Saturday, February 07, 2004

Please don't let this trend take hold.........

"As Katie Bryant prepares to shoot her multimedia resume, she hears the horror stories. One job hunter flubbed his greeting speech through 26 takes (he never did get it right). Another man shot his video in Sacramento, then flew back home to South Carolina. His wife didn't like the results, so he flew out to California again. And again. The third time, the missus herself directed the production. These tales aren't exactly confidence builders."

What are they talking about? Video resumes. That's right video resumes!! I hate reading resumes enough as it is how am I supposed to wade through 50-100 videos? If this catches on I'll consider leaving the business.


Full article at MBA Jungle:
How important is sex appeal in business?

USA Today asked a panel of super-geniuses this question and here are some of the answers.

ChromeDome, Steve Covey, answered wisely. He said that he'd prefer to call it feminine charm because sex implies more than is really going on.

Young Jeff Sonnenfeld, Associate Dean at Yale, bewailed the fact that women in exec roles suffer for their good looks because jealous people hate them and others think they're bimbos. He didn't mention the hijab as a means of liberation but he did point out that these babes do feel pressured to wear glasses and severe hairstyles. Pity.

Earl Stafford, CEO of Unitech, says that sex does sell - from "females" who are attractive. But only in the short term. This suggests that if you've got something else going for you, sex will give you a chance to put it on display. (Like, in an interview. We're not talking about casting couches here).

Debbie Himsel, genius author of Leadership Sopranos Style, says that good looks are an important asset but in the end you've got to deliver. Deliver what? Pizza? She claims that none of the successful female leaders she's known would use sex appeal to get ahead. But she doesn't mention if they've got anything to use.

Julio Arrieta, CEO of Adecco, says that sex sells in advertising but not in the back office. He claims that, back in the day, when business was fat, "males" and "females" leveraged sexuality to climb the ol' beanstalk. Now that lean is in, sex isn't so important. He could be right. Anorexia is not attractive.

Find more here and here via Live2Learn

Friday, February 06, 2004

Job Opening At CIBC

David Kassie, a top exec at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, left the company yesterday.

Two days prior to his sudden departure a former employee was arrested in the US as part of a crackdown on illegal trading in mutual funds.

A statement from the bank said that Dave "has left to focus on other interests".

Yeah, I think that's what I'll put on my tombstone, too.

Actually, it was time for him to go. He's 48 and he's been with the bank since 1979. If he stayed much longer, who else would hire him?

Find more here and here

Lovecat, baby, Lovecat !

Lovecats are business people who are known for sharing and as promoters of business growth.

You know that they're mavens [experts]. They always seem to have great information for you. They always seem to recommend the finest books ... at the right time. They're ferocious networkers. They always seem to put you together with people. They don't expect anything, you wonder how they make money.

They're incredibly compassionate. They're very warm and feely and they always manage to have kind words for you. They always manage to find the power of very small people. And they're very gregarious.

Yet they're shrewd, they're great business people and they're generally paid retail. I've met many of these people.

Mr. Stanley Marcus [Neiman Marcus] was an example of a lovecat. That guy got paid retail. He always told me: Tim, if you add enough value, you get retail. Discounts are for people who don't add value. If you don't add value in this world, you compete on price. He said: If you're willing to take the time to be knowledge added and network enabled, you can get retail.

Tim Sanders

Find more here


Q: Barry, you argue against the value of networking.

A: Too many people think that networking is sticking out your hand to shake another person's hand and simultaneously giving her your business card. Immediately, she says who she is and what she wants. Real relationships are built over a long period of time. You need to build trust and that takes time and effort. Don't try to trade on relationships too soon. Always ask what you can do for that person before asking for yourself. As Tim Sanders says. "be a lovecat" by connecting people of like interests together.

Comment from the site:
I am in agreeance with Barry's statement that business relationships are built over a long period of time, but to say that networking has become a pointless activity is a bit disconcerting. - Mike W

From The Enlightened Mind

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Headhunter Effect?

According to Peter Cappelli, professor of management and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. The much ballyhooed "labour shortage" that is often talked about is a myth. The professor gives a number of reasons why the myth is so entrenched in corporate thinking but one of the more interesting ones is as follows:

If there is no impending shortage of labor, why do employers feel that the tight labor market of 1998 to 2001, [...] somehow represented a major shift from what they had known before and presaged a bleak future? One reason, Cappelli believes, is that the pressure to hire laterally from the outside to bring in new skills, which was accelerated during the late 1990s, is a new development in the history of human-resources management. The breadth of jobs that today are filled from the outside – ranging from the mailroom all the way to the CEO’s office – stands in stark contrast to years gone by when recruiting was almost entirely focused on entry-level positions. An increase in outside hiring contributes to higher turnover, which forces employers to be in a state of continuous hiring and gives rise to the feeling that there is a shortage of workers.

“Employers could be forgiven for thinking that this situation looked like a labor shortage: Despite flat-out hiring, they could not bring in enough workers to meet their needs. Retention management should have been part of the solution along with performance management to identify who were the truly important people to retain.”

Gee I wonder if us headhunters are contributing to the myth? After all each time we recruit someone we are creating turnover.

What does Cappelli suggest?

Most firms have to improve their recruiting, but doing so requires more than just coming up with more applicants or filling vacancies more quickly. The overarching goal should be to make better matches between applicants and jobs. That means uncovering the right applicants who truly fit the jobs they apply for. Matching the right person to the right job not only leads to better performance but also to reduced turnover, according to the study.

The real issue then will be to have a system of practices in place of finding good people, hiring them when you need them and keeping the good ones.”

Fair enough but Capelli doesn't give any info as to how companies can improve their matching skills. It's fine to say that companies should look to improve retention but if you can't find the right fit to begin with it's a moot point.

Find the complete article here
Better Candidates in the Future

The designing of children is already taking place on the open market as couples turn to the Internet to find genetic parents for their families.

They view pictures of "DNA" donors, listen to tapes of their voices, and review pages of descriptions of their physical features, their hobbies, their SAT scores, their philosophies of life.

At, couples bid on the eggs of attractive models. And at the Repository for Germinal Choice, couples purchase "DNA" from Nobel laureates.

One man seeking to sell his DNA for $4,000 per vial, established a website with his family tree claiming to trace his genes back to six Catholic saints and several European royal families.

I hate to say it but I think this guy's kids would be hard to manage.

Find more here

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

You lead, you serve, they follow

Before B Springsteen's last tour, his manager announced that arena floors would be entirely general admission (GA).

No reserved seating and no seats period. But there would be a fenced in area around the stage that would hold only 300 people.

With 1,800 GA tickets sold for each show, there was a risk of pandemonium as fans would rush to get into "the pit".

But a super-fan from Napanee, Ontario solved this problem. His name's Bill Daverne and he criss-crossed the United States attending dozens of concerts on the last tour alone.

Bill would get to a city that he'd never been to before, go straight to the concert venue and get all of the fans to line up in an orderly fashion.

When I heard this I had to wonder how he could get so many ambitious strangers to listen to him. And when he told me, I saw a business lesson in his story.

Daverne and fellow enthusiasts would start a line and a list. If you joined the line, you got your name on the list and a number painted on your hand.

You were told you must return at certain times for roll calls. If you missed any of the roll calls and you lost your place in line. This meant that fans could come and go as long as they made their check-ins.

Daverne and his friends had no official titles. They weren't endorsed by the band, the promoters or the arenas. Legitimacy was conferred by their unassailable service alone.

And they got a reputation. Security guards who, at first, showed them no respect would eventually authorize their line as the one they themselves would honour. And they would tell security officials at the next stops to keep an eye out for these guys.

When Bill got to Fargo (yes, that Fargo!) he was immediately approached by a security guard who said he was looking for Bill or Ted or Todd.

And, the fans let eachother know about the rules via internet news groups.

So, Daverne had a position and a even a bit of a brand. He was the line guy. But he had to work hard to get there. He had to show up early, make sure the list was maintained through the night. And he couldn't play any favourites; he had to be fair.

The point of the story is, to me, that some "nobody" can walk into a situation and take control by having a good idea and thorough execution. I just found that fascinating.

Find more here and here (he's half-way down the page).

Don't Brand Before You Position

Branding is getting everyone to know you, plain and simple.
Positioning is getting people to want you because of your value.

Positioning leads to brand, but brand does not always lead to position.

Branding bombards it audience with a particular message. It's a big job and many smaller companies take it on when they don't have to.

In reality, they should simply pick the under-serviced segments that their larger competitors are ignoring, and attack with an unassailable value proposition.

If serviced properly, these customers can become reference accounts.
Then you can leverage them into larger sales.

Find more here

See also Brand Your Company For Recruiting
from Sun. Jan 18/04. (Click Archives at right)

Law firms recruiting hepatitis clients

Find more here

Venture Capitalists Value Good People Over All Else

Business ideas are meaningless. It is the execution of the idea that means everything. That is why betting on business success is all about people or to quote a popular, management, management.

Entrepreneurs are always afraid that someone has stole their ideas...guess what someone has. but it is irrelevant. It is the execution of the idea that matters.

For example, is a discount airline a new idea? Why can only Southwest make it work? It's all about execution!

In betting on a company look for a management team that has worked together before. A team that has succeeded and failed before. One that has humility and you will find a good team to bet on!

From Barry Moltz. To which the Business Pundit adds:

Barry writes that he would rather have an "A" team with a "B" idea than the other way around.

Last week I was listening to a panel of directors for angel investment groups. All of them said this same thing - It is the people, not the idea, that truly determine the success of the business.

via Business Pundit

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Colorado to investigate sex and recruiting

The University of Colorado's president agreed to form an independent commission to look into allegations the school uses sex to recruit football players.

"What we're looking at is the culture of recruiting. This is bigger than the University of Colorado," said state Senator Peter Groff.

Find more here

Toronto CEO Arrested For Conspiracy to Murder

Police have arrested Toronto magazine distributor Alex Petraitis on charges of conspiring to kill his wife, Kirsten.

He was picked up by police in a "high-risk takedown" along the quiet route to his cottage near Peterborough.

Based in Toronto, Mr. Petraitis had been the president of Canadian Mass Media Inc. and a principal in Metro News Ltd., both of which distribute magazines and books to Canadian retailers across the country.

"He [was] one of the power brokers in magazine distribution." said Bill Shields, editor of Masthead Magazine.

We're all very shocked by the whole thing," said a neighbour in Mr. Petraitis's Yorkville condominium. "They had a nice marriage," she said. "They were nice people."

Mr. Petraitis spoke briefly with a reporter from the Peterborough Examiner. "I'm mystified. . . . I'm shell-shocked," he said, denying any knowledge of a crime.

Paul Benjamin, of Benjamin News in Montreal, has taken over Mr. Petraitis's role as president of Canadian Mass Media Inc., a company started in 1994 by a conglomerate of Canadian magazine and book wholesalers.

"The executive committee felt it prudent to replace Alex as president of the organization," Mr. Benjamin said.

Officials at the North York offices of Metro News Ltd. and Canadian Mass Media Inc. would not comment beyond saying that "Alex has taken a leave of absence from the company."

Petraitis is represented by high-profile defence lawyer Eddie Greenspan.

Find more here

Heavy Exercise Causes Skin Wrinkles

People who do excessive cardiovascular aerobic exercise and do not use antioxidant protection will have crow's feet.

200 mg Lipoic acid , 1000 mg Ascorbic acid , and 4000 mg Glutamine taken 15 minutes prior to exercise will probably help most bodies repair themselves.

Find more here

A Joke

Okay. These two procrastinators walk into a bar... no wait that's not the joke... There were these two procrastinators see? And they were ...they were thinking about walking into a bar. And one of them opens his mouth like he was gonna say somethin, right? And then he shuts his mouth and looks down at his feet. And the other procrastinator says, "were you gonna say somethin'?" and the first procrastinator says to the second procrastinator, "why didn't our moms ever give us names?" And the other procrastinator says, "she's still thinkin' about it." And then... oh forget it.

Thanks to here

Monday, February 02, 2004

No-fault divorce

You're going to make some bad hires, so you need a way to detect and dispose of them very quickly. And, here it is:

Monitor performance (after 1, 3 & 6 months) to identify new hires who are failing.

Use these milestones as opportunities for coaching or cut your losses by releasing the bad hire immediately.

Poor performers can be given a package if they leave voluntarily.

Those who don't leave are watched closely with the understanding that they will be terminated if they don't improve in the next few months.

Find more here

When popularity means business

Joe the salesman is likeable and engaging.

Moe the salesman is a misery but he sells the same product for 20% less.

Which salesman will you do business with?
Most North Americans choose Moe.

But, in other cultures, personal relationships are the key element in decision-making and the decision to go with higher-priced, likeable Joe would be perfectly acceptable.

Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American executives value personal relationships with your sales agent more than your brand or product reputation.

Or so the common wisdom claims. Does anyone have any broad personal experience in this area? What do relationships mean in North American business culture? Is it truly so narrowly bottom line?

Find more here

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Should Candidates Reveal Chronic Illness?

Common sense says that the moral obligation to support oneself will always trump other values. The key question will always be: can I afford to risk losing a job?

The employer might resent deception but can abject poverty be the moral option? This puts the obligation for discovery on recruiters and hiring authorities.

Find more here

Office Romance: Is It Really That Bad?

Associated Press — Britney Spears says that her attempt to kiss Madonna in her new music video was just acting.

Her Me Against the Music video ends with Spears, 22, trying to kiss the 45-year-old pop star. “It was beautiful. I felt like a princess,” she said.

Find more here and here

All The News That's Fit To Sing

I saw The Ballad of Phil Ochs, yesterday. Really enjoyed it.
It's essentially a revue of his songs by a great young performer.

Upcoming Shows:

Feb. 1, 4pm - Rancho Relaxo (Toronto)
Feb. 6, 7, 8pm - Staircase Theatre (Hamilton)
Feb. 27, 8pm - Whalebone Theatre (Parksville, BC)
March 13, 8pm - The Old Church Theatre (Courtenay, BC)

Find more here and here

Is there a business angle to this posting? Well, let's call it a marketing opportunity. Maybe some smart person could turn this into another Mama Mia. (Yeah, sure.)

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