It’s all about the “why”
Great people want to work for organizations that realize their corporate strategy must coincide with what their employees want out of a job. Employees want a purpose; they want to be truly engaged and connected, making “why” you do business just as important as what you create. For example, Starbucks serves a consistently great cup of coffee from New York to New Zealand. That’s what they do. But they do it because they want to address human labor; they want to preserve and enhance the environment and improve working conditions for coffee-origin companies. Their purpose becomes their by-product and their “why” is embedded in the way they do business. Click here to read more about why getting your culture right is so important and to see what you can learn about cultivating culture from great organizations like Zappos and the United States Marine Corps.
Maximize your brand with new resources
Trevor Tice, founder of CorePower Yoga, wants to create the first truly national yoga-studio chain. As a practice that follows a more aerobic style of yoga than a spiritual one, he plans to expand from their 65 studios to 75 by the end of 2012 while also entering new markets such as Texas, Seattle, Honolulu, California and Colorado. Tice’s growth plan is rooted in offering a consistent experience across the chain and hiring people that fit the culture of this accessible, friendly and encouraging practice. And he plans to do this all without using traditional brand marketing. Besides a few Groupon deals, CorePower is using word-of-mouth and digital marketing. For example, they invite staff from “like-minded businesses,” such as the manager of Whole Foods, to join a class in hopes they will enjoy themselves and tell their friends and colleagues. Locations for future studios are carefully researched as they focus on urban areas populated with their target demographic of 25 to 35 year old professionals. Click here to read more about how this small Denver-based company plans to transform the “breathing and stretching” yoga industry.
Let’s talk tech
The hiring environment for technology talent has always been competitive, but looking ahead, it’s only going to get more challenging. Tech salaries in the U.S. will rise almost twice the national average in 2013 due to the high demand for talented technical candidates. On the heels of the national shortage of IT talent, the next year will also bring an explosive growth for Big Data jobs—engineers that capture, store, search and analyze data sets that are too large for regular database management tools. Employers are looking for candidates with business knowledge along with technology expertise and analytical skills, making this an even more ruthless arena for talent. Click here to read more about the upcoming trends in the IT world.
Listening Makes You a Better Leader
Jacqueline Novogratz, chief executive of the Acumen Fund, which invests in businesses that aid the world’s poor, often works in communities where the people only make a dollar or two per day. Working in such a difficult, yet humbling environment, Novogratz has learned to be a leader that listens. She believes the best way to lead is to truly understand what the problem is from the perspective of the people you’re supposed to serve—whether that be your customers or your employees.
Novogratz takes the value of listening with her into her interviews as well. She is known for asking questions that are designed to showcase the essence of who you are, what makes you tick and what you are passionate about. She is famous for the question, “What are you doing when you feel most beautiful, when you’re in the zone, when you are shining?” By truly listening to the responses, she is able to find people who are a good fit for the company—people that have an emotional connection to the tough work they do at Acumen, not just someone looking for a stepping stone to something else. Click here to read more about Novogratz’s philosophy on listening and leadership.
It’s easy to be distracted by a midst of ringing phones, a bursting inbox and an endless to-do list. But as a leader, taking the time to make an emotional connection with your people should be just as important as finishing that proposal or sending out that last email. Engaging with your people on a personal level shows them that they are more than just the sum of their output. An emotional connection isn’t necessarily about being emotional or showing emotion either. It’s about making a connection on a human level and having the ability to show that your relationship goes beyond the task at hand. Click here to read three simple ways to make these emotional connections with your people.
What Came First: Passion or Career?
Earlier this year, a New York Times op-ed referred to Generation Y as “Generation Why Bother,” noting that this group is “high maintenance” and “perhaps too happy at home checking Facebook” when they should be out searching for jobs. According to Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University and a member of Generation Y, believes the entitled attitude stems from the promise of passion—not Facebook. Guidance counselors, career centers and news media continuously advise Generation Y to “follow their passion.” There is no doubt that everyone aims for a fulfilling work life, but this phrase implies that first you identify your passion and then match that to a job that you’ll love right away. However, a compelling career is a journey, not something that happens overnight. Click here to read Cal’s opinion about how we need to speak in an honest, yet inspiring way when discussing the realities of the working world.