Category Archives: LinkedIn

Leveraging Social Networking During Your Job Search, by Gil Yehuda and Dan Spira

This morning, Gil Yehuda and I co-delivered a keynote/workshop entitled “Leveraging Social Networking During Your Job Search” to 100+ senior executives via Keystone Partners.  The caliber of the job seekers in the room was outstanding — a reminder of the incredible talent available on the market right now. There were also a number of people at the session who are currently employed — or as I like to call it, the state of being  “between job searches.” All of the attendees seemed interested in improving their use of social media tools — LinkedIn, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter — to position themselves for career advancement.

I’d like to share a few of the key messages from the session, and also reflect a bit on the design process.

Much of this material is based on a set of evolving conceptual models (and online-social-gadget-tinkering-best-practices) that Gil had previously developed. We developed the material a bit further together for this particular workshop, and knowing Gil, he will  probably continue to develop this stuff further in the days, weeks and months ahead… (the best is always yet to come!)   



We took these concepts and strategies, translated them into some very physical terms (we’re talking body physical!), and gave practical next steps for action:


In terms of outcomes for the attendees, Gil and I followed the ol’ Peter Rogen “change what they THINK-FEEL-DO”  approach for our objectives, namely:  


Did we accomplish our objectives?   Yes, yes, YES, and then some.  Overall, the participants showed an impressive willingness and ability to learn and apply what was being presented to them — and to help each other out too.  Sure, some folks called me and Gil out for our sometimes over-the-top, sometimes subliminal forms of motivation (hey, it’s called “accelerated learning” for a reason).  But really, it was all them.  Really.


Working with Keystone Partners and Gil Yehuda was a real pleasure — both of those organizations (yes, Gil, you’re an institution) are world class. I hope to do more things with both of them in the near future. 

Finally, a personal win:  Leveraging the strategies, tools and techniques learned while working at rogenSi, combined with some of Ray Wlodkowski’s insight, towards subject matter that most large companies wouldn’t pay to teach their employees. (“Teach you how to position yourself for a better job??  Get back to work, Smith!“)    Helping such a great group of people in their job search — this is one of those areas where the reward is truly in the work itself.  

Onwards and upwards!


The Trusted Leader

Trusted Associations

Trusted Associations

 “Trust” continues to be as hot a meme as ever.  Today’s U.S. Elections are all about deciding who the American people trust more / distrust less, to run their government.  But leaving aside this two-year-long-longest-ever-presidential-election-campaign (because we are *done* with it now, ok?), let’s go back to the cheesy 80’s and early 90’s (you know you love it)… remember those awful  Trust Falls In their emphasis of blind trust, this team-building-metaphor-activity earned a lot of scorn and, thankfully, at this point it has mostly disappeared from the motivational speaker scene. Dial forward to 2000, the book Trusted Advisorby Maister, Green and Galford came out — this book continues to have relevance to people in all areas of sales, service and management, across all industries…  as long as it’s done well.  Trust is also, of course, a big issue in online social media.


As knowledge and skills become easier and cheaper to acquire, one of the only differentiators available to people, organizations, governments and brands is their Relationship Capital.  Relationships are built on trust.  
When I was an employer, I considered “trust” to be the single most important trait for people on my team to have. I considered myself  (and our company) very lucky to have people who could be really trusted…  trusted in two senses of the word: Trusted in terms of their ability (competence), and trusted in terms of their integrity
Now that I’ve been working/consulting for other people for a few years, I’ve come to appreciate the trust — or distrust — that leaders and managers can create with the people they’re responsible for.  Once again, two ideas of trust come to mind:  Competence and Integrity.  In fact, I’ve boiled it down to two questions a person can ask themselves, about any group of bosses, supervisors, or peers:

  • SCENARIO A: For the group under consideration, who would I rather be stuck with, in a lifeboat out in the ocean, 5 miles away from an island, in a storm?  (metaphorically speaking of course.. come on, this is me talking…)


  • SCENARIO B: For the same group, which people would I rather be stuck with, on an uninhabited island out there in the ocean, for months — possibly years?  (again, metaphor…  work with me, please.) 


This metaphor doesn’t work for everyone — some people take it too literally (“Well, I know Bob has decent carpentry skills, so he’d be a good person on the island…etc..”). However, I do find it useful, as it gives me a very quick, intuitive grasp on who I should trust more within an organization, and in what capacity. 

I’ve noticed a good number of managers who fit the model of yes-A-but-not-B: They are very competent, extremely competitive and valuable in a crisis, but long term they looking out only for themselves. This is not the kind of boss you want to keep for long. 

I’ve also seen the yes-A-and-B leader, who can lead by example and who engenders deep loyalty.  Consider yourself lucky if you get one of these.

And yes, I’ve seen the neither-A-nor-B boss. These are people are more common that we’d like to think. Perhaps they once knew how to row well, but they’ve decided they are above that kind of thing now. Once again, this is not a boss you want to stay under for a very long time. 
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the fourth possible combination in this model: the not-A-but-yes-B boss.  This is probably either a gap in my personal experience, or me not thinking about it hard enough.  As it happens, the first three combinations above seem to align very well with the first three of seven generalized (and highly unscientific) categories of bosses laid out by Christopher D’Alessandro in his 2005 book, Career Warfare.

For D’Alessandro, there are seven major boss types, the first three of which are:

The Little League Parent (yes-A-but-not-B): This describes the boss that treats his or her employees as if they are errant sons and daughters. Of course, parents are self-sacrificing, bosses are not.  This is the boss that will take credit for a subordinate’s achievements, but the moment something goes wrong, will quickly turn to blame (“she didn’t do what I told her to do..”).  Quick tip/diagnostic for this type:  When interviewing a potential client/boss, start a conversation about a missed opportunity within his or her’s area of responsibility and see how quickly, if at all, this person resorts to blaming a subordinate. 

The Mentor (yes-A-and-B): This is the kind of boss who works hard to ensure the success of their team, and who makes sure that everyone’s reputation rises in tandem. In his prime example of the Mentor type, D’Alessandro points to the fact that one of his best bosses ever was a former military officer, and he thinks this is no coincidence. I agree — some of the most impressive individuals that I’ve seen in organizations have a military background and a deeply rooted sense of “everyone watches everyone else’s back” while being self-sufficient contributors.  The mentor coaches and develops his or her people not because of some deluded narcissistic fantasy, but rather, simply because they believe that this is the best (and possibly, most pleasant) way for the team to achieve its goals.

Finally, The Wastrel (neither-A-nor-B).   As D’Alessandro says, sometimes you run into a boss you have to do everything for. If you do, tolerate his or her weakness and use the opportunity to build your own
reputation by taking on the assignments he or she can’t or won’t tackle.  Eventually, move on.

There are many more types of bosses than these three, and D’Alessandro’s view of the working world is particularly combative — even the one positive boss type he gives is describe in military terms. However, if you want a quick “trust diagnostic,”  Blinkstyle, that taps into your subconscious sensors, this lifeboat/island metaphor might just do the trick.  Trust me.  Or better yet, try it and let me know how it works for you.

My One and Only Post re: the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election


  • Campaign 2008: Dance Showdown
  • Wassup: 1999 vs 2008
  • Humpty Dumpty: Attack Ad


    Well, it’s been  “an historic election” and hey, just think,  in just 6 more days, we will be only 2 years away until the campaigning starts for the next U.S. Presidential election!


    Until then… we dance!

    (thx Ian R for the link)



    Remember this classic ad/meme from the 1999 Superbowl?

    Well, the original crew is back, eight years later, somewhat worse for the wear…



    Saving the best for last: The audio for this one was done by Political Attack Ad Voice-over Artist (now there’s a job), Scott Sanders:

    (complete interview on NPR is here…  thx Ian S for the heads up)


    Brian Buckley’s Job Evaluation Formula

    Brian Buckley, the Vice President of B2B Sales at Barnes& has a great formula he uses to explain how an employee evaluates their job — whether they are coming on board, staying, or deciding to leave.   With his permission (thank you Brian), here it is:

    F + E + W = P

    Future + Environment + Work  = Pay


    Anyone who has been a boss will come across some variation on this kind of formula, either through word of mouth, journal articles or pure contemplation.  What’s nice about Buckley’s version is its succinctness and simplicity — and it accurately represents the calculus that people make when looking at their job. The formula literally sums up how a person evaluates their job, with the nuance of placing the “Pay” component as an algebraic sum that is traded-off with the other variables, the key elements of a job.

    Let’s go through the four elements:

    FUTURE :  This is the big-picture element, where an employee reflects on whether a given organization is a place where they want to invest themselves into. Questions include:

  • What is the future of this company / industry / sector / role?  Does it “have legs?”  WIll it survive?  What will its growth pattern look like?
  • What is MY future with this company/ industry / sector / role?  Does it offer me a growth opportunity? Is this a good profession for me, long term?

    ENVIRONMENT:  The Environment element is a big one.  This includes a number of sub-categories:

  • What is your company’s internal physical workplace environment like?  Also, where is the workplace located? Are you working in Seattle? SOHO?  Compton? Basra? Whether the concern is about commute or safety, location is obviously important to a lot of people. Job-related travel falls into this sub-category too: it can viewed as a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the person and circumstances.
  • Who is your boss?  This is probably the biggest factor of all. The wrong boss can cause your career to go down the tubes. The wrong boss will make your life miserable. This is a topic that we’ll revisit in future posts, but for starters, let me relay to you this simple advice: Avoid Psychopaths and Narcissists at all costs.
  • Who are your co-workers? Do you enjoy them? What is the organizational culture like?  Brian feels that since most people spend more time with co-workers than their own families, you need to enjoy being around each other.  “If the organizational culture is one where backstabbing is the norm and you do not have that type of personality, you need to find a more conducive environment, one that better matches who you are.”  Try to do some research with current and former employees.  Using LinkedIn is one way to find these individuals.  Also, while you are waiting in the reception area or walking through a potential employer’s offices observe how employees are interacting with each other and check people’s body language.  These cues can tell you a lot about the organization’s environment.
  • One more I’d add:  Who are your customers?  One of the reasons I love my current job is because of the quality of my firm’s clients, both as organizations and as individuals — and what they are trying to do — i.e., trying to improve their business results by investing in their people. This is a good segue to the next element of the formula…

    WORK:  Ah, the work itself.  This is where you ask yourself: What do I do every day? Do I enjoy it?  Does it feel purposeful?  Is this rote work or am I being challenged? Is my function too narrow in scope? Can I bring up new ideas? Is every new idea crushed? A lot of people hate their jobs and hate the work they do… but they do it for 40 years!

    Finally, on the flipside of the equation, PAY:   There is an interesting dynamic when it comes to pay. Sometimes the pay can become less important than the job. On the other hand, people are willing to put up with a lot of crap for money. As an independent  e-commerce consultant, I’ve dealt with some pretty abusive folks over the years — I quickly learned that the best psychological armor was to charge a very, very large fee whenever I met someone who seemed like a Big Jerk (and they were always willing to pay — I guess they became conditioned over time because others have been making this same calculus) .  Of course, I ultimately ended up switching over to a better environment anyway.  Brian Buckley describes how AMEX went to virtual offices at one point, which was a boon to lots of moms in the sales force who wanted to be near their kids.  AMEX was able to retain these individuals despite lower pay.


    The message is clear:  Companies can save money by working on all the variables on the left side of the equation.  Want a quick fix?  Try addressing those variable by instituting a solid employee onboarding process.  No, handing an new hire a pile of papers, a Starbucks gift card and a making them sit through a bunch of meetings and presentations for 2-3 days is NOT an onboarding process.  That’s called “orientation,” and even then, just barely.   Onboarding does not need to be complicated, or rather, it can be started with a few simple steps.  Once again, I’ll have to save this topic for another time.  Let’s wrap up this analysis of the Buckley Formula. 

    One of things that I like about this formula is that it reconciles pretty well with the classic Motivator-Hygiene theory of  Frederick Herzberg, a management theory that is predictive of long term employee retention (and “long term” is a relative term, depending on the intensity of the job).  What the Buckley Formula says to me is:  “Yes, according to  Motivator-Hygiene theory, the size of the paycheck is not a motivator for in the long run. Yet the common sense, short term reality is that an employee’s pay really does form a major role in their decision to stick with a company… in balance with the other, true motivational factors.”   Being a veteran of the war-for-talent-dot-com-insanity, running a company or career on Motivator-Hygiene theory alone always seemed a bit dubious to me.  There’s the long term, and then there’s the short term… not to mention the medium term.

    A challenge to employers is to find ways to improve on the F.E.W. factors — Future, Environment and Work — so that they don’t have to rely just on Pay to keep their people motivated.  I’ve seen a number of executives who believe all they have to do is bluff about those factors and make a good “sales pitch” to potential hires. Of course, the truth always emerges, and what then happens is that their organizations suffer from high turnover rates and a high sense of employee entitlement. They waste money (often their investors’ money), time and potential because they don’t look at ways to make a sustained improvement of small investments that have a big payoff. 

    But let’s not dump all the responsibility on the employers. All of us (well, most of us) are employees, sometime, somewhere. So along with the challenge to employers in the previous paragraph, I’ll issue the following challenge to employees as well: Which of the equation’s variables can you, the employee, control or contribute to yourself?

    Thanks again to Brian Buckley for sharing this lovely little equation.

    Searching LinkedIn for LinkedIn Employees : Ouroboros

    Perhaps one of the unintended outcomes of the LinkedIn LION phenomenon is something of an Ouroboros effect.  Try searching for people who work at LinkedIn, using their Advanced Search tool:

    Your search results will contain all kinds of LIONs — open networkers, recruiters, etc. — who have the term “LinkedIn” as part of their name/title information.  Somewhere in the thicket of LIONs there may be a legitimate LinkedIn employee or two, but otherwise, it’s a jungle out there.


    %d bloggers like this: