Connecting with Others by Using Your Talents

This article popped up on my linkedin list today, “Forget networking.  How to be a Connector.”  If you have not read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, you need to read this to really understand what the author is saying, but this article is a good start.

Connectors are people who seem to know everyone and enjoy connecting people with other people.  They genuinely want to help you and find ways to do it, even if they cannot do it themselves.

This is Aneil.  This also coincides with his “”Winning Others Over” or “WOO” talent that emerges from his StrengthsFinder talent.  This is another great book to read that helps you identify your strengths.

Aneil is always amazed when someone does not have the ability to connect him with others, but I have to remind him that not all of us have his WOO talent or his passion for connecting.  As you will read in our forthcoming book, he has helped others find jobs or new career paths, but this ability has also helped him beat his thyroid cancer ten years ago.  He is a rare breed, indeed.

WOO is not the only way to connect with others, however.  There are also “relating” talents that people have that make it easier to connect with others.  If relating to others is not “your thing,” then the challenge is build the ROCC of Trust with others who are great at connecting so that your an benefit from their talents.  Just remember, you’ll have to help them using your own talents if you want their help in connecting.


Maybe employees should leave jobs because of bad co-workers, not bad bosses

Much has been written about employees leaving jobs because of bad bosses and not bad companies.  In fact, when we talk with companies about how to build trust within their companies, we remind them that employees do leave bad bosses even when they can’t verbalize their feelings about them to the company in an exit interview.  That daily interaction between an unsupportive or uncommunicative boss can be exhausting and make us suspicious about their motives and our standing with them.

Yet in today’s WSJ, another study finds that our colleagues might actually be killing us–shouldn’t we consider leaving our jobs because of them?!  This study found that “less-kind colleagues were associated with a higher risk of dying.”  So, those colleagues (and not just bosses) who are mean-spirited, Über-competitive, and who are just plain nasty will lead us to an untimely death than if we have pleasant, kind, and sociable colleagues.

This reminds us of another study we recently read about where mean men earn more than nice men.  The study did not find the same degree of benefit  for women–mean women do make more than nice women, but “only” about five percent more.

Integrating these various studies and findings, it means that although mean people may be succeeding individually, collectively and over the long haul, they are hurting themselves because they are driving out nice employees.  Now that human capital and talent are more mobile than ever, that long-term effect will no longer be long-term.  In other words, nice people, especially nice, smart people will say goodbye to their mean bosses and colleagues, and those firms will become less competitive.  Thus, the mean people will lose out financially as well.

Let us know what you think.

-karen and aneil

I wish I had not cried at work

Michelle Singletary write yesterday about managing your emotions at work.  She claims that “Women cry on the job more than men: 41 percent of women said they have cried at work compared with just 9 percent of men.”  I will admit that I am part of that 41%.  It happened almost 20 years ago, but I can still see the whole scene in my head.

When I received my promotion to manage the Pepsi Account, I assumed that I would receive the same pay, benefits and perks of the man who held the job before me.  He was my friend and mentor, so I knew what kind of company car he drove, how much more money he made than I did.  And, when I did not have much of a clue about the extra benefits, my very kind admin reminded me that he received a nice bonus that I should now be receiving as well.

So, imagine my surprise when I sat down with my boss to discuss my new pay and perks and find out that I would only be receiving a modest increase in pay–no new company car (mine was a used Ford station wagon!); no bonus; nothing else.  After being the first female and youngest salesperson ever to be promoted to manage the $75 million Pepsi Cola account (at their request), I guess you could say that I was extremely disappointed to find out that I would be treated differently than the man who had just had this job.  And yes, I broke down.  I tried to explain to him that I had been underpaid from the start and that I had trained all the men in the office who were paid more than I was, but he was resolute.  If I wanted to come back to him in six months, he might reconsider, but it was “all he could do.” I was just so embarrassed by my tears that I got up and left.

What I should have done, according to book Michelle is reviewing, Anne Kreamer’s, “It’s Always Personal: Emotion in the New Workplace” (Random House, $25), is write down my emotions and then go back and have a rational conversation with him–no tears.  Maybe I would have presented a more compelling case and would have been more successful in my plea for more money and a new company car.

Oh well, we all learn from our mistakes and I learned from mine.  I did cry again during my doctoral program, but this time, I went into my office and closed the door.


Google Project Oxygen

Google’s Project Oxygen

We have frequently written that employees are looking for more than just technical competence from their boss, and a new Google survey of their own employees confirms this:  employees also want a boss who listens, who is a good coach, who empowers them to achieve bigger things, who cares about their personal well-being and who can be counted on to remove roadblocks so that they can be a productive team.  There are 8 things total that employees want and they all fall into trustworthy  behaviors.

Bob Lintz and Mary Ellen Sheets both proved this to us.  They both admitted that they did not have all the answers in leading the teams that they built, but showed their people that they cared, empowered them to do their best, and gave them the tools they needed to succeed.

Google claims in this article that these are specific too Google because it is based on their own internal data, which is good for folks to know.  But, it is a good starting point for all bosses and can be an example for other companies to start finding out what unique traits their employees want from their bosses.

I coached a printer company executive once about how he needed to connect more with his employees.  While he was technically competent, his employees complained (on his 360 review) that he was not accessible, did not get out of his office enough and did not have time for them.  He was amazed that they needed this kind of time for him because he thought that they all knew how to do their jobs.  What I helped him to realize is that while they know how to do their job, they also want to be appreciated.  They want their boss to have time for them and to give them positive feedback on the job they are doing or constructive feedback if they need to improve.

As we all know (and the article reiterates), people don’t leave a company, they leave a boss.

Mobile Mish-Man

We’ve been quite busy planning our move back to North Carolina, and I’ve actually moved ahead of Karen and the kids to start my job at as Vice President of Curriculum and Faculty Relations where I’ll be representing 2tor as it partners with UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business to launch its unique and pathbreaking online MBA program.  It’s truly the job of a lifetime in which I’ll be able to pursue my passion for innovative business education with a great company and a great business school.

So, in addition to not having any time to blog, I’ve also had to set up temporary living quarters in Chapel Hill until the rest of the family moves here in June.  I’m going to use this post to start listing the must haves/must do’s and other lessons learned from being a bachelor for three months:

1.   Internet service at home.  Got that set up today.  Now I’m not dependent on reading the Wall Street Journal or New York Times on my iPhone 4 when in my apartment, which was certainly not ideal.

2.  Nonetheless, I still depend heavily on my iPhone for contact management, GPS, internet when I’m not using my laptop, social networking, and of course, making phone calls.

3. for outfitting my apartment with dishes and utensils, bedsheets and blankets, and everything else I need that is still back in Okemos, Michigan for now.


5.  Bed, Bath and Beyond email sign-up for those 20% off coupons.

6.  Groupon

7.  Livingsocial

Building trust starts with your resume…

An column in the Wall Street Journal reminds folks who are job hunting that “Your reputation for trustworthiness is your greatest asset.”  It answers a career question about what to do if you have embellished your resume and end up getting an interview as a result.  Their answer: send the employer a new resume and “Simply say that this résumé is updated and clearer.”  This is the first and second part of the ROCC of Trust:  be reliable and open–tell the truth on a consistent basis.

I agree that you need to be completely honest on your resume at all times and be clear about who you are and what you’ve done.  The best promotion I received when I worked in the plastic container industry did not give me the same title as the man who had the position before me.  He was the National Account Manager and even though I had the same exact job (responsibility for the $75 million Pepsi Cola account–which was a national account covering 19 plants across the United States), my title after taking over his responsibilities was only, “account manager“.  To this day, you will see on my resume that there is no national account manager, as much as I would like to say that and as much as it actually better explains what I did in my position, it is not factually correct.

It is sad that they found that “46% of employment, education and reference checks showed discrepancies with information provided by job candidates.”  What does this say about folks that they have to alter their credentials in order to get ahead?  How do folks expect to be trusted if they are not proving themselves to be trustworthy?


Do’s and Don’ts of Resumes and Cover Letters

I’ll be conducting a resume writing workshop at Okemos High School next week, and would love to get your input on what should and should not be included in one’s resume and cover letter.  What have you find to be most useful, either as a job-seeker or when evaluating  job candidates?

Thanks very much!


Business and Bagels at MSU!

Here’s another set of events you won’t want to miss from our friends at MSU’s Broad College of Business:

Greetings from MSU!  I hope you have enjoyed your summer.  We are excited to announce our fall Business and Bagels program schedule:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Personal and Professional Goal Setting: Six Steps to Success
Bob Hoffman, Public Relations Manager, Wharton Center for Performing Arts

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Managing Change: Effective Strategies for an Evolving Economy
Dr. Robert Duncan, Professor of Management, Eli Broad School of Management

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Effective Communication Strategies in the Workplace
Dr. Janet Lillie, Associate Dean, College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Multi-Team Systems: Leading Teams of Teams
Dr. John Hollenbeck, Professor of Management, Eli Broad School of Management

Join us for our next Business and Bagels session and register now!

To register and learn more about these seminars: call (517) 353-8711 or go to the Business and Bagels Homepage


7:30 AM-8:00 AM Bagels
8:00 AM-9:00 AM Business
9:00 AM-9:15 AM Q & A

Cost: $25 per person.


The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development
3535 Forest Road, Lansing, MI 48910

Become a fan on our Facebook page! MSU Business and Bagels Facebook

For more information please contact:

Kristin St. Marie

Business Development and Program Manager
Executive Development Programs
Eli Broad Graduate School of Management
3535 Forest Road
Lansing, MI 48910

(517) 353-8711 X 71005

Need More Time? Read 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

Update 6-29-10:

Laura was interviewed this week on NBC’s Today Show!  Here’s the link to the video.


Original Post 6-1-10:

Ever since I was a young kid, I have always been looking for ways to increase my efficiency and effectiveness by outsourcing repetitive tasks that I still want done properly (e.g., grocery shopping, laundry, housecleaning).  For those who say I should still do it all, my response is that since I was 11, and for the next 25 years, I did the family laundry, most of the housecleaning, and some of the cooking as well.  More importantly, outsourcing certain tasks creates more free time for I consider to be more valuable activities (e.g., spending time with my family, generating revenue, writing and research, catching up with friends).  Still, I’m always looking for ways to improve my productivity.

That is why I was delighted that fellow Princeton Tiger Laura Vanderkam has just published a terrific new book, 168 Hours:  You Have More Time Than You Think.  I liked the premise of the book so much that I pre-ordered it from Amazon, and emailed Laura some questions about her book:

1) What prompted you to write the book?

As a new mom several years ago, I kept hearing that there just wasn’t time to build a career and raise a family. So I thought I would write about this “time crunch.” Only, as I started to interview busy people, I realized that many didn’t feel starved for time at all. I changed my mind and decided to let myself be inspired by people who view time as abundant. I think readers will be inspired by their stories, too.

2) What results have you seen from those who’ve applied its principles?

While writing 168 Hours, I asked dozens of people to keep time logs for me. Most found it an eye-opening experience. Once people see how they are spending their time, they can see how to spend it better – that is, by filling their hours with more meaningful work or personal activities. I’ve included several time makeovers in 168 Hours. You can also watch a video at ( about how one busy mom and attorney found time to play with her daughter, and learned how to feel more relaxed about life in general.

3) What do you hope will be its impact on the world?

People have all sorts of reasons for why they are not living the lives they want, but a lack of time shouldn’t be one of them. I believe that in the 168 hours we all have each week, there is plenty of time to build a Career with a capital C, raise a happy family, exercise, volunteer, and still get enough sleep. When you focus on what you do best, on what brings the most satisfaction, there is plenty of space for everything.

4) Why do you say people have more time than they think?

Many people who work full-time think they don’t have time for a fulfilling personal life. But if you work 50 hours each week – far more than most people – and sleep 8 hours a night (56 per week), that still leaves 62 for other things. This is a lot of time. More time than you’re working! The question is whether you’re spending these hours in a way that is meaningful for you and the other important people in your life.

5)  What was your biggest surprise when you were doing research for this book?

We lie! Maybe not intentionally, but people tend to overestimate how much time we devote to things we perceive as obligations, like work and housework. We underestimate how much leisure time we have. And we’re not off by a little. When you keep hearing that there’s just no time in our crazed world to build a rewarding, relaxing life, it’s tempting to believe it, and to answer surveys this way. Then other people read the results of these surveys and perpetuate these misperceptions. But when you force folks to keep serious track of their time with a time log, most discover that they have more time than they think.

I look forward to applying Laura’s book to my life — stay tuned!


Closing the space…

The semester is over at MSU, but I just had to brag about my students in my large 130-person integrated strategy class.  It was hard to know if I was actually teaching them anything since there were so many of them and they were so distant, both in physical and emotional space.  One student commented that they like large classes because they like to be anonymous.  What they don’t know is that I don’t like teaching large classes because I don’t want them to be anonymous–that is not why I left the corporate world for teaching–I want to know them and whether or not what I am teaching them actually makes any difference to them in their learning and in their life.

Well, watch this commercial that one group created (which was above and beyond the project requirement) and let me know whether or not they learned anything this semester.