Monday, April 16, 2018

How to Hire Top Talent Millennials into Commission-Only Jobs

Chris Butsch – Keynote Speaker, Author, Millennial Expert


Hiring Millennials into paid positions is difficult enough; so how on earth do you attract them to commission-only jobs? What’s the secret to selling a full-time position with deferred payment to a generation who places high importance on instant returns and gratification?

The solution is two-part; you must first address the unknown, then spice up the value proposition. Remember: you’re competing with the comforting psychology of a guaranteed paycheck. As a result, setting clear expectations and an attainable vision of success during the interview process will be critical in recruiting top Millennial talent to your commission-only positions.  You can do this in two stages during early conversations with candidates:

1. Clearly lay out expected earnings potential.

Laying out earnings expectations for 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months out is an excellent place to start. The word “expectations” will help assuage concerns over the commission-only model. Then, a segue into earnings potential becomes natural and powerful. Some sample language you can use:

“At a salaried position, you have to wait until the end of the year for a bonus. Here, you can earn a bonus anytime. Furthermore, at a salaried position, there are limits on what you can earn. Here, your hard work will directly translate into higher earnings.”

Language like this helps Millennials see the potential, as opposed to the limitations, of a commission-only model.


2.  Play the role of mentor. At this point in the conversation, even a confident, entrepreneurial-minded Millennial will wonder “but what if I fail?” You can address this fear head-on by assuring them that you won’t let them.

Millennials grow with guidance and place a high value on experiential learning. 79% of us want our boss to serve as a coach or mentor, and 88% of us prefer collaborative to competitive work cultures. Plus, strong mentorship is the #2 strongest retention tool for Millennials, behind alignment with the company’s purpose.[1]

Certain key phrases will eliminate culture concerns and paint you as someone they’d desire to work for. Positive, supportive language like this will augment every interview you conduct, but works especially well with a young person:

“I won’t let you fail.”
“We’ll create work plans together.”
“You’ll get some of the best sales training on the planet; training that you’ll have forever.”
“My office is always open for questions.”
“I’ll turn you into a rock star.”
“Commitment goes both ways; you make a commitment to me, and I’ll make a commitment to you.”


In summary, mention of pay and mentorship are critical while recruiting Millennials. Assure them that if they work hard, they’ll succeed; and you personally won’t let them fail. Many employers forget to make the latter point so you can use a promise of mentoring and coaching to gain a competitive edge over other recruiters: even those hiring into salaried positions.

What’s your company’s current “Millennial Problem?” Recruitment? Retention? Engagement? Message me on LinkedIn and I’ll do my best to help. 

About The Author

Chris Butsch is an expert on maximizing the Millennial generation in the workplace, Chris has directly advised Fortune 500 CEOs and delivered keynotes on three continents. Having built a reputation for offering managers free and immediate "quick wins" to maximize Millennial retention and productivity, Chris is organizing his latest findings in a new book called These Damn Millennials. 

His business website is:   www.chrisbutsch.com

Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, Managing Partner
ITB PARTNERS
Jim.Weber@itbpartners.com


Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
4. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - New
5. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
6. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
7. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete












[1]Source: Intelligence Group (link


Saturday, April 7, 2018

More On Changing Industry Segments.

You probably know that the economy has improved, and that unemployment is down to 4.1%.  That is great news!  Along with an improved economy, the labor market has tightened.  The unemployed and under-employed are going back to work.  Additionally, those people who held onto their jobs through the recession and the weak recovery are considering their options.  They are beginning to seek career advancement with another employer.

This week I talked with a lady who has experience in the restaurant industry but more recently has worked on the fringe of the industry, in another retail segment.  Let's call her Ann.  In fact, her current employer is classified as "non-traditional" by restaurant industry insiders.  This segment is not well understood or highly respected by the restaurant industry.  Even so, she has responsibility for a major line of business with a dominant regional brand. Her employer is well known in their part of the country but not so much outside the region.  

I have written about the difficulty of transitioning one's career into a different industry.  I have found that people have biases about those working in other segments even within the same industry. These biases are interesting as they are seldom fact-based. I advise that the best way to make a successful cross-industry move is to have an important contact networked into that segment.  However, there are other issues to consider.

Changing industries is more or less difficult depending on one’s job function and the hiring manager's personal biases.  Yes, hiring managers have biases that affect their decisions, and they aren't necessarily illegal.   Would you believe that a controller with experience in full-service hotels and resorts couldn't be a successful controller for a small restaurant chain?  Well, a few years ago I faced that bias which frustrated me.  Recently, I failed to get a candidate in front of a client because he has worked in non-food retail for the past two years. It did not matter that my candidate had a total of 15 years of leadership experience in the restaurant segment. Two years outside the restaurant industry knocked him out of contention. Seriously?

Moving into a different industry segment is also subject to the company's culture.  Some employers are open to hiring people with the right skill set even if their recent experience has not been in the same industry segment.  Other companies are more rigid in this requirement.  The target company's position in its life cycle is also relevant.  Typically, leaders and managers are best suited to one or two life cycle stages, but not all.  Entrepreneurial managers skilled in start-ups are usually gone by the time the brand reaches maturity.  Managers who are successful working with mature brands are probably not viable in a turnaround.  Making a career move to a different industry segment can be complicated.

Back to Ann.  She has a good job with a broad responsibility and a comfortable salary.  However, she sees no path to a viable long-term career. After five years, she has decided to explore other options.  She wants to make a transition on her terms, i.e., to keep her current job until she has landed the next.  Her ideal strategy would be to look for a situation in the QSR or Quick Casual segments with an equal or greater level of responsibility.  Her job search plan needs a public relations component to address segment bias.

My counsel is to craft a document that explains the business she manages in detail. She must help hiring-managers bridge the gap between their preconceptions and the facts for her industry segment.  A document that presents the size and scope of her responsibility could change some opinions.  This information can be incorporated into her resume and possibly into a cover letter. My thinking, however, is that the ideal product will read like a press release. The point is to address objections right up front.  

As much as the entire economy is changing and the employment dynamic is tightening, one would think that hiring managers would be "tuned into" the need to adapt.  One would think that employers would face additional pressure to check their biases and develop a more productive perspective.  Well, maybe not yet.  Some people will learn this lesson the hard way.  In the meantime, it is up to the job seeker to develop a strategy to overcome hiring biases.


Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.
Jim Weber, President
NEW CENTURY DYNAMICS EXECUTIVE SEARCH
JimWeber@NewCenturyDynamics.com



Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
4. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - New
5. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
6. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
7. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete





Sunday, April 1, 2018

Get Off The Bench And Into The Game!

I spend my days talking with people; a lot of people. Many are consultants with ITB Partners.  They are seeking my advice to become more successful as an independent contractor.  Mostly, I talk with people who need help with their job search. It is a significant part of my day.  These folks want to reconnect with another employer in a similar role. Some are ready to make a break from traditional employment to become their own boss. They are intrigued by the opportunity and want to better understand the risks and rewards. Every now and then I talk with someone who has been on her own but seeks greater stability as an employee.  Of course, becoming an employee offers little stability as companies are in a constant state of change.  One of our consultants took employment situation last year. It didn’t work out.  After a short tenure in that job, he returned to ITB Partners to pursue a freelance career.  This is a common phenomenon as job tenures become shorter and shorter.

My conversation with these folks begins with their goals and objectives. I want to understand their perspective on the market and the motivation for their intended course of action.  I want to learn how I can be helpful, even if it is limited to free advice.  Naturally, they want to know if I have a search assignment that fits their needs.  If I don't have an appropriate assignment they want to begin a relationship for future opportunities.  When they have completed their overview it is my turn to validate their strategy and to present alternatives they may not have considered.

As most of my work is with senior-level executives, my feedback is usually the same.  However, there are variations appropriate to the candidate's functional discipline and industry segment. Some job functions are experiencing great demand, like Chief Financial Officers. Some are experiencing rapid turn over, like Chief Marketing Officers. Some industry sectors are growing more rapidly than others.  Some are consolidating and even liquidating.

To a large extent, all industry segments are experiencing similar circumstances. They are trying to adapt to rapid change. Competition is fierce. There is a manic effort to stay relevant to the customer. The constant search to become better, faster and cheaper creates pressure to innovate. The push for cost reduction usually means ways to shrink the workforce.  Finding outsourced solutions has become commonplace.  The message to job seekers is to expect more job changes with shorter tenures. This reality leads many to strike out on their own, to become a freelancer.

The fundamentals of finding full-time employment or a contract engagement are basically the same.  One must talk with people, network. They must research the target company. They must get their resumes in front of hiring managers.  Ultimately, they must get interviews. The big difference is to advise the hiring manager or recruiter that you will consider a 1099 situation.   With no additional work, the job-seeker increases her employment opportunities, while reducing her time "in the market."

I find that a willingness to engage in project work is an effective way to find a new job. I call it a bridge strategy.  Employers are risk-averse, especially with regard to hiring decisions.  The cost of a bad hire is significant.  If given the alternative they would prefer a lower risk option, like a short-term contract.  A short-term contract allows the employer time to evaluate the candidate's viability without making a commitment.  If the candidate is a good fit an offer of full-time employment is likely.  If not, terminating the contract carries little risk.


If you are serious about finding work you must be open to alternatives that present a win-win solution.  Contract work that leads to a full-time situation is a proven job search strategy.  I believe that freelancing will continue to grow in importance as the economy transitions into the Digital Age.  So, get with the program!  It is better to be on the playing field as an independent contractor than to warm the bench.

Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.



Jim Weber, President


Jim Weber, President
NEW CENTURY DYNAMICS EXECUTIVE SEARCH
JimWeber@NewCenturyDynamics.com



Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
4. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - New
5. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
6. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
7. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete




Sunday, March 25, 2018

Align Change With The Needs Of Your Culture.

The plan was to meet Chris and Aaron Monday evening, for conversation and a fine cigar. The venue was Cigar City Club, in the Buckhead Neighborhood of Atlanta.  Chris is a Member of ITB Partners, whereas Aaron is new to our network.  Aaron is Millennial with a background in IT Consulting.  He is also an entrepreneur.  Chris believes that Aaron would be a good candidate for ITB Partners.  Aaron is looking for new clients.  Aaron canceled due to illness but Chris and I decided to follow through with our plans. I'm glad we did as I needed a good cigar.  Additionally, I had developed two networking contacts I wanted to discuss with Chris.  

I met Chris through Cliff,  a mutual friend.  It was two years ago,  just after I had published Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal.  When Cliff learned that Chris was months away from publishing his first book he decided that we should meet.  The full story is more interesting, but I'll save those details for now.  Chris is 27, a Millennial Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Best-Selling Author of The Millennial's Guide to Making Happiness.   He is building a Consulting Practice around Millennial career development and job satisfaction. Much of that work is focused on helping baby boomers understand their Millennials.  His objective is to help them become more effective, leading to longer tenures, and a lower cost of turnover.

Arriving first, I planted myself at the right-hand corner of the u-shaped bar.  I placed my drink order, then headed for the humidor.  One of the Managers helped me make my cigar selection; one new to me, and an old favorite.  On the way back to my seat, I saw Chris, sitting in the seat next to mine.
As one would expect, our discussion was far-ranging.  We compared notes on the dynamics of the economy and opportunities to build our businesses.  The economy has seen significant improvement, but individual companies are in a state of flux.  There is tremendous pressure to maintain relevancy and to increase market share.   Therefore, a lot of opportunity for us.

Toward that end, Chris told me about a new product he is developing, a cultural risk assessment. He wanted my thoughts on how to position his concept.  He asked my opinion on three particular options and price points, based on variations of the number and mix of people to interview.  Fortunately, I have recent experience with a similar assignment so I was able to talk with some authority.  

Last year I completed a consulting gig, helping my client improve their internal recruiting, selection, and onboarding program.  I have found that the best way to approach any assignment is to begin by understanding the client's culture.  So, I began that assignment by interviewing the leadership team to get their perspective on the company's values, management style, and opportunities.  Next, I talked with a cross-section of employees for thirty minutes each.  The results were revealing.  To make a long story short, the client was surprised to learn that the values and career goals for their employees aligned with their generation.  The baby-boomers were focused on developing their professional skills, whereas the Millennials were trying to "fit in."  The Baby-Boomers had a lot of job satisfaction.  The Millennials, not so much.  They complained that internal communication was not helpful. Leadership was surprised by these findings.  Although it was not my primary mission, I recommended that Management consider a Mentor program and prominently display their KPI's.  Those two ideas got them moving in the right direction.  I recommend that Chris follow a similar process.

The success of any new project or change in procedure is dependent on buy-in by the employees affected.  Achieving that buy-in requires a communication plan that resonates with the company's values, its culture.  Stated another way, if one wants to ensure a successful outcome, one must understand the current state of the company's culture and respond to its needs.

Three hours later...we made our exit, well-fed and relaxed but energized by our commitments to one another.

Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.



Jim Weber, President


Jim Weber, President
NEW CENTURY DYNAMICS EXECUTIVE SEARCH
JimWeber@NewCenturyDynamics.com
Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
4. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - New
5. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
6. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
7. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Make Your Work Enjoyable! Have Some Fun.

Last week was awesome, packed with fun and productivity.  I am on Overload but recovering. Actually, that is a bummer.   As you know, I often write about my preferred ways to conduct business. In fact, last week I wrote about a very productive business meeting over cigars and beer.  I find that I am most productive in a relaxed, friendly environment that supports a free flow of ideas.  I am sure that I am not unique in this respect, as this is the perfect environment to achieve "breakthrough" thinking.  Breakthrough thinking leads to solutions for vexing problems and ways to exploit opportunities.  This week was packed with events that were both fun and productive.  Well, what made this such a good week, Jim?  I am glad you asked!

The fun began with an early morning breakfast meeting on Monday.  Six of my Consultants from ITB Partners met to discuss our strategic positioning and branding for our emerging consulting group.

Tuesday morning I attended the monthly BENG meeting which featured Abby Kohut presenting "Success for the Seasoned Search."Abby Kohut is known in the job search world as Absolutely Abby,  She is the President of Staffing Symphony, LLC, and author of "Absolutely Abby's 101 Job Search Secrets."  This is the second time I have attended a presentation by Abby.  Both were excellent!  Following the BENG  meeting, I met with a friend's son who is in transition and enjoyed lunch and cigars with two Alumni buddies.  What a great day!

Wednesday, ITB Partners' conducted its monthly meeting hosted by Cari Pirello and Jessica Prior at the offices of Marketing Workshop.  Marketing Workshop is a full-service marketing research company and one of my clients.  Eighteen Members and guests participated in this event.  The meeting began with a presentation by Cari and Jessica which showcased their capabilities.  Later, Cari took us on a tour of the facilities, providing added perspective to their business.  This event was useful on several levels.  It exposed our group to a valuable resource and provided Marketing Workshop with insight into our capabilities.  That meeting was followed by my monthly poker game with colleagues and Alums, including cigars and a few beers of course.  Another great day!


Thursday evening I attended a networking event hosted by Walter Gupton of McGriff, Seibels & Williams of Georgia, Inc.   I made two good connections to build our consulting group and caught up with a few friends in attendance.  Following this event, I enjoyed a quiet dinner with my Bride.  She brought me up to date on the state of her business which is important as I am her business manager. Another enjoyable and productive day.

Friday was mostly spent on administrative tasks. but I did have a few important phone conversations. I capped off the week, later that afternoon, with an important recruiting meeting over a cappuccino. 

I get a charge out of spending time with people, especially friends and business associates.  I enjoy hearing about their goals and aspirations, personal and professional.  I enjoy a free flow of ideas that lead to breakthroughs.  I enjoy connecting friends and trusted advisors to one another.  I suppose that explains my career choice.  These attributes have served me well as an executive recruiter.  They are useful in my work to build ITB Partners.

Progress comes from the free flow of ideas.  I find that a relaxed, non-threatening environment leads to greater creativity which supports problem-solving.  I am energized by this kind of exchange, so I seek out or create these opportunities.  That's why my preference is to include an element of fun in my work.  Setting the stage for a productive exchange of ideas is critical to the process.  Regrettably, it is not realistic to expect 100% achievement of that goal as some aspects of life and business are tedious and sometimes unpleasant.  Even so, I aspire to have as much fun as possible while becoming ever more productive.  My recommendation to you is to do the same.

Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, President
NEW CENTURY DYNAMICS EXECUTIVE SEARCH
JimWeber@NewCenturyDynamics.com


Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
4. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - New
5. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
6. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
7. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal




 Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal

Sunday, March 11, 2018

More On Networking And Team Building

My favorite way to conduct business is over cigars, preferably with an adult beverage.   It isn't something I can do every day, but I make the best of the times when I can.  As I am always looking for new places to enjoy a cigar, I was willing to accept a 3:00 p.m. meeting this past Tuesday at Highland Cigar.   Highland Cigar Company is located in a neighborhood just east of downtown Atlanta.  This neighborhood, like many others close to downtown, is enjoying re-gentrification.

If you know anything about the traffic in Atlanta, the last thing you would want to do is to put yourself in a situation where you must commute home during rush hour.  It is especially true if you are returning to the northern suburbs from downtown.  Notwithstanding the traffic issue, I thought this meeting was worth the effort.  It was an opportunity to spend time with Eric, one of my newest Associates.  I arrived five minutes early and found a parking space on the street in front of Highland Cigar Company.  Karma was smiling on me.  When I stepped inside, I saw Eric sitting comfortably in front of his laptop enjoying a beer and cigar. We exchanged greetings, and he invited me to check out the humidor at the back of the store.  It isn't the largest or the best-stocked humidor I have seen, but it featured a number of my favorite brands.  I picked out a Perdomo Habana, ordered a Guinness and rejoined Eric.

"Highland Cigar Company provides an uncompromising environment for acquiring and enjoying premium cigars and spirits. Our state-of-the-art ventilation system, comfortable leather sofas and high definition televisions create an experience like no other in the Atlanta area."

As I settled in, lighting my cigar and savoring my first sips of Guinness, Eric told me a little about his affinity for Highland Cigars.  It's within walking distance to his home office, a convenient place to take a break.  Highland Cigar Company is comfortable and inviting.  It offers a variety of seating options including traditional seating at the bar.  There were groups of over-stuffed leather chairs for quiet conversation as well as computer-friendly tables.  As with most retail venues, they offer free wi-fi, so one can enjoy a cigar and a beverage and still be productive.  In fact, many of the patrons in the bar were working on their Laptops.  I view Starbucks as a suitable venue to work in the morning, whereas a cigar-bar is my preference for the afternoon.  I came to realize that Highland Cigar Company was Eric's home-away-from-home.  I can appreciate that.  After the background on Highland Cigar, we got down to business.

Eric began by saying that he was looking for guidance.  He wanted to understand how to fit into our team and to make a meaningful contribution.  He told me of a recent meeting with two other Members with similar skills.  He sees value collaborating with them as they form the nucleus of a Practice Group.  Our meeting was a great start as I am encouraged by proactive people, willing to contribute.  I find it easier to lead other leaders than to motivate followers.  It pleases me to see folks willing to take a leadership role in the organization.  We discussed the importance of networking within the Membership, to understand their capabilities.  We talked about opportunities for him to present at our monthly meetings; when we schedule time for one Member to discuss their business model in greater detail.  Eric liked that idea.  I suggested that he join our Marketing Working Group, which would benefit from his contribution.  That team is working to improve our brand positioning and value proposition.  It was at this point that I recognized an increase in Eric's energy level.

Eric has a strong background in project and program management. He is an accomplished professional with experience and connections that make him a valuable team member.  He walked me through a deck related to one of his rebranding projects. Fabulous material!  It was an outline of the project plan, complete with storyboards and deliverables.  After he presented that material, he showed me the finished product which included a revised website.  His work was impressive; highly professional and compelling.  His contribution to our Marketing Working Group will be significant.

My meeting with Eric was very productive!  I learned more about his capabilities to better position him within our team.  I provided him with guidance to enhance his effectiveness.  I found a new venue to conduct business while enjoying a favorite cigar.  It was time well spent.

We concluded our meeting just ahead of rush hour, so my return home was uneventful.  During my drive, I phoned another colleague to recap my meeting with Eric.  We dialed him into the Marketing Group and invited him to their next meeting.  I anticipate great things from that group.   These one-to-ones are an essential component of our team-building efforts.  It is an integral part of my plan.  I become energized by these meetings.

Thank you for visiting my blog.
I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox.  Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so; please leave a comment.


Jim Weber, President
NEW CENTURY DYNAMICS EXECUTIVE SEARCH
JimWeber@NewCenturyDynamics.com
Current Assignments
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
2. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
4. Area Supervisor - Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas - New
5. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
6. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed
7. Outplacement Assignment - Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Networking And Leadership

A 5:30 a.m. wake up call to make a breakfast meeting at 7:00 a.m. is not my idea of fun.  However, I will happily do so to support my team!  So, Thursday I was up and out of my home by 6:15 a.m. to make the 45-minute trek to our breakfast spot.  It was still dark, and much of the route was under construction.  More fun.  The plan was to meet with two colleagues from ITB Partners, the consulting side of our business. They wanted to discuss business development opportunities to help move our consulting group forward.  These two Members had met over the prior weeks to get to know each other and to learn how they could support one another.  During their meeting, they realized that they were not clear on certain aspects of our strategy.


I enjoy these meetings on many levels. It is always fun to break bread with my teammates and to catch up on their progress. It gives me a reality check as to my leadership skills and messaging. I leave with ideas as to how I can strengthen our bond and improve the effectiveness of our communications.

As I listened to their thoughts, two themes came to mind. The first is that these guys are still not clear on our mission and value proposition. Secondly, they're uncertain as to their responsibility to build relationships with other Members. It was clear to me that they needed some coaching.  This wasn't a surprise as we are still in the "storming phase" of our team-building efforts.

When it was my time to respond, I reminded them of our dual mission. The first part of the mission is obvious, to connect the Members with clients in need of their services.  The second part of our mission is to improve the effectiveness of the Members; freelancers, building independent consulting practices. These folks appreciate the value of our Membership program.  We are dedicated to helping each other generate more revenue and to become more effective freelancers.  I reinforced the point that the power of our concept is the Membership, whose value is to leverage our business development efforts. To make this concept work, active involvement is required of each Member.  This requires them to become knowledgeable about the others.  Each Member needs to know the capabilities of the other Members.  They must be confident that introductions will not reflect poorly on themselves.  This led us into a conversation about networking in general.

They pointed out that networking did not seem to be a natural strength of the Membership.  We discussed the paradox regarding the capabilities of new Members' networking savvy. Surprisingly people with senior-level corporate experience aren't necessarily adept networkers.  Networking is an attribute that does not come easily to some, training and practice is required.

We also discussed the question about how to best position their affiliation with the ITB Partners brand.  They were not clear how they should present the benefits of their association with ITB Partners to their clients.  This is still a work in process, but I gave them some ideas to consider.

Benefits ITB Partners provides to its members:


  • Sharing best practices
  • Promoting member clients
  • Public speaking opportunities
  • Promoting/sub-branding practice groups
  • The added value of team meetings
  • Making introductions to prospective clients

Becoming a freelancer is a process.   A good support group can make the process easier and shorten one's learning curve.  An organization like ITB Partners can help close new assignments quicker and ensure a continuous flow of work.  Our Model is designed to increase the freelancer's prospects for success.  However, we work in an environment where relationships are critical to success.  This requires our Members to continually develop and strengthen their connections.  This is the whole point of networking.  My role as a leader is to stay close to my team, to understand and respond to their needs.



Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you enjoyed my point of view and would like to receive regular posts directly to your email inbox. Toward this end, put your contact information on my mailing list.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read. Your input is important to me so; please leave a comment.


Current Assignments
1. CEO - Northeast-based Quick Casual Restaurant Company - New
2. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company - New
3. Operating Partners - Legacy Pizza Chain - New
4. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company - Complete
5. Area Supervisor, Legacy Pizza Chain Franchisee, S. Carolina - New
6. Senior Accounting Manager – Atlanta-based Manufacturer. Complete
7. Controller - Atlanta-based Consumer Products - Digital Company - Completed


Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal