Archive for February, 2011

Who you need and why you need them

You need someone who…

  • has unbelievable work ethic because the best employees are the ones with passion.
  • has smart business sense because you don’t have time to micro manage.
  • has a “can do” attitude and will help you keep moral high.
  • has a professional attitude because they represent your company.
  • has the skill to get things done because you don’t care how it happens;  it just needs to happen.
  • has a habit of over delivering because your company isn’t average.
  • has the ability to work independently because you are not a babysitter.
  • Lucky for you… this is me.

    You need a self starter…

    I’m a self starter. My mind is constantly thinking up new projects. This doesn’t just include work ideas but personal pet projects too,  i.e. this blog. Something you should know about me, I workout almost every morning at 4:30 AM. I do this so I can be home when my daughter gets up and husband leaves for work. I spend at least an hour on an elliptical with nothing to do but listen to my iPod shuffle and think. Some of my greatest ideas have come from my time on the elliptical. A new employee started a couple weeks ago. In the past, I have trained all new employees who join my group except this time my bandwidth (my time) was extremely limited so I had others helping out. It wasn’t going as I had hoped, but then I had a thought. I was going to do a one day bootcamp and teach this person everything I could no matter how many hours of overtime it would take me to finish my own job. It had to be done and I was going to suck it up and do it. I did and today the new employee and the company are better for it. My job will never just be a job because I’m not that kind of person. It’s always going to be something I feel passionate about and take personally and seriously. The question to be asking yourself is, “Is that the kind of person I want?”.

    The five hour interview in 5 minutes flat

    Start Here => Sarah

    If you can’t read 3 short pages in 5 minutes, keep searching .

    So you say you are a fast learner

    It seems like every company I’ve ever worked for has a “system”.   At my first 2 real jobs out of college, the “systems” were home grown.  Everyone had to learn how to use them after they were hired.  The next job I took used a “system” that I call affectionately “Salesforce.com”. In the interview, the hiring manager stressed his concern about being able to use learn this program.  I tried to give examples of how I was a fast learner.  But, isn’t that something you have to see for yourself in order to believe?  In a couple days after starting, I had learned the basics.  Most of the functions I perform now…well, I’ve taught myself the in’s and out’s.  The other day someone called me an expert and said I should do consulting.  Oh no, here I go thinking again.  Another example of having no prior experience, but getting up to warp speed fast, is mass email programs and HTML.  I picked that up too…on my own.  Now, people ask me for help.  Excel is another program that I’ve actually taken classes to learn more about.  But, I’ve learned more tricks by teaching myself when problem solving than I ever learned from others.  I seek out the answers I need to get the job done. I don’t see this as extra work. It’s part of the job; don’t you agree?

    back to “The Job”

    Taught myself something new today

    Today I was asked to replicate a form in Microsoft Word using a function I didn’t even know existed. In fact, I was so sure this form was not a Word doc that I asked the person requesting it to forward me the form so I could tell them it wasn’t. Boy, was I surprised when it was a Word doc. My next thought was “awesome challenge”. I was going to figure this out. And, I did. I was so proud of myself. It’s a feeling I love. I sent an email to the requestor with an example of what he wanted. The bottom line was that I used all the resources I could think of to learn this new function and I did what was needed to be done to figure it out. That’s just one example of me figuring out the impossible (of course, isn’t the “possible” or “impossible” just a mindset?). What really gets my blood flowing is handing someone else a solution to their problem. It’s almost as good as finding the solution to one of mine.

    Relationships – the why and how

    A past boss of mine used to say “people buy from people”.  I believe this applies to all successful relationships, not just buying and selling. One of my strongest skills is building relationships with customers, co-workers, vendors, anyone with whom I come into contact.  This is where I find a large part of job satisfaction.  I love the feeling that I’m their “girl” or that I can call in a favor, if needed.  As a Produce Broker some customers would tell me the only reason they bought from me was because they liked and trusted me.  I have proven many times over that I can build trust not only in person with but over the phone.  The way I build good relationships is by being honest, communicating clearly, over delivering, being responsive and making that person feel like they are the only one I’m supporting.

    The Power of Brainstorming and Conversation

    The power of brainstorming.  Today, I was talking with one of the many people I support and after our call he said, “thanks, the last 30 minutes were priceless”.  You might ask what we talked about. I walked him through a couple  ”how to” type system questions and then I asked him what I could do to help him get more leads.  We brainstormed together and both ended the call with a “to do” list.  A list that might never have come about had I not invested the time to see what else can I do. I don’t just do what you tell me.  I think “what else?”.

    Keeping a Sense of Humor

    Keeping a sense of humor.  I have personality and I can’t hide it.  I believe that showing a little humanity builds relationships.  See my entry on relationships.  I enjoy rallying the troops to make a change.  A while back someone in marketing decided we didn’t need to offer balls as possible giveaways to customers and prospects. So, I took a poll to bring back balls as an option for these giveways.  Seriously, what company who’s end user is close to 90% men doesn’t have balls.

    Benefits Beyond Salary

    Working environments are complex.  One change can shift the whole dynamic.  I need a boss who recognizes this and appreciates the whole picture, not just the paycheck.  What else, that if changed, could send a message of appreciation.   I do like feedback but words only go so far.  After I’m told for the millionth time I’m wonderful I want to see an action that says “yes, you are everything we ever wanted and we want you to know that we don’t want to live without you”.  I’m not shy.  I’ll tell you want I want or what you could do for me to show your appreciation when a salary increase isn’t an option.  Like, offering a move to the cube next to the window that’s been empty for the last 5 months.

    Its already been done

    A wise person once remarked that “once one human being does a thing, a proof has been created that shows that another human being can successfully do that same thing”. The existance of these proofs are a basis of improving your own and your company’s productivity.

    If you are still questioning the viability of this radical approach to job search, you might try a Google search for “Susan Hires a Boss” or this.

    Frankly, this has very little to do with your objective of finding a superstar business manager.

    So, get back to it.

    Sarah F. Miller