a belief.
Besides, there's a powerful force than runs just beneath our society today when it comes to validating an author's words, especially high profile ones like Dan. I call it the Wikipedia Phenomena. If Dan publishes a book with errant information, social media like Twitter and Facebook will light up with correcting data and detail in a heartbeat.
Buy the book, enjoy all the free stuff and in the end, make your live easier when trying to move people to buy into your thoughts, beliefs and widgets.
Back in the day I was frequently asked, how can I become a better manager? I'd say, read Marcus Buckingham and Rosa Say. Do what they say. It's no more complicated than that. If the person really looked hungry I'd add Tom Peters and Peter Drucker to that short list.
Nowadays I only write about management and leadership as it pertains to youth career development...and I'm not talking for managers in this respective field, I'm talking about for youth. But I recently read a book where a lesson stopped me in my tracks. I had no option but to write about it.
The book is titled A Foot in The Door: Networking Your Way Into The Hidden Job Market by Kathy Hansen. At first glance this book appears to yield no lesson for managers. But I learned a technique a few years ago I call the Law of Inversion that has since opened my mind to allow lesson penetration from all sources. Here's an example using a book titled Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk. The most powerful case of implementing the Law of Inversion happened to me when I used the section on interviewing from Dick Bolles' book What Color is Your Parachute? years ago, to increase my managerial interviewing skills.
To be real, there is a macro lesson for managers in the whole of Kathy's book. While the book teaches people to network for jobs, the hungry manager simply has to substitute network for information, wisdom and knowledge of their particular field. The technique is identical and results will be similar. But that's not what I came here to talk about today.
You can become a better manager by knowing the answers to a list of one-hundred questions that Kathy provides to help the networker. Here's a few:
What skills or personal characteristics do you feel contribute most to success in this industry?
What is the most important thing that someone planning to enter this career should know?
What do you do when you can't solve a problem on your own?
What organizations are you expected to join?
Is there a great deal of turnover in this job?
How does your company differ from its competitors?
What is the company's mission statement?
What is a typical career path in this field or organization?
What do you wish you'd known before you entered this field?
A good manager should know the answers to all of Kathy's questions stone cold.
A really good manager will allow these questions to lead her down rabbit holes of possibility. For instance, the turnover question. The sharp manager knows she has turnover. She probably even knows why. But perhaps she's been bogged down by upper management's focus on month-end numbers and has allowed implemented solutions to stagnate. Maybe it's time to refocus.
Now here's the best part on your journey through these questions. You know how biz gurus talk about how a business plan is fine and dandy, but the true value falls in the process of building the plan. To know the answers to these questions is essential, but the process of answering them will open up brand new horizons of opportunity.
Okay, that's the Cracker Jacks. Now here's the prize inside. If your company is too focused on month-end numbers and external minutia instead of customers who are satisfied by a well taken care of employee meaning YOU, use Kathy's book to help you find a company that cares.