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Would You Hire - Yourself?
October 13, 2011 - Ernest Hohmeyer
I always thought it would be interesting if we had to interview ourselves for our own jobs. Would we hire ourselves?
Many of us do have boards or a supervisor that usually entails some level of accountability. Others would claim that the ultimate accountability is a satisfied customer.
But that’s not what I am talking about.
Imagine for a moment that tomorrow you had to set up the interview for your job.
Is not part of the interview, the introduction of what your company is all about? It does not matter if you are a CEO, entrepreneur or community leader you will try to lay out an image or a culture. You will try to talk about your history and your goals for the future. Inevitability you will talk about performance goals and measureables. If appropriate, you will outline big, down-the-road goals – after all you want to give the impression that there is room to grow for this person. You may also try to define immediate objectives – something that you can base a 6 months or annual review on to talk about salary increases or position advancements.
When was the last time you tried that on yourself?
“What’s the use?” you may be thinking. With business the way it is whether it is a retail store or a non-profit; we can’t expect any huge increases. It’s always the same ‘ole same ‘ole.
Now let me ask you, if someone came in with that attitude, would you hire them?
It’s hard because for so many of us we are getting sick and tired of today’s new philosophy: “Do more with less.”
I think one of the hardest things to do when you are run an operation is to separate yourself from it and try to take an objective look. If you are troubled by your business, you don’t want to talk about – even to your friends – well, because it’s a small community.
If it’s a new idea, you may also be reluctant to talk about it as you may be afraid someone else might beat you to the punch – or perhaps worse yet – tell you that your crazy.
And then of course there is life and it so hard sometimes to get away from working your business to have the energy to run it. I call most of us “work-trepeneurs” not entrepreneurs. We “work” our business everyday and during sleepless nights we try to “run” it by counting dollars instead of sheep.
When I facilitate business classes, I am always trying to convince folks to run their business, not just work it. Despite all the technology available that reminds you to remind you, I have resorted to a simple chart that I keep with me everyday. It’s not fancy. It just sits on my computer as a doc on the bottom. But I titled it with a simple lead: “Purpose.”
I have to remind myself that there is a reason for doing what I am doing. Before I allow myself to check e-mails, or my favorite sports sites, I open up this document that asks five questions:
1. What is the real purpose of my business? I leave this one blank and fill it in everyday. You would be surprised on how many different answers I came up with. But slowly over time keywords, an image came to life. Initially quite long, it has become very concise.
Today, you have less than 10 seconds or 10 words to capture someone and these keywords should also be an important component of your online media search engines. It is also a reminder about what is important and makes me enthusiastic. With this daily purpose in your head, I end up talking to our employees differently trying to ensure that this vision is with them as well.
In a recent article, Strategy + Business Magazine talks about “corporate incoherence.” According to a Booz & Company survey cited here, “More than half of surveyed executives don't buy their companies strategy.”
The article further goes on to cite that those surveyed “64% say their company has too many conflicting priorities.” It is suggested that the “underlying problem these survey responses reveal is a lack of coherence,” according to members of the Booz & Company team. “A coherent company” they write, “has a deliberately close alignment among the company’s strategic direction, its most distinctive capabilities and most or all of its products and services.”
Is what you are focusing on today “coherent” with your dream? How would you rate yourself?
2. What are the 3 things I need to do today to run my business? This is not about “working” your business. Again, picture yourself in evaluating someone who has taken your position. What would they have accomplished at the end of the day to make you feel the investment in them was worth it?
3. What's the one thing that if I were not here today would not get accomplished? Yes, I know, everything. Fine, then perhaps write them all down and rate them with #1 & #2 above.
4. Do one thing today that looks at the financial picture of your business. This can range from cost of goods, comparing a competitor’s price or analyzing sales trends. Don't spend the day on this, just one thing that makes you think about the financial health of your business throughout the day and perhaps this concentrated thought on one aspect of your business will give you new perspectives or ideas. It may also help you understand what's troubling your business.
5. Draw a picture, write a story Create an exercise that you can have fun with during the day that further identifies who one of your target markets may be. The more you understand your “buyers persona” the increased likelihood that you will know how to reach them and what to say.
What About You? I should add a 6th one: What about you: How are you feeling? Satisfied? Uneasy? Concerned? Is there something that is bothering you or you have the itch to try? If the same concepts keep coming up, it may be worthwhile exploring.
Even David Meerman Scott in his book the “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” donates a section to “What Are Your Organization’s Goals?” “The most important thing to remember,” he writes, “as you develop a marketing and PR plan is to put your products and services to the side for just a little while and focus your complete attention on the buyers of your products.” He has an interesting view of this by disregarding the standard bearer of marketing the “4 P’s” (product, place, price and promotion). Instead, he advocates “In order to succeed on the web under the new rules of marketing and PR, you need to consider your organizational goals and then focus on your buyers first.”
I know most of us are tired following the summer season – but the ides of November are rapidly approaching – otherwise known as our shoulder season. It’s a great time to start planning for 2012. We get bogged down sometimes with the thought that we need to spend hours at a time running or planning our business. We look for that proverbial quiet time and it just never seems to happen. Perhaps doing a few simple things each day that focuses on running your business and imagining at the end of the day you will be evaluated, may help.
Inc Magazine highlighted an interesting book: “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.” “Most innovation,” it is quoted here, “is the product of discovery, not inspiration.”
Perhaps we should discover if we would hire ourselves.
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