Very insightful information from a clothier who understands the value and importance of networking. He’s compiled a great list of do’s and don’ts

The William Wilson Perspective

On Facebook alone, I get at least 60-70 requests per month to participate in events. I’d love to help everyone, but I’m limited by my schedule and commitments. For that reason, I typically tend to get involved with organizations that I know, or that involve my friends. You see, the secret to building a great event is the same as building a successful business. It’s the people around you. It’s your network. Many people do not know how to effectively network. I spend a considerable amount of time networking and building relationships, but I’m, by no means, a networking expert. But here are some mistakes I see a number of beginning, AND SEASONED, entrepreneurs and non-profits make.

1. Thinking networking is done after the “networking event”: The single biggest mistake I see people make is thinking that networking is another word for meeting people and exchanging business cards. Networking does…

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InfoPrincess Blog – Superbowl Set

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With much unhappiness on the part of 49rs fans everywhere, the football season for the West Coast has officially ended.

The NY Giants have taken the NFC Championship, leaving the last West Coast team on the sidelines away from the Indianapolis Superbowl game.

My teams – Cowboys, Saints, Vikings and Raiders – left me without hope after the Saints lost to the 49rs last week in a nail biter that was fun to watch but disappointing in the end.  It was a fun season, regardless.

The AFC Champion New England Patriots and QB Tom Brady will face off against Eli Manning and the NY Giants in the Superbowl.  Congratulations to the winners of today’s contests.

I’m already looking forward to next year.  No superbowl party at MoorePark in 2012.  Can you say 2013?

Christmas Eve Gumbo

As an avid cook, I enjoy having friends and family over for good food and great gatherings. Christmas eve is the best time for one of those gatherings.

This year we decided on Gumbo, an all around favorite among our friends and family. Our gumbo is made with:

Onions
Celery
Garlic
Bell Peppers
Okra
Chicken
Sausage
Prawns
and, of course
Crab

Beer, wine, sourdough bread and rice…. Ready, Set, Eat!!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

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Ready for 2012!! ~ Plan, Visualize, Execute….

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As 2011 comes to an end, many people make their annual New Year’s Resolutions.  You know, those promsises you make to yourself usually with no real expectation of keeping them and almost certainly without a real roadmap to achieve them.  We say we’re going to “Work Smarter, Not Harder” or “I will take better care of myself” or “I will learn something new this year” or the ever popular “I’m going to lose weight this year”.  All admirable goals to be sure, but there is one problem.  Most people make these promises to themselves without any plan of how to achieve them.

2012 looks like it will offer up wonderful opportunities for those people ready to take advantage of them.  As part of that group, I have spent the last half of 2011 surrounding myself with people who have some of the same general goals and most certainly those who have already achieve similar goals to mine so that I can learn from those who have actually “Done”, not just those who talk or teach about achieving goals without ever having achieved those goals themselves.

I, along with some very determined friends, have made a solid commitment to Plan, Visualize and Execute on a year-long marathon of goals to be achived one step at a time, much like an actual marathon to be trained for, focused on and completed.  Having been instructed by recent marathon runner, Kevin Bracy, the following are my steps to keep in mind when training for my 2012 goals marathon:

  • Keep calm and relaxed
  • Have confidence in my preparation
  • Run my race at my own pace (don’t compare myself to anyone else)
  • Keep my reason (my WHY) on the top of my mind
  • Keep my body fueled and hydrated
  • Keep a strong frame (don’t show weakness)

In addition, I have committed to increase my reading.  Although I love reading, I will be spending more of my reading time on more subject specific topics.  Reading about those who have achieved the goals I am trying to achieve myself.  I will also utilize my driving time by listening to CDs instead of irritating my brain with mindless radio commercials.

Lastly, I will be setting a very strict schedule for myself to accomplish all my goals.  No longer will I “hope” to get everything done because, as we all know, hope is not a strategy.  Goals must be measured in order to be effective.  Setting daily, weekly and monthly goals is great but if you don’t review your accomplishments you may as well not even bother.  Measuring your goals and the steps you are taking to achieving them is an extremely important part toward reaching your goals.

I challenge everyone to find one thing that they wish to achieve in 2012 and lay a DETAILED plan to reach that goal.  It doesn’t have to be a large goal, just something you’re passionate about. 

Remember ….. PLAN, VISUALIZE, EXECUTE!!

Why Large Companies Fail To Keep Their Best Talent – Top 10 Reasons

As a long time talent in the telecommunications field, it has always amazed me when companies allow their talent to slip away.  This article points out exactly what has made me and other talents leave companies that we otherwise loved. 
Thank you to Eric Jackson, contributor to Forbes.com ……

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Top Ten Reasons Why Large Companies Fail To Keep Their Best Talent

[Article taken from Forbes.com – by contributor, Eric Jackson]
Published December 14, 2011

Whether it’s a high-profile tech company like Yahoo!, or a more established conglomerate like GE or Home Depot, large companies have a hard time keeping their best and brightest in house. Recently, GigaOM discussed the troubles at Yahoo! with a flat stock price, vested options for some of their best people, and the apparent free flow of VC dollars luring away some of their best people to do the start-up thing again.

Yet, Yahoo!, GE, Home Depot, and other large established companies have a tremendous advantage in retaining their top talent and don’t. In our business, we see the good and the bad things that large companies do in relation to talent management.  Here’s my Top Ten list of what large companies do to lose their top talent :

  • 1 – Big Company Bureaucracy
    This is probably the #1 reason we hear after the fact from disenchanted employees. However, it’s usually a reason that masks the real reason. No one likes rules that make no sense. But, when top talent is complaining along these lines, it’s usually a sign that they didn’t feel as if they had a say in these rules. They were simply told to follow along and get with the program. No voice in the process and really talented people say “check please.”
  • 2 – Failing to Find a Project for the Talent that Ignites Their Passion
    Big companies have many moving parts — by definition. Therefore, they usually don’t have people going around to their best and brightest asking them if they’re enjoying their current projects or if they want to work on something new that they’re really interested in which would help the company. HR people are usually too busy keeping up with other things to get into this. The bosses are also usually tapped out on time and this becomes a “nice to have” rather than “must have” conversation. However, unless you see it as a “must have,” say adios to some of your best people. Top talent isn’t driven by money and power, but by the opportunity to be a part of something huge, that will change the world, and for which they are really passionate. Big companies usually never spend the time to figure this out with those people.
  • 3 – Poor Annual Performance Reviews
    You would be amazed at how many companies do not do a very effective job at annual performance reviews. Or, if they have them, they are rushed through, with a form quickly filled out and sent off to HR, and back to real work. The impression this leaves with the employee is that my boss — and, therefore, the company — isn’t really interested in my long-term future here. If you’re talented enough, why stay? This one leads into #4….
  • 4 – No Discussion around Career Development
    Here’s a secret for most bosses: most employees don’t know what they’ll be doing in 5 years. In our experience, about less than 5% of people could tell you if you asked. However, everyone wants to have a discussion with you about their future. Most bosses never engage with their employees about where they want to go in their careers — even the top talent. This represents a huge opportunity for you and your organization if you do bring it up. Our best clients have separate annual discussions with their employees — apart from their annual or bi-annual performance review meetings — to discuss succession planning or career development. If your best people know that you think there’s a path for them going forward, they’ll be more likely to hang around.
  • 5 – Shifting Whims/Strategic Priorities
    I applaud Yahoo!’s plans to build an incubator or “brickhouse” around their talent, by giving them new exciting projects to work on. The challenge for most organizations is not setting up a strategic priority, like establishing an incubator, but sticking with it a year or two from now. Top talent hates to be “jerked around.” If you commit to a project that they will be heading up, you’ve got to give them enough opportunity to deliver what they’ve promised.
  • 6 – Lack of Accountability and/or telling them how to do their Jobs
    Although you can’t “jerk around” top talent, it’s a mistake to treat top talent leading a project as “untouchable.” We’re not saying that you need to get into anyone’s business or telling them what to do. However, top talent demands accountability from others and doesn’t mind being held accountable for their projects. Therefore, have regular touch points with your best people as they work through their projects. They’ll appreciate your insights/observations/suggestions — as long as they don’t spillover into preaching.
  • 7 – Top Talent likes other Top Talent
    What are the rest of the people around your top talent like? Many organizations keep some people on the payroll that rationally shouldn’t be there. You’ll get a litany of rationales explaining why when you ask. “It’s too hard to find a replacement for him/her….” “Now’s not the time….” However, doing exit interviews with the best people leaving big companies you often hear how they were turned off by some of their former “team mates.” If you want to keep your best people, make sure they’re surrounded by other great people.
  • 8 – The Missing Vision Thing
    This might sound obvious, but is the future of your organization exciting? What strategy are you executing? What is the vision you want this talented person to fulfill? Did they have a say/input into this vision? If the answer is no, there’s work to do — and fast.
  • 9 – Lack of Open-Mindedness
    The best people want to share their ideas and have them listened to. However, a lot of companies have a vision/strategy which they are trying to execute against — and, often find opposing voices to this strategy as an annoyance and a sign that someone’s not a “team player.” If all the best people are leaving and disagreeing with the strategy, you’re left with a bunch of “yes” people saying the same things to each other. You’ve got to be able to listen to others’ points of view — always incorporating the best parts of these new suggestions.
  • 10 – Who’s the Boss?
    If a few people have recently quit at your company who report to the same boss, it’s likely not a coincidence. We’ll often get asked to come in and “fix” someone who’s a great sales person, engineer, or is a founder, but who is driving everyone around them “nuts.” We can try, but unfortunately, executive coaching usually only works 33% of the time in these cases. You’re better off trying to find another spot for them in the organization — or, at the very least, not overseeing your high-potential talent that you want to keep.

It’s never a one-way street. Top talent has to assume some responsibility as much as the organization. However, with the scarcity of talent — which will only increase in the next 5 years — Smart Organizations are ones who get out in front of these ten things, rather than wait for their people to come to them, asking to implement this list.