small change: your 3-step interview plan (1)

CiaranLinkedIn

small change 

by 

Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs.

Blog 1 small change: seven principles

Blog 2 small change: your career is a unique business

Blog 3 small change: your soft balance sheet

Blog 4 small change: your D Liability

Blog 5 small change: your timeline

Blog 6 small change: your formative years

Blog 7 small change: your A asset

Blog 8 small change: your career equity

Blog 9 small change: your curriculum vitae

Blog 10 small change: your emotional intelligence

Blog 11 small change: your reputation

Blog 12 small change: you, three years from now

Blog 13 small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

Blog 14 small change: your soft p&l

Blog 15 small change: your 7 career options

Blog 16 small change: your relationship grid

Blog 17 small change: you are not a human capital asset

Blog 18 small change: your 7-step job search plan

Blog 19 small change: your 3-step interview plan (1)

small change

Seven principles

Principle 2

Organisations are more likely to hire you if

  • you’re the least risky
  • not, necessarily, the best

 

Blog 19  small change: your 3-step interview plan (1)

yoru three-step interview plan

Step 1 Establish, accurately, buyer’s needs

If you are an interviewee then you are selling. Your interviewer is buying.

Grasp that and your chances of success will soar.

Sadly, many – especially senior leaders – struggle to postpone attending to their own needs before addressing the needs of the buyer.

The first rule of selling is that there can be no sale without the buyer having a need, latent or explicit, which you can meet.

The way to surface needs, explicit or latent, is to ask as many open biased questions necessary to establish beyond doubt the buyer’s needs, as they see them. I repeat: as they see them, not as you see them.

Open biased questions include: why? how? when?

If you are being interviewed by a headhunter remember your task is to sell to them the reasons why they should include you on their shortlist.

Headhunters are buyers of first instance.

So many interviews are lost by interviewees because they pitch to the headhunter as if they are not the buyer in the first instance. That’s fatal.

Do not move to Step 2 until you are sure you know, accurately, the buyer’s needs.

You can test this by summarising the needs back to the buyer.

If you get the summary right then the buyer will tell you directly and/or through their body language whether you are right, or not.

When you get verbal and/or physical confirmation – usually involuntary nods – that you have summarised their needs correctly, then and only then, move to Step 2.

I call these confirmations “noddies”.

If you don’t get any noddies do not move to Step 2 because you will make the cardinal error of pitching to the wrong needs and, as I have witnessed on so many occasions, you won’t know what you won’t know about why you are not called to the next interview.

I find it painful witnessing bright, successful and able people, with little selling experience, bewildered when they hear that they have not been shortlisted.

It takes discipline not to rush.

Exercise it.

Ciarán Fenton

 

small change: your 7-step job search plan

CiaranLinkedIn

small change 

by 

Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs.

Blog 1 small change: seven principles

Blog 2 small change: your career is a unique business

Blog 3 small change: your soft balance sheet

Blog 4 small change: your D Liability

Blog 5 small change: your timeline

Blog 6 small change: your formative years

Blog 7 small change: your A asset

Blog 8 small change: your career equity

Blog 9 small change: your curriculum vitae

Blog 10 small change: your emotional intelligence

Blog 11 small change: your reputation

Blog 12 small change: you, three years from now

Blog 13 small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

Blog 14 small change: your soft p&l

Blog 15 small change: your 7 career options

Blog 16 small change: your relationship grid

Blog 17 small change: you are not a human capital asset

Blog 18 small change: your 7-step job search plan

small change

Seven principles

Principle 2

Organisations are more likely to hire you if

  • you’re the least risky
  • not, necessarily, the best

 

Blog 18  small change: your 7-step job search plan

your 7 step job search lan

Step 1 Start with humility

“I tick all the boxes,” many clients say.

No, you don’t, I say.

No one ticks all the boxes.

Your targets don’t even know all “the boxes”.

They make them up as they go along or they can’t say what they are because they are illegal (race, sex, age, religion) or they have an unconscious (or conscious) bias against you for whatever reason. So,

  • Know that you don’t know what you don’t know about a job search.
  • Looking for a job is a full-time job
  • If you can’t do it full-time, accept that downside.

 

Step 2 Word-perfect “purpose” (P)

“I must keep my options open,” many clients say.

You must not, I say.

The opposite. You must narrow your options. Focus is key.

Write a word-perfect purpose statement on your chosen option.

That’s a hard statement to craft. Give it time. No pain, no gain.

 

Step 3 Stick to one strategy (S)

“I’ve decided to ‘go plural’,” says a client.

“Great, ” says I. “So that means you won’t be looking at job adverts then, yeah?”

“Well, it depends. If the right thing were to come along…”

That’s two strategies. Neither will succeed, fully. You wouldn’t tolerate two strategies at work so why tolerate it in the business of your career?

Jobs are like Godot. You wait for them to “come along” in vain.

 

Step 4 Decide on behaviour (B)

Decide how you will behave during your job search whether you are writing a covering letter, networking or at an interview. What impression do you want to give which reflects you?

Stick to your behaviour plan.

The market has a gimlet eye for behavioural inconsistencies. It takes sinful pleasure in catching people out.

 

Step 5 (re) Learn marketing

Since your career is a unique business all the art and science of marketing applies to you. Use it. Learn or re-learn the 4Ps:

  • Product (service)?
  • Price?
  • Place?
  • Promotion?

 

Step 6 (re) Learn selling

There are three steps in selling during a job search:

  • What does “the buyer” need and why?
  • Can you demonstrate, rather than assert, that you can meet that need?
  • Can you close the gap between the buyer’s objections and “a deal”?

 

Step 7  (re) Learn how to buy

When you have closed the deal, start buying.

The fancy word for this is “due diligence”.

 

Which step is the most challenging for you? Why?

 

Ciarán Fenton

 

 

 

 

 

small change: you are not a human capital asset

CiaranLinkedIn

small change 

by 

Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs. You can see the full index HERE.

Blog 17 small change: you are not a human capital asset

small change

Seven principles

Principle 2

Your job is

  • a joint venture
  • for a period,
  • increasingly brief

Blog 17  small change: you are not a human capital asset

you are not a human capital asset

You are not a human capital asset. No one is.

Check your body. Any barcodes?

Check your organisation’s Asset Register. Are you on it, with an annual straight-line depreciation?

Is “Human Capital” on your organisation’s balance sheet?

No, to all of the above. Of course not. If they could, accountants would have found a way by now. But they haven’t because they can’t.

Human capital doesn’t exist. Never has. Never will. No amount of metaphorical mind-bending will change that fact. No organisation “owns” you.

Of course, you are – technically speaking – a human resource to the extent that you are human and you are a resource to your organisation.

But people see themselves as neither human capital assets nor human resources and that’s what counts.

Once, when facilitating a workshop with a group of Human Resources Directors (HRDs) I asked for “hands up if you love being a human resource”.

No hands.

I believe HRDs should change their titles to Chiefs of Staff and support and repatriate responsibility for creating an environment in which people in your organisation thrive to the CEO, where it rightly belongs.

Your small change task, should you wish to accept it:

Don’t use the term human capital, which has no place in an environment, society and governance (ESG) compliant organisation; support your HRDs in becoming Chiefs of Staff and remind your CEO, if required, that he or she is responsible for “human resources”.

You are not a human capital asset nor, in ESG terms, are you a human resource. You are a micro-business wholly owning your own career equity:

  • your curriculum vitae (CV)
  • emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • and reputation (PR).

Your job is a joint venture with the other micro-businesses in your organisation for a term. These terms are becoming increasingly brief. That you can count on.

Your organisation exists only in law. Otherwise, it’s a construct.

Some say: “our people are our greatest asset”. No. They’re not yours. They’re not assets.

If you feel so strongly about them then demonstrate that you value them as people by calling them, er, people.

People. A grand word.

Ciarán Fenton

small change: your relationship grid

CiaranLinkedIn

small change 

by 

Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs.

Blog 1 small change: seven principles

Blog 2 small change: your career is a unique business

Blog 3 small change: your soft balance sheet

Blog 4 small change: your D Liability

Blog 5 small change: your timeline

Blog 6 small change: your formative years

Blog 7 small change: your A asset

Blog 8 small change: your career equity

Blog 9 small change: your curriculum vitae

Blog 10 small change: your emotional intelligence

Blog 11 small change: your reputation

Blog 12 small change: you, three years from now

Blog 13 small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

Blog 14 small change: your soft p&l

Blog 15 small change: your 7 career options

Blog 16 small change: your relationship grid

You

Seven principles

Principle 1

Your career is

  • a unique business,
  • one over seven billion in its uniqueness

 

Blog 16  small change: your relationship grid

your relationship grid

Managing relationships is your personal “core business”.

The Relationship Gridis a “tool” I developed, initially to help clients who signed for my First 100 Days Programme to avoid “Red” relationships in those critical days, and then they found that the Grid is useful at any time.

Here are the steps to populating your relationship grid:

Column 1 Key relationships

List all your key relationships, starting with yourself, then your family – a line each for each person, and not just “my family”; your boss, your peers by name – a line each; your team, if you have one, again by name, and so on to include key clients or stakeholders until you feel you have covered every key relationship.

Column 2 Their PSB/Success?/Failure?

Write short notes in respect of each name:

What is their PSB? If you don’t know it, find out.

What constitutes success or failure in respect of your purpose with respect to each relationship?

Column 3 Red? Amber? Green? (RAG)

Now “RAG” each relationship as of today:

  • RED = the relationship is very poor at the moment
  • AMBER = the relationship could go RED unless you take remedial action
  • GREEN = the relationship is good at this time

Repeat this exercise at regular intervals.

Analysis

  • Do you have any REDs or AMBERs today?
  • How can you turn the REDs to GREEN and prevent the AMBERs from turning RED?
  • Is your relationship with yourself GREEN?

In respect of the last, if not – why not?

 

Ciarán Fenton

 

 

 

small change: your 7 career options

CiaranLinkedIn

small change 

by 

Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs.

Blog 1 small change: seven principles

Blog 2 small change: your career is a unique business

Blog 3 small change: your soft balance sheet

Blog 4 small change: your D Liability

Blog 5 small change: your timeline

Blog 6 small change: your formative years

Blog 7 small change: your A asset

Blog 8 small change: your career equity

Blog 9 small change: your curriculum vitae

Blog 10 small change: your emotional intelligence

Blog 11 small change: your reputation

Blog 12 small change: you, three years from now

Blog 13 small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

Blog 14 small change: your soft p&l

Blog 15 small change: your 7 career options

You

Seven principles

Principle 1

Your career is

  • a unique business,
  • one over seven billion in its uniqueness

 

Blog 15  small change: your 7 career options

your 7 career options

If you are at a career crossroads, or even if you are not, you have at all times seven career options:

  1. Stay where you are and make it better
    • Usually, I encounter people who are forced to leave their current role through “redundancy” or because they are miserable and massively in soft deficit in their soft p&l.
    • Or, their corporate careers are over, and they are ready to launch a “portfolio career”.
    • But sometimes I meet people who are desperate to leave but shouldn’t. They should stay, try and make it better by confronting the demons that will follow them wherever they go.
  2. Leave and start your own business or a new business 
    • This option includes launching a “portfolio career”, your own consultancy or if you are a “serial entrepreneur”, another start-up.
  3. Leave and join a start-up
    • There are lots of these, and you can frequently trade salary for equity.
  4. Leave and join a growth business
    • Growth businesses are likely to be able to pay you more and tend to be more stable.
  5. Leave and join a mature business
    • This is the “classic” move – from one role in a mature brand to a similar or better position in a mature brand.
  6. “Downshift”
    • If you can afford it, stop working, at least in the accepted sense. Do things you love doing.
  7. “Exploit” family opportunities
    • Sometimes I meet people who could work in their family’s business, if there is one, and choose not to for various reasons. This option allows them to think again.

So, there are seven options. I have offered a bottle of champagne to clients “in transition” who can come up with a credible eighth. Although a few lawyer-clients have tried, I have not given away a bottle since I chose Option 2 in August 2002.

Whatever you decide, each day take full personal responsibility for your decision to stay and make it better, or leave. Don’t drift. Unless, of course, drifting is a conscious decision and purpose.

For you, what is the “scariest option”?

That’s the option you should be considering today.

 

Ciaran Fenton

 

 

small change: your soft p&l

CiaranLinkedIn

small change 

by 

Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs.

Blog 1 small change: seven principles

Blog 2 small change: your career is a unique business

Blog 3 small change: your soft balance sheet

Blog 4 small change: your D Liability

Blog 5 small change: your timeline

Blog 6 small change: your formative years

Blog 7 small change: your A asset

Blog 8 small change: your career equity

Blog 9 small change: your curriculum vitae

Blog 10 small change: your emotional intelligence

Blog 11 small change: your reputation

Blog 12 small change: you, three years from now

Blog 13 small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

Blog 14 small change: your soft p&l

You

Seven principles

Principle 1

Your career is

  • a unique business,
  • one over seven billion in its uniqueness

 

Blog 14  small change: your soft p&l

your soft p&l

Since your career is a unique business you have a hard (cash) and soft (intangible) balance sheet and you also have a hard (cash) and soft (intangible) profit and loss account.

Your soft p&l

Soft revenue

In descending order of importance to you – A, B & C – what three intangibles do you need from your work? Here are seven I hear frequently:

  • autonomy
  • intellectual challenge
  • a team
  • variety
  • progression
  • making a difference
  • approval

Soft costs

In descending order of importance to you – D, E & F – what are the three intangible costs you are willing to endure to achieve your soft revenue? Here are a few I hear frequently:

  • stress (how much?)
  • travel (how much?)
  • long hours (how many?)
  • a tough boss (how tough?)

Soft surplus/deficit

Are you in soft surplus or soft deficit now in your job?

If you are in a soft deficit is it because of problems on the revenue side or the cost side or both?

What combination of soft revenues and soft costs would create the right environment for a soft surplus for you?

Your answer to that question will help you figure out your purpose, strategy and behaviour (PSB) if you haven’t already.

 

Ciarán Fenton

 

 

 

 

 

My clients struggle more with their soft costs than their soft revenue because the

 

 

 

 

small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

CiaranLinkedIn

small change 

by 

Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs.

Blog 1 small change: seven principles

Blog 2 small change: your career is a unique business

Blog 3 small change: your soft balance sheet

Blog 4 small change: your D Liability

Blog 5 small change: your timeline

Blog 6 small change: your formative years

Blog 7 small change: your A asset

Blog 8 small change: your career equity

Blog 9 small change: your curriculum vitae

Blog 10 small change: your emotional intelligence

Blog 11 small change: your reputation

Blog 12 small change: you, three from now

Blog 13 small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

You

Seven principles

Principle 1

Your career is

  • a unique business,
  • one over seven billion in its uniqueness

 

Blog 13  small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

 

Purpose (P)

Your purpose, in career terms, is about why you do what you do.

For you, is your purpose

  • To make money?
  • To make “a difference”?
  • To be the best at what you do?

All three?

Or something else?

Or are you unclear, drifting or just getting by?

The process of finding a purpose is a purpose, provided there’s a reasonable time limit on your reflections, so if you are searching for answers then you have a purpose.

 

Strategy (S)

Your strategy is about how, in broad terms, you will achieve your purpose.

“Strategy” is one of the most abused words in the dictionary. Some people think it’s a plan. Others think it’s behaviour. It’s neither.

A strategy describes how you will achieve an objective.

That’s it on strategy.

 

Behaviour (B)

I use the word behaviour to embrace all plans and approaches to implementing a strategy to achieve a purpose.

Three simple words.

Together they are powerful.

What’s your PSB?

 

Ciarán Fenton