Monthly Archives: July 2016
I’m still really early in my career, but I’ve had the privilege of working in many roles across many industries. With the variety of experiences I’ve had, I’ve come to realize that my ideal workplace can look pretty different wherever I go. But since I’m a data driven guy, and when it comes to metrics, I have five for determining if I truly enjoy working at a certain company. They are:
- Do I have any fun stories, or inside jokes from work?
- Could I call a co-worker if I were hospitalized?
- Am I reluctant to leave work, but looking forward to coming in the next day?
- Do I have spinach in my teeth?
- What have I learned today?
At my ideal company, I will be able to answer all five questions thoroughly and easily.
Do I have any fun stories, or inside jokes from work?
I truly believe that a positive story is a powerful metric to measure our happiness and when there’s a plethora of them to share with others, chances are the place is really fun to work at. After all, your job should be engaging and fun to a certain extent, especially if you’re going to be doing it for a while.
Nicolas Cage memes never get old.
At one of the places I’ve worked, one of my co-workers pranked the entire office by plastering Nicolas Cage head cut outs all over the office– in legal pads, on computer screens and even on the ceiling. I know that at one of the places I’ve worked at, a lot of people would have been irked by an office “prank” like this, which is why I eventually left. In both places, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most driven and enlightened minds in their respective industries, but one work place knew not to take itself too seriously, and to have some whimsical fun that made even a regular day I particularly fun and memorable one!
Or this one.
Could I call a co-worker if I were hospitalized?
Okay, so I do have close friends that I could call if I were to be hospitalized and yes, I know this question is somewhat morbid. But it’s a great way for me to gauge if I trust the people I work with as if they were my family. Trust, because I would have to put my faith in them actually picking up the phone and helping me, and seeing me in a pretty vulnerable state.
When I was working as an RA, there was a time when I was going through an extremely tough episode of PTSD– it was one of my co-workers who came to support me despite her heavy workload that evening. If I didn’t have her at my side through that episode, I’m not sure how the rest of that night would have ended up. But because I had people like her that I worked with, I fell even more in love with my team, and my work.
Am I reluctant to leave work, but looking forward to coming in the next day?
I use this question to understand how passionate I am about my work, and how meaningful I make it out to be. I really don’t want to spend my time doing something that I’m not fond of even if there’s a handsome salary/commission involved. I’d rather have someone else do that work (if they’re passionate about it hopefully), and take a job with lower pay, but I truly enjoy doing.
This is how I imagine Dave from HR might react to me.
At one of my previous jobs, I would actually work during a lecture (I find some of my lectures unbearably boring from time to time), or on the BART while commuting past the hours I was supposed to. I’m pretty sure I was breaking some worker compliance stuff with HR. But I couldn’t help myself– everything I was doing at the time was so fascinating and I was learning so many cool things. And the thing is, I could have well used that time to do something else like nap or read, but I didn’t. Of course, there’s a need for moderation (and compliance), and that’s a topic for another day, but to me, my willingness to overwork is both an ironic and healthy sign of engagement. I mean, at the end of the day, we all want to be working on things we’re passionate about, right?
Do I have spinach in my teeth?
Ah yes, everyone sees it, but no one wants to say anything because they don’t want you to feel bad. But at the same time, you’re upset because you’ve been talking this entire time with spinach in your teeth, and no one has told you. I really like this question because it reveals not only how comfortable people are with me, but also how open communication is at a workplace. A lot of people don’t like confronting others, but when a situation arises, it will be the degree of communication that will determine whether a conflict or stronger co-worker relationship will arise. A good co-worker will realize that by pointing out there’s spinach in my teeth, they’re putting both of us in a vulnerable position, but at the same time realize that it will help both of us– I will no longer have spinach in my teeth and go around and embarrass myself, and we will have a stronger, more honest working relationship.
I recall working at a company where the CEO actually had spinach in his teeth, and when I ran into him in the halls, I let him know. His face went bright red as he attempted to pull it out. I wasn’t fired. Rather, I was thanked! He told me how that must have been there for at least four hours since he had spanikopita for lunch, and among the countless people he met with that day, no one told him about the spinach. Maybe they didn’t say anything out of fear, but hey, I took the risk and communicated, and it helped him out for the rest of the day. I think another positive consequence was that he remembered who I was, and as a result, we had some really wonderful conversations.
What have I learned today?
I have a ritual where once I’m on the BART commuting back home, I like to think of at least three new things I’ve learned at work. It could either be a technical skillset, something about my company or industry, something about me, or the tragic backstory of one of my co-workers (don’t we all have one?). If I struggle to find at least three things that I’ve learned that day, I am in the wrong place. I’m the strictest on this metric because constantly learning, and growing help me improve myself, and that’s important to me. Plus, it keeps me from being bored (just kidding, or not)!
Here’s three things I learned today: one of my co-workers has a passion for volleyball and wants to tour Europe on their volleyball circuit, succulent dish gardens are on average $40, and I need to be better about communicating to my manager over our project management system.
An ideal workplace can quickly become non-ideal, and a non-ideal workplace can become ideal. I do what I can to make a place better, but if it’s not possible, it’s okay to move. But again, as long as my workplace has a few funny stories, co-workers I can really on if I’m to be hospitalized, HR that’s upset by the fact I want to work more, people who will confront the spinach in my teeth, and learning opportunities, it is ideal for me. What’s your ideal workplace like? I’d love to hear your stories!
Kunal has volunteered at an elephant and rhino orphanage in Kenya, was a nationally ranked video game player, and has taught a university accredited class on Mean Girls. Currently, he is the founder of a research based non-profit, and a student at UC Berkeley double majoring in rhetoric and psychology. He enjoys writing about the intersection of people, business, and psychology. You can follow him on Twitter or send him any wonderful insights you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
The electorate in 2016 will be the most diverse in history. A Pew research reportreleased earlier this year found that nearly one-in-three eligible voters on Election Day will be Hispanic, Black, Asian, or another racial or ethnic minority.It’s no secret that Donald Trump is polling poorly among Latino, Asian American and African American voters. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News national poll found that 82 percent of registered Latino voters viewed the Republican presidential nominee unfavorably. The Wall Street Journal also reported that three quarters of Latinos plan to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the fall.
According to a survey of Asian American voters, only 19 percent of Asian Americans view Trump favorably. This problem is particularly acute with African American voters. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC/Marist poll, Donald Trump garnered zero percent support among African Americans in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Kevin Chavous, a former Obama 2008 advisor, ex-Washington, D.C. council member and current board member of American Federation for Children, has suggested picking Indiana Gov. Mike Pence could help in his standing with black and Latino voters, because of the governor’s support for charter schools.
“Bringing minority-supported issues into [the Trump] campaign could pose a real threat to Hillary,” Chavous stated in a press release. “Selecting Governor Pence as VP will bring a major education reform advocate to Trump’s administration. Pence is a major supporter of charter schools and has worked to expand them in Indiana.”
But a press release by the American Federation of Teachers took Pence to task for his support of education policies that sap dollars from public schools that primarily serve African American communities.
“Pence is an enemy of public education,” the statement said.
“His extreme obsession with vouchers and tax cuts for the rich [has] starved public schools in Indiana of funding, and helped to create a privatized system of winners and losers. Budgets signed by Pence shifted money away from racially and socio-economically isolated children—kids whose futures most deeply depend on a high-quality public education.”
As a member of the governing board of the Network for Public Education, a group that works to preserve and improve public schools across the nation, I personally had the opportunity to review Indiana’s education policies and data under Pence’s leadership. The results were not positive.
We examined stability in the teaching force, the use of high-stakes testing, class sizes, school integration, recognition of poverty, as well as the state’s use of charters, vouchers and other forms of privatization. On our Network for Public Education State Report Card, we gave Indiana an F for support of public education.
Pence has done virtually nothing on education to reverse course since receiving our failing grade. Thus, the idea that Pence will empower Trump to attract African American and Latino voters seems quite farfetched.
This article appeared here first in The Progressive Magazine.
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Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-050
Just a few months ago, I decided to leave the only job I’ve ever really had.
For almost nine years, I worked at Business Insider, but in February I decided to join CNBC to lead its digital editorial operations.
With LinkedIn releasing its new list of the most attractive employers in the world, I thought I would talk about what attracted me to a new company.
It was a big decision! I was happy at Business Insider. I love the people there. CEO Henry Blodget treated me well.
So, what attracted me to a new job?
CNBC is the preeminent brand in business news. If you’re interested in business journalism (and I am!) it’s hard to say no to the organization that’s first in business worldwide. Every major decision maker in the business world appears on, and watches CNBC. That’s an attractive opportunity for someone in the media business.
I was also attracted to the leadership group at CNBC. Chairman Mark Hoffman impressed me in the interview process, and I thought I would learn a lot from him. Same goes for Editor-in-Chief Nik Deogun, and all the other great people at CNBC.
But, even more importantly, I asked myself one question: Over the next few years, would I learn more at CNBC, or Business Insider?
The answer came back, over and over, that I would learn more at CNBC.
The number one trend in the digital media business is the rise of video. BuzzFeed has heavily emphasized video. Mashable has pivoted to focus on video. Vice, the world’s most valuable media upstart, now runs a cable network. At Business Insider, we were heavily focusing on video projects.
While digital media companies seek to gain video expertise, TV networks have that expertise. Not only that, CNBC is part of a bigger media organization, NBC Universal, which does all sorts of fantastic news, entertainment programming, and films.
The ability work at a media company with deep knowledge of a part of the industry I didn’t know anything about was too great for me to pass up.
For an even better story about moving from place to place check out this interview with an engineer that has worked at Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Adobe.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
Ask a company to segment its customer base, and they’ll likely come up with groups we’ve all heard of—Millennials, GenXers, Boomers, and Silents. Probe a little deeper and they’ll cut the groups by gender, race and ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, income, geography, educational attainment, and a host of other useful demographic descriptors. One more request might even turn up a psychographic segmentation that lumps groups with wide-ranging demographic profiles based on their professed views and observed behaviors.
What you will be hard-pressed to find, however, is a company that actively segments its near-retirement customer base to understand how the phase shift will affect its business.
Why is this a problem?
It’s simple math. By 2020, the United States will see the 65+ cohort grow from 49 million people today to 66 million. By 2025, another 9.5 million will join the cohort, and by 2030, the last of the Boomers will have turned 65—at which point most of their parents will be gone and nearly the entire 74 million 65+ demographic slice will consist of Baby Boomers. When they retire from full-time work, how they do it, and whatthey do afterwards should be of interest to every business person in America.
It is irrefutable that this pending change in work status for such a large demographic will hit companies in vastly different ways.
Perhaps the most telling example of this trend can be found in the health insurance arena. When Americans turn 65, they become eligible for Medicare—opening up an expensive and confounding retail bazaar for what has been, for the most part, a wholesale market intermediated by employers. Suddenly, the 65-year-old is beset upon by agents and carriers demanding a decision about traditional indemnity plans, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance, “Dual-Eligible” options, and Part-D drug coverage.
Given the distortion introduced by Medicare, health care is a special case. So, consider the financial services industry—particularly the pension and life insurance sectors, whose fundamental proposition is to smooth out intergenerational financial needs. The enormity of the Boomer generation, the relative scarcity of GenXY members, and the youthfulness of Millennials will create serious cash flow challenges for these businesses in the next decade. As corporations seek to limit their future pension exposure, many have offered retirees lump-sum buyouts of their defined-benefit plans—a tempting, albeit often murky choice for cash-strapped Boomers.
If their life circumstances no longer demand a large term life policy, for instance, Boomers might be better off looking to any number of clever financial services firms that offer “life settlements”—a discounted cash payment on the face value of a term life policy. The financial firm picks up future premium payments in exchange for the eventual death benefit. The Life Insurance Settlement Association estimates that $180B of term life insurance (i.e., face value) will be eligible for settlement between 2014 and 2023, and that transaction volume is running about $3 billion per year today.
Consider as well the airline industry, perennially chasing the business traveler. Advances in video telepresence and general comfort with digital relationships may render physical presence less important, signaling trouble on the horizon for carriers. Can vacations and tourism fill the void? About half of Millennials, despite working hard in the building phases of their careers, find time to take four or more leisure trips each year. For pre-retirement Boomers, approximately 75% take four or more leisure trips per year. However, that rate jumps to 86% for their retired peers. More importantly, the average cash outlay per leisure trip soars from $990 for actively working Boomers to $1,440 for retirees. For an airline, understanding when this particular switch gets flipped for its loyal fliers could be the difference between growth and retrenchment.
Fortunately, this is a tractable problem. The diagnostic requires an understanding of your pre-retirement customer base and a sense for how their behavior changes post-retirement. The next two steps are a risk assessment to determine the potential downside as active workers transition, and an opportunity assessment to estimate how the recently-retired might be coaxed into a new and deeper relationship with the company.
Simply put, growth is fundamental to your strategy. My colleagues at The Boston Consulting Group publish an annual review of top value creators. The 5-year median Total Shareholder Return for the 1,928 companies that made the 2015 list was a resounding 14.6%—driven in large part by sales growth, tallied at an 8.4% median rate across this set.
Unlocking the purchasing power of the Sonic Boomers is one way to put more spring in your company’s step.
Next: Old is the New New
Crisis and Opportunity in Health Care – Sonic Boomers in Old Age
Rags, Riches, and All Points in Between – Financial Secrets of the Boomer Cohort
The Pension Shell Game – A 10K Exposé
Thank you for the many comments and likes on prior installments. I greatly appreciate the feedback. Please don’t hesitate to bring up other topics that you would like to explore in future postings. You can reach me on LinkedIn.
For additional reading on BCG’s annual list of Value Creators, please go to https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/value-creation-strategy-creating-value-despite-economic-headwinds/
As Classrooms Become More Diverse, Educators and University Leaders Must Look to Minority-Serving Institutions
There are nearly 4,000 accredited colleges and universities in the United States. Of these, more than 600 are Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). Either by history or demographics, these institutions educate large numbers of students of color and 20% of college students overall. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been educating African Americans and are responsible for building the Black middle class for over a century. Tribal colleges began their commitment in the 1970s during a time of Native American self-determination. Due to shifting demographics in many states, Hispanic Serving Institutions and Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander Serving Institutions came to the fore. These are the most prominent types of MSIs but there are many other kinds as well, including Predominantly Black Institutions, Native American Non Tribal Serving Institutions, and Alaskan Native Serving Institutions.
Given how rapidly the nation is changing, with the majority of the K-12 student population being students of color and census projections stating that by 2050 that nation will be majority minority, MSIs are only going to grow in numbers.
In our new book titled Educating a Diverse Nation: Lessons from Minority Serving Institutions (published with Harvard University Press, 2015), Clif Conrad and I discuss what majority institutions can learn from MSIs as campuses and classrooms become more and more diverse. Here’s an outline of those lessons:
First, faculty members need to teach in ways that invoke the various cultural traditions and communities of their students. Far too often classrooms are ‘White-centered’ and students of color are asked to assimilate.
Second, students must be accepted as isand that means embracing their identity rather than trying to move them toward White traditions and norms. MSIs embrace the racial and ethnic identity of their students.
Third, administrators and faculty must come together to more deeply understand what leads to greater student learning. At MSIs, the student services and academic services sides of the college often come together in order to focus on the student rather than operating in silos. For too long, the student affairs and faculty affairs divide has hurt students by being stubbornly focused on division rather than learning.
Fourth, faculty members need to assume success on the part of student rather than holding implicit biases that see students of color as ‘not as strong’ or ‘less than’ in the classroom. MSIs meet students with assumptions of success and operate from an asset-based approach.
Lastly, colleges and universities need to create more peer mentoring opportunities for students. MSIs function with the idea that ‘your success is my success and my success is your success.. Rather than pitting students against each other – which is very typical at majority institutions – students are heavily encouraged to support one another and hold each other accountable.
Some of these lessons may seem obvious, but research tells us that they are not the norm at majority colleges and universities. They must become the norm if our country is to remain a strong, viable nation for future generations. We need to challenge faculty, students, and institutions to embrace the growing diversity in the United States in ways that strengthen opportunity for all of us. Hoarding opportunity might have short-term personal gains for individuals but its long-term impact on society is dire.
Note: To learn more about Minority Serving Institutions and their contributions to society, please visit the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
For many years, my now 16-year-old son has been obsessed with becoming a general manager in the NHL. This is not a passing whim; it is a long-term goal that he continues to pursue.
In 2014, I mentioned this to a friend of mine (who I met through LinkedIn), Ron Bremner, former president of the NHL’s Calgary Flames and now a highly successful consultant and speaker. Ron had two instant reactions. First, he offered to help my son, which he did immediately. Second, he offered to introduce him to Craig Button, whom he had hired as GM in Calgary.
Craig is now a highly popular, very busy hockey broadcaster and analyst. He could have easily ignored my son, or failed to take him seriously.
That’s not what happened.
Instead, he wrote my son a 5,500-word email that answered questions my son, Matt, had emailed to both Ron and Craig.
Craig’s email was filled with some of the most profound advice I have even seen.
Most impressively, for each piece of advice he offered, Craig included multiple real-life examples. He could have simply have shared the message then moved on, but that would not have made nearly as big an impact on my son.
How do you bring out talent in young people? Take them seriously.
With Craig’s permission, I’m now going to highlight a few of his key messages. All portions in quotes are Craig’s words, not mine…
Don’t overreact to mistakes: “Mistakes happen in everyday life. In the vast majority of instances, people are not trying to make mistakes. But when mistakes do occur, it is when people feel most vulnerable. They are not always sure what the response to their mistake will be.”
Craig went on to give this example…
“Harry Sinden, a Hall-of-Fame member and a great Bruins’ executive, told me this about the great Raymond Bourque: Raymond makes two to three mistakes every game that are pretty significant and at times result in goals for the other team. But, he does 17 to 18 things every game that are pretty significant and help us win a lot of games. If I try to eliminate the two to three, I will also eliminate the 17 to 18 and that simply isn’t a good trade-off.”
Communicate with clarity: “If your internal communication is not good, then your external communication will continually be one of explaining and rationalizing negative events.”
In other words, you can’t be muddled within your organization, but clear and focused outside it. Craig gave an example of how during his days in Calgary, he tried to do the right thing and give a promising player plenty of notice that the team wouldn’t be able to give him a contract. But “because Ron Bremner had sent a letter of encouragement to the young man just weeks before, I embarrassed our President…”
He then told my son, Matt, a 14-year-old boy, “When you are an executive, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that communication is up, down and across and as clear and as timely as possible.”
I have witnessed Matt reading Craig’s letter repeatedly. It continues to mean the world to him that a famous broadcaster and NHL executive took his aspirations seriously. If not, he never would have described what to do “when you are an executive.”
Owners are fans, too: “When I began working at the NHL Network, the executive producer told me that it’s really simple: the fans of the winning team want to know why their team won and the fans of the losing team want to know why their team lost.
“It’s no different as a GM and that message has to be relayed to the President and Ownership because let’s not forget, they are fans also.”
Craig explained to Matt that GMs hold a great deal of power and that you will need to make a conscious decision how to wield this power.
“Players always know what they need or don’t need but they are not going to tell you. They know who helps the team, they know who hinders the team and it’s your job as GM to make the changes necessary to help the players achieve their goals, and thus ultimately the team, to reach its objectives. If you make the wrong moves, your credibility as GM will be negatively impacted. Conversely, if you make the right moves, the confidence the players have in the GM will be heightened.’
Be ready to help… again and again: At the end of his extremely substantive document, Craig wrote this:
“I have left a lot to think about and take your time and digest it… circle back with me on further questions. This is a living, breathing organic document and I am learning every day so your goal of understanding what may be involved to become a GM is also helping reaffirm some of my thoughts and consider new ones.”
How did Matt react to Craig’s guidance? Here’s what he says, “It was the coolest thing ever. His words made my goal seem like an achievable possibility. I’ve read his document many, many times. For example, I often see events in the hockey world that originate with challenges Craig described, such as a failure of communications. When this happens, I go back and look at Craig’s email again. It gives me more insight into the game; it brings it closer to home.
“More importantly, it highlights the importance of hard work. If you go in at the bottom, you look for any job, any way to add value. That’s not a lesson for hockey. It applies to all life.”
Thank you, Craig and Ron, from both of us.
I ghostwrite articles for entrepreneurs and other business professionals. Learn more at Kasanoff.com.
An earlier version of this article appeared on Forbes.
Do we need universities anymore? What if they ran out of customers?
Google announced it is hiring employees without college degrees, and Ernst & Young made a similar decision in the U.K. last fall. Both organizations see less value in a traditional college degree.
Are two of the most admired companies in the world wrong — or ahead of their time?
The value of universities could be hitting a wall as fast as the value of libraries, newspapers and brick-and-mortar retail stores. Our need for learning and filling our brains with exactly the right information at just the right time is changing faster than American universities are.
Think about it: Which is more indispensable to you in your job — your university education or the university you have in your pocket, your smartphone?
American universities need to change. The current $1.2 trillion in student loan debt is crushing graduates. Total student loan balances have tripled since 2003 and are the second-largest category of borrowing after mortgages. If major employers like Google and Ernst & Young see less need for a college degree, and if other big companies follow suit, then students are paying an exorbitant price for a product of decreasing value.
With our recent joint launch of a daily poll on higher education, Gallup and USA Funds are helping university leaders lead the change. Each day, 350 days a year, Gallup will conduct nationally representative interviews with approximately 500 U.S. adults about their higher education interests, experiences and outcomes. We will provide the first ever “voice of the customer” on the subject of higher education.
As William D. Hansen, USA Funds president and CEO, puts it, “This ongoing survey will allow us to track the progress toward and effectively identify strategies that promote what we call ‘completion with a purpose’ — helping more students complete college prepared to launch rewarding careers.”
Gallup’s founder, the late Dr. George Gallup, once famously said, “If democracy is supposed to be based on the will of the people, someone should find out what that will is.” His point was that when leaders are wrong about what the people want, and then use that wrong information to make decisions, things get worse. It’s a point that applies to students and their education as much as it applies to any other part of our society.
The purpose of the new Gallup-USA Funds partnership is to report the will of the people on the subject of higher education. Now leaders of American education can be right instead of wrong about policies, strategies, premises and practices as colleges and universities go through massive transformational change.
Change is coming one way or another. Universities have to decide whether they want to lead the change or become the next victims of disruption.
Jim Clifton is Chairman and CEO of Gallup. He is author of The Coming Jobs War(Gallup Press, 2011).
Everywhere you look you see articles warning job-seekers about mistakes they can make on a job interview, like saying the wrong thing or giving an incomplete answer to a question.
It’s easy to become so fearful of doing or saying the wrong thing at a job interview that you lose track of the bigger picture.
Here’s the brutal truth: the biggest danger you face at a job interview is the danger of being forgotten altogether!
I was a corporate HR leader for ages. I used to walk around the building and ask the department managers “How did your interview with Melissa [or Xiao, Charles or Mohammed] go yesterday?”
Often they would say “It was fantastic! Melissa really understands e-commerce. I want to get her back in here as soon as possible to meet our VP.”
However, many other times a department manager would say “What?”
ME: Your interview with Melissa — how did it go?
MANAGER: Who, now?
ME: Melissa Sanchez — about thirty years old, my height, curly black hair — she had a green jacket on. She works at Acme Explosives. You don’t remember her?
MANAGER: Honestly, I don’t.
ME: You met with her for an hour yesterday. Carla from HR brought Melissa to your office. Carla said you told her that your brother broke his arm playing basketball. Is he okay?
MANAGER: He’s fine — just a little sore. I remember the conversation with Carla.
ME: Well, Melissa was standing right next to Carla when you had that conversation.
MANAGER: Oh, yeah, that’s right! Honestly, Melissa left almost no impression on me. Now I remember — green jacket. She sat there. Maybe she was nervous. She gave me three-word answers. I couldn’t get anything out of her.
ME: Oh, what a shame! Melissa and I had such a great conversation last week. She was energized and bubbly and full of ideas then.
MANAGER: Well, I didn’t scare her intentionally! You always get people to talk.
ME: Listen, we have way more intimidating managers than you around here. It’s okay. I’ll let Melissa know.
After a conversation like that I would have to call Melissa and explain that while it didn’t look like there was a great match between her and the position she had interviewed for, we might have other positions coming up that would be a better fit.
I would also coach Melissa to ask a few friends to help her practice her interviewing skills so that she would come out of her shell a bit more in future interviews.
A lot of people have the same problem Melissa had. They disappear into the chair in a job interview. They think their assignment at a job interview is to answer the interviewer’s questions “correctly.”
There is no correct answer to a job interview question! Even if an interviewer scowls at your answer, that doesn’t mean anything. They may change their mind overnight as they think about the soundness of your reasoning.
Your assignment at a job interview is not to please anyone, but to show your brain working. In the best case, you’ll get to see your interviewer’s brain working, too!
Way too many smart and capable people miss out on great job opportunities because they try so hard to play the part of the Good Little Sheepie Job Seeker. That approach will not help you, but will hurt you instead!
Not everybody will resonate with your personality, but so what? You wouldn’t want to work for someone who doesn’t get you, anyway.
Bring your full personality, your humor, your amazing story and your mojo to a job interview, every time!
Why play the part of a person who isn’t you? The real you is a million times cooler, and won’t be forgotten the way poor Melissa was!
Want to learn how to interview like a real person, and get the job? Join Liz Ryan and Molly Campbell in a FREE Webinar, “Get the Job Every Time — Interview Secrets That Work” on July 27th! Register at the link below!
I recently had the honour of delivering a keynote to over two thousand school principals and educators at EduTECH – Australia’s premier conference for innovation in education. Whilst I have worked with numerous global corporate brands on fostering ‘intrapreneurship’ within their organisations, this was my first major attempt at sharing this with some of the most influential minds in our society – those educators who are future-proofing our kids in an era of rapid change.
My approach to innovation is twofold – foster the traits of an intrapreneur and recognise the blockages that may be holding your school back. Through my work I have identified there are “Seven Deadly Sins” that inhibit innovation. The key to addressing these ‘sins’ is to instead foster the traits of an intrapreneur (an innovator within an organisation). Below are the seven traits I spoke of at EduTECH to help educators build a culture of intrapreneurship within their schools.
- Deadly Sin: PRIDE | Counter Trait: VISIONARY
The first of the Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation to stamp out is pride. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking your school has arrived and become complacent. Don’t underestimate how fast we will all need to adapt to change over the coming decade. As Will Rogers’ said, “Just because you are on the right track doesn’t mean you can’t get run over.”The counter to pride is the first intrapreneurial trait to embrace – be VISIONARY. Essentially, this is to look into the future and re-imagine what education will look like for your school. Create a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and make every decision, every hire, every reward and every change align with this vision.
- Deadly Sin: GLUTTONY | Counter Trait: LEAN
The second sin of innovation is clinging to the mass that can hold us back – the red tape, layers of hierarchy, rules and regulations, systems and processes. The big one for both business and schools is having too many products – in a school’s case it’s the plethora of subjects, sports and co-curricular programs on offer. There comes a point where there can be too many to be effective. Education will not evolve if there is too much inertia to change.Instead, school principals need to treat their school more like a LEAN start-up, asking how they can maximise impact with minimal resources. Intrapreneurs who ‘think lean’ are flexible to change by thinking big but remaining as small as possible. A speed boat can turn and pivot much faster than a super tanker.
- Deadly Sin: GREED | Counter Trait: RESOURCEFULNESS
Next, schools need to remove greed from their mindset. A fixation with the need for extra funding for new initiatives or even to maintain current activities isn’t a helpful approach. Although adequate funding of our schools is clearly a necessary investment, we equally have to cease calling out the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ where funding is viewed as the ‘be all and end all’ of school success.Instead, the most successful schools are not the most highly funded, but the most RESOURCEFUL – one of the most important traits of an intrapreneur. It sounds counter-intuitive but often the less you have, the more innovative you can be. There are few individuals more resourceful in our society than that inspirational school teacher, who fosters incredible student outcomes by throwing out boring textbooks and creating innovative ways to keep our kids inspired in ways that may not cost money.
- Deadly Sin: LUST | Counter Trait: COMMERCIALITY
The fourth deadly sin is the lust for technology, bred by the misconception that all innovation must be technological in nature. Innovation is as much about methodology, pedagogy and a plethora of other initiatives which will leap-frog any change that comes about from merely reading an electronic version of the same old textbook.The biggest changes will start to come when we embrace COMMERCIALITY. The very skills that our kids need to succeed in life, are the very skills the intrapreneurs in our education system need to run a school. Whether revenue comes from government funding or school fees, the reality is: a school is a business and commerciality is key to thriving. To counter lust, it’s key to assess every spend in the school against that Big Hairy Audacious Goal and how effective it will be in achieving it, instead of getting carried away by the latest fad – technological or otherwise.
- Deadly Sin: ENVY | Counter Trait: COLLABORATION
The theory of happiness economics finds that social comparison leads to reduced satisfaction with one’s own position. It’s easy to jealously eye other less constrained organisations and become discouraged about your own school’s ability to make innovation happen. But focusing on what you don’t have can lead to missing the opportunities found right where you are.The obvious trait to overcome enviously resenting others’ success is to COLLABORATE with them. Think about partnering with another school that has been implementing an innovative approach. Siloed thinking stifles innovation, but building relationships with other schools, industry and your local community will turbocharge your growth.
- Deadly Sin: SLOTH | Counter Trait: PASSION
Inertia creeps into to any large organisation that has been established for a long time. A sense of urgency is lost and there seems to be no compelling reason to introduce change. It is slothful habits like clock watching, groupthink, doing the bare minimum and resistance to change which leaves any organisation, including schools, at risk of being left behind.Though I acknowledge that our crowded curriculum and the multitude of systemic requirements placed upon teachers can be a challenge, the intrapreneurial trait of PASSION can help keep a school thriving. Passion gives energy to any pursuit and drives motivation and growth. Whilst a vast generalisation, often times the most passionate teachers are new educators. With their rose-coloured glasses still firmly worn and the latest science of teaching fresh in their brains, it is crucial to harness this passion to prevent sloth creeping in. Fresh eyes are often the best for identifying new and innovative solutions that haven’t been tried before. Give these young (or young at heart) intrapreneurs the support, recognition and latitude they need to try new initiatives.
- Deadly Sin: WRATH | Counter Trait: RESILIENCE
The last of the Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation is WRATH, or anger, over failure. For every ten new initiatives you might experiment with it’s likely only one will succeed. It’s important to stamp out the tendency to crucify failed efforts and instead to embrace the opportunity for learning that these setbacks represent so you can try again with more knowledge.The intrapreneurial trait to foster here is RESILIENCE. This is the ability to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and start again when your initiative doesn’t work as planned. If Edison had given up with the first of hundreds of failed experiments in his quest to invent the electric light bulb we may still be in the dark. There’s a lot of talk about fostering this in our kids at the moment, but this can’t happen without positive role modelling from their teachers and school leaders.
It is one of the most exciting times to be in education – a once in a century opportunity to embrace incredible change and innovation. The seven traits of an intrapreneur will equip our principals and teachers with the skills they need to forge this change.
Each summer Mary Meeker releases her Internet Trends presentation.
At the release of each report, I wonder if postsecondary education will be featured in the deck. And each summer I am sad that it is not.
The fact that Mary Meeker is not putting higher education in her Internet Trends deck should not stop us from trying.
(Also check out Bryan Alexander’s take on the Meeker’s “giant slide trove“).
Here are 36 ways that we can relate her thinking on Internet Trends to our world of higher ed:
1. 3 billion global Internet users (42% of the population) translates into 3 billion possible postsecondary students. (Slide 5)
2. India, with 277 million Internet users (surpassing the US, and behind China) is the future of online and technology enabled postsecondary education. (Slide 7)
3. Android dominates the global smartphone business – an opportunity for Google to lead the move to mobile learning for tomorrow’s postecondary students. (Slide 11)
4. Global economic slowdown (especially in China) and flat income growth will put increasing cost and revenue pressures on postsecondary institutions. (Slide 18)
5. Lower global fertility will mean more resources to invest in postsecondary education for smaller families. (Slide 35)
6. As more of the $60 billion digital advertising budget moves to mobile, so will more of the digital learning marketplace. (Slide 43).
7. Both advertisers and incumbent edtech companies are “over-indexed to legacy media” platforms. (Slide 45).
8. Online education can learn from online advertising, as digital learning is more effective if it is authentic, provokes emotion, is personable / relatable, useful, and can be controlled by the learner. (Slide 46)
9. Can Meeker’s “Retail” equation be applied to education? Retail = Technology + Media + Distribution (Slide 61)
10. Physical retailers are becoming digital retailers, and digital retailers are becoming data-optimized physical retailers – will the same thing happen to residential colleges and primarily online postsecondary programs? (Slide 64)
11. Will the connected consumers also become connected students? (Slide 65)
12. Can we edit Meeker’s retailers / products / brands formula to instead read: Colleges / Degrees / Brands = bolstered by Always-On Connectivity + Hyper-Targeted Marketing + Personalization? (Slide 66)
13. Generation Z (born 1995 to 2015) will approach education from a perspective of being: tech innate (5 screens at once), comfortable communicating with images (rather than text), creators and collaborators, future-focused, realists, and wanting to work for success. (Slide 74)
14. Tomorrow’s students will want to use their phones to create (video-centric) educational assignments in the same way that they use their phones to create video-centric social media communications. (Slide 79)
15. Traditional digital education will increasingly be combined with social media interaction, just as the process of consuming sports on entertainment is changing. (Slide 88)
16. The growth of messaging platforms and uses will challenge traditional asynchronous online / mobile education platforms. (Slide 100)
17. Messaging is moving from social to business conversations, and will also move from social to educational (learning) conversations. (Slide 102)
18. Messagings secret sauce – the power of the thread – also applies to learning: conversational / remembers identity / time / specifics / preferences / context. (Slide 104)
19. Best way to contact Millennials – social media + chat – may be the best way to teach Millennials. (Slide 107)
20. As the messaging app becomes the “second home screen” – could the education app become the third? (Slide 110)
21. Voice interfaces are changing computer / people interactions – as voice interactions are fast, easy, and personalized. Will voice interfaces change how learning can occur on mobile devices? (Slide 116)
22. The improvement of speech recognition from 95% to 99% percent is a game changer for mobile – will it be a game changer for mobile learning? (Slide 117)
23. Can this formula be applied to higher ed: Car Industry Evolution = Computerization Acceleration? Why and why not? (Slide 137)
24. How are adaptive / personalized / scaled learning platforms different from driverless cars? (Teacherless courses?) (Slide 141)
25. Can we replace “Car” with “Higher Ed” in the following formula?: Car Industry Evolution = Driven By Innovation. (Slide 142)
26. Is higher ed like the car industry, driven by innovation + globalization? (Slide 143)
27. Transportation regulators are typically slow to adopt new technologies – is this also true of higher ed regulators? (Slide 149)
28. As transportation and mobility are being reimagined – will we also reimagine learning and credentialing? (Slide 151)
29. Will the shift from “cars produced” to “miles driven” be accompanied by a shift from “hours in school” to “demonstrated skills and competencies”? (Slide 152)
30. Just as Millennials and Generation Y look to give up car ownership for transportation as a service, will they give up “owning” diplomas to wanting to demonstrate specific skills and competencies? (Slide 153)
31. Are cars and physical classrooms both “underutilized resources”? (Slide 154)
32. China has 668 million Internet users – leading us to expect that tomorrow’s big edtech players will originate from China. (Slide 166)
33. If Alibaba is China’s top retailer (Wal-Mart is in the US), why can’t an online university be China’s top education provider? (Slide 170)
34. China is the world’s largest outbound tourist spender ($165 billion) – so where does China rank as the world’s biggest exporter of postsecondary students? (Slide 174)
35. How this statement apply to higher ed?: Impact of Internet = Extraordinary & Broad, But, In Many Ways… It Is Just Beginning. (Slide 183)
36. What does “data as a platform” mean to higher ed – and how will incumbent institutions use data analytics to improve efficiency without sacrificing core values? (Slide 200)
What data points should have Mary Meeker included about digital learning?