What Should I Do, What Should I Be

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® can be a very useful tool for those seeking a first time career or a change in their career path.  There are some things to consider, however, prior to administering the assessment.

If it is a first-time career, what do they bring to the table in the way of education and experience?  Is the education general or focused in a particular area?  Did they enjoy the experience of the education?  Do they have experience related to the education and did that excite them or bore them?

For those seeking a change in their career path, why the change?  Were they bored?  Was it a poor relationship with an employer or work culture?  Did they need to leave because of stress or medical issues? Some clients may have lost their career due to no fault of their own.  Some may be tied to a community because of family and not be able to relocate to find work in their field.

If the participant is under stress or has mental illness that is not stable, the Myers-Briggs® may not give desired results.  It is important to get to know the individual to put the results of the assessment into context.  Other factors that may influence career choice are health, finances, age, and family obligations.

Just because someone is good at something, it does not necessarily follow that it is what they want to do.  The work may be mentally uncomfortable for them.  They may find that the particular work is affecting home life as they cannot walk away from it.

The Myers-Briggs® assessment identifies preferences and may reflect the ideal job or career but in the real world of work there is compromise.  The assessment can show where you would be most comfortable but we all know you grow by being challenged.  All sixteen types can do any work but some will enjoy it, some will be challenged, and some will hate it.  No-one can be excluded from a career because of their type.

Whether it is a career or a job, knowledge of type is valuable as it give a person a different view of what they, as an individual, bring to the table and how they might react to the position.  It is an opportunity to look inward and evaluate where you are going and why.

It is not the end-all, be-all, just another tool for the toolbox.

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Posted in Assessments, Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Career development, Career professional, Coaching, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Employment, Empowering people, Life coaching, Lifestyle, Managing stress, MBTI, Myers-Briggs, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Train Stops Here

There is an old story about the Foreman going to the Manager with a training request for an employee.  The boss says, “What happens if we train him and he leaves?”, to which the Foreman responds, “What happens if we don’t train him and he stays?”

There is no question that training is needed in business.  The technical skills of how to do the job are essential and one of the main reasons that employees leave employers is lack of training to do their work.  But technical training is only part of the picture.  Soft skills are required as well.  Employees need to know soft skills in order to utilize the technical skills to the maximum.  If you can’t interact effectively, your technical or hard skills will not be as useful or effective.

Why are you looking for training for your employees?  Is there a problem you wish to address?  Is it likely that it is the right solution?  Is the perception of the problem coming from management or the employees?  This is where the management’s soft skills come into play in sourcing the answer.

Technical training is something most employers hire for, wanting the new employee to have the basic skills to do the job.  In today’s changing world, technical skills do not remain static.  Employees need skills to be upgraded on an ongoing basis to remain relevant in their trade or profession.  At the same time many employers offer soft skills training to enable personal growth in areas of communication, leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.

Sometimes internal trainers can be used, but most times the skills you need to impart are not within the organization.  Interesting, but many times outside trainers are accepted more readily by employees.  No matter which trainers are utilized you need to have clear objectives and desired outcomes.  Know what you need.

There are three errors that organizations seem to commit when training employees.  The first is training for the sake of training, with no real need in mind.  I received computer training on programs that I never used in my job, consequently, I quickly forgot what I had learned.

The second is no follow-through. Training is expensive.  Using it as ‘flavour-of-the-month’ shows employees that you are not sincere. and it really isn’t important.  Training involves lessons and processes that you should be incorporating into your routines.  If you don’t, you have just wasted your money.

The third error is sending someone off to training then, when they return, not asking them to provide a report or summary on what they took away from the training and how it might be used in the workplace.  I took training courses and when I returned, I may as well have been on vacation as no-one cared to even ask about the course.  Again, wasted money by management.

Training is essential for the recruitment and retention of employees, but you need to know why you are doing it, the expected outcome, and then make use of the resulting skills.

Otherwise the train(ing) is derailed!

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Posted in Assessments, Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Business Planning, Career development, Coaching, Communication, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Empowering people, Leadership, Learning styles, Life coaching, MBTI, Myers-Briggs, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Team development, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loyalty, Generation Gap, and the Workplace

Growing up I never heard my father complain about working with the younger generation.  Oh yes, he would complain about their music (Rock and Roll) and their weird haircuts (ducktails and waterfalls), but not their work.  My father was a little different and preferred not to work with anyone, regardless of age.  But the one thing he liked was mentoring those who were eager to learn.

It was an era when many would quit school at sixteen, get a job and retire with the same company, especially in the resource industry on Vancouver Island.  The generation gap has always been there and the subject of discussion.  It doesn’t matter if they are from; ‘great’, ‘baby-boomer’, ‘millenial’, ‘gen X’, or ‘gen Y’, there is always something to learn from each generation.

In my work experience in human resources and management, I see great potential in the younger generation.  Can you motivate them in the same way as the baby-boomers?  Absolutely not!  We have lost a good number of the high-paying resource jobs and very few companies where you can start at sixteen and work there until you retire.  Most have been downsized, rightsized, and bought and sold so there is a loss of the sense of company loyalty.  The era of the company looking after you is gone and as I have said many times, everyone is self-employed, whether you work for an employer or not.  You are responsible for your own career.

At one time, young people worked so that they could buy a home.  Today, many don’t see home ownership as a possibility due to the current price of housing. The younger generation tends to hold recreation, travel, and socializing to a higher value than working.  That is not to say they do not enjoy work.  Many want to see tangible results from their work.  They want to contribute and be acknowledged for what they do.  If that doesn’t happen, they will find employment elsewhere.

Add to this the fact that there is a labour shortage in Canada due to the number of retirees leaving the workforce and the younger workers have lots of choices for employment.  It is rapidly becoming an employee’s market rather than an employer’s market.

This can be troublesome for employers who do not have an ‘employee retention’ plan.  In other words, an approach to encouraging their key employees to stay with the company.  Without a plan in place, a company could be in serious trouble if certain employees left.  Some employers refuse to believe that employees are key to the success of their company.  One client told me that when her employer let her go, he said, “Employees are like batteries, you use them up and throw them away.”

Times have changed; young workers, new values, multi-generational workplaces, new loyalty, and the work still needs to get done.

How’s your retention plan?

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Posted in Business Coaching, Business Planning, Career development, Coaching, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Employees, Employment, Empowering people, Human resources, Life coaching, Lifestyle, Older Worker, Relationships, Team development, Young Professionals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Listening, Reading and Writing

Being male, I quite often am told I don’t listen or have selective hearing or, sometimes that I am deaf.  I am guilty sometimes of paying more attention to my answer than listening to the person speaking.  True listening is blocking my responses until the person has finished.  My response should only take place when I have digested what the person has said and then responding accordingly.

Listening also involves understanding what the person means by what they have said.  If you are not sure, it is up to you to clarify with them to make sure you are both on the same page.

Another area that misses its mark sometimes is reading.  Send out an e-mail asking someone to do four things.  You write a paragraph stating the four things you want and get a response back with only one or two of them.  It seems that human nature dictates that as soon as you hit the first item, you do it and as a result ignore the fact that there are four things to do.

This is similar to the university test that asks you to read the questions to the end of the test.  The majority failed as they started answering the questions at the beginning of the test.  The last instruction at the end of the test states that you are not to answer any of the questions, put your name on the paper and put your pencil down.

When you send an e-mail with a request for four things to be done, identify the four with numbers, or letters so that they are identified.  This will not guarantee that the recipient will get it right but will likely get them past number two.

Our communication, whether in business or with a loved one can be critical to the success of the message or request.  Even in business the way we communicate has become less formal.  Years ago there was always a paper trail.  Now, the trail can be difficult to follow, and details of communication become muddy as technology takes on many forms.

Just as in handwritten communication, not everyone is at the same place when it comes to the use of technology.  To communicate effectively, you need to know your audience.  Sometimes it is better to just better to pick up the phone or walk across the hall and talk to them in person!

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Posted in Business Coaching, Coaching, Communication, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Internet, Life coaching, Listening, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angels

There are hundreds, probably thousands of good business ideas out there.  Some totally new, some because the community has grown into them.  Many, if not most, have the same challenge … adequate funding.

Not all entrepreneurs, especially the younger ones, own their own home, or have a wad of discretionary money sitting there to feed the business idea.  There is no such thing as a missed idea as someone, sooner or later, will see the need and have the means to follow through with it.  It is just sad that an entrepreneur does not have access to angel investors on Vancouver Island.

The TV shows such as Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank have certainly aided a few but of course you have to meet the show’s criteria as it has to an idea that will appeal to the audience.  Traditional banks tend to be very conservative and want to see lots of collateral to back up any loan.  Community Futures might be a little more open to ideas but still has to be assured that there is collateral to back up the loan.

This leaves the investors who are willing to part with some money for a piece of the action although most times it is dependent on the success of the venture.  They may be involved in the day-to-day or choose to be silent in the background.

Angels are willing to take a risk, but it is up to the entrepreneur to do their research well, exhibit a thorough business plan and, most of all, show passion for the business.  Passion actually is the number one thing that all lenders look for, and, if they don’t see it, you won’t see the money.

If you want to see angels, believe, and do your homework.

As always, feel free to share this post giving credit top the author.

Posted in Business Coaching, Business Planning, Coaching, Community Futures, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Entrepreneurs, Networking, self-employment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Start a Business?

Central Vancouver Island has a few thousand businesses.  Some do well, others survive.  If you asked all of them why they started the business, you may be surprised at the myriad of answers that you hear.

Some start it for the money.  Many of the clients that I have coached in the last 5 years have had a very optimistic cash flow projection for their first year in business when the reality is, they will be lucky to break even.  There are those whose dream is to be rich, but few achieve it.  Money may be a motivator but it is not necessarily a good reason to go into business.

Some start a business because they have not had great experiences working for an employer.  This can be from poor pay, lack of advancement, lack of training, or in some cases a toxic environment.  They feel that having their own business, they will have better control over their work environment.

Some see a new opportunity, a business that is not currently serving the community.  They have done the research and feel the time has come and they can be first out of the gate, giving them an advantage of bringing something new to the area.

Some feel they can do a better job than is being provided by their employer so want to start a business giving enhanced customer service in their service or trade.  They feel they will have more satisfaction in what they do and the pride of knowing they are giving a quality product.

There will be many other reasons, but whatever takes a person down the entrepreneurial trail, it needs to be backed up by a detailed business plan to be successful.  Cash flow, marketing, competitors, advertising, licensing, are some of the hurdles to conquer.  Get help, talk to your local Community Futures office.  If you are on Employment Insurance or have had a connection to EI in the past, talk to your local WorkBC Employment office as you may be eligible for assistance.

Whatever the reason for considering being an entrepreneur, it can be very rewarding, if you are prepared!

As always, feel free to share this post giving credit to the author.

Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Business Planning, Clients, Coaching, Community Futures, Customers, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Entrepreneurs, self-employment, Young Professionals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Measuring ‘Best’

I just finished reading an article on the biggest companies in British Columbia, ranked in order.  Impressive, to say the least!  Interesting to see the changes from a year ago and the newcomers to the top 100.

Personally, biggest doesn’t resonate with me and I wonder if there could be additional measures to determine the ‘best’ companies.  I would like to see how many people they employ in British Columbia and the value of their payroll.

The article states the earnings of the companies but how much of that remains in BC in the form of corporate taxes?  The measure that would mean the most to me would be knowing their social footprint in the communities.

We see what some of the companies do in the way of sponsorship etc., but many on the list are not visible.  What do they contribute to the social fabric of the province?  What do they support their employees to do in the communities where they reside?

Do they support the charities that struggle for funding or the arts that make our communities places where employees like to reside?  Do they support youth activities or construction of facilities for communities?  How do they support the environment?  Are they a good corporate citizen when it comes to the environment?

The most dollars just doesn’t do it for me.  I like to know the character of the company.  Maybe someone will create a new list showing the ‘Best’ companies in the province.

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Posted in Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Employees, Employment, Entrepreneurs, Environment, Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment