Monday, January 26, 2009

Are you prepared?

I just finished reading that yet another company was preparing to lay off several thousand workers. And, while this news is depressing, it is hardly surprising. Layoffs are coming fast and furious in a variety of industries. At times, no one seems safe. At the same time, I have clients calling and asking about changing jobs and finding something that will give them more purpose.

It's enough to make your head spin. People losing jobs by the thousands. People who have jobs looking for more meaningful work. It leads back to a simple question:

Are you prepared to pursue the life and the job that you really want?

For that matter, have you given any thought to the life and job that you really want?

Life has a way of sneaking up on us. We move from day to day, week to week, and year to year propelled down the river of life; not really knowing where the river is headed, but too busy to stop and look at a map and plan our destination. We go to work each morning in a job we don't enjoy, but haven't thought about what job we really do enjoy. We follow a familiar pattern in our life that takes us to the same places, meeting the same people, and doing the same things again and again.

The people who are losing their jobs MAY just be the lucky ones. For once in their life they don't have a job to go to. They don't have a routine to follow, and don't have the safety net of a weekly paycheck. Perhaps this is the time for them to take a step back, look at the life they have created, and decide to change it.

It's sad that it takes something as dramatic as a layoff to make this happen. Because, most of these people will not be prepared for the new opportunities that COULD be in front of them.

Are you prepared? Have you thought about the life and job that you really want? If you haven't, when will you? Will you wait until it's forced on you through a job loss, or will you take the initiative to think about the life you really want?

It's something to think about BEFORE you get that call or note from your boss.

Until next time....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems LLC

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why should we invest in people development?

As I write this entry, the economy is in bad shape; the DJIA is below 8500, banks are failing, auto companies are looking for bailouts, foreclosures are climbing, layoffs are pending and retail sales slumped through the past Christmas Season.

So why would anyone tell you that NOW is the time to invest in yourself and your company with training and development?

Here are a couple of good reasons to invest in development now:

1. When the economy rebounds (and it will), will your staff be ready to handle your customer requests quickly and efficiently?

When your existing customers return, and new ones begin to call, I wouldn't expect them to demonstrate a lot of patience while your staff figures out how to handle their new orders. If you don't handle them quickly and efficiently, your customers will likely look elsewhere.

2. Think back to before the bust... Did you invest money in training and development then?

Probably not. If you are like a lot of companies you were “too busy” to invest in your people. There was “no time for training”, hence your employees never really got the chance to develop their skills. Certainly that is not the case now. In fact, now is the time when you CAN invest time in training and IMPROVE your customer's experience.

3. The problem with good employees is that they ALWAYS have options.

Your very best people are the ones who have skills that are transferrable to your competitors. And, if you don’t demonstrate that you are willing to invest in your employees, they are the ones who will be the very first to leave and the hardest to replace.

Investing in your employees is like investing in your future. When you make the investment, you can later reap the reward. And if there is no investment in your future, then you really don’t have a future.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic as well. Are you looking for ways to invest in your employees and your future? If not, what is holding you back? And how will that change in the future?

Till next time….

Dave Meyer

Monday, January 5, 2009

Harnessing the Power of Your Team

In my last entry, I made note of the fact that there is much to be gained by harnessing the power and intelligence of those around you. But the question remains, "Why would others allow me such free access to their gifts?"

One challenge that we all face in life is that we believe that others think (or should think) the way we do. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. We all have different perspectives, different needs, and different desires. And in those differences lies the answer on how to access the gifts of those around you.

As the leader in your organization, you are putting yourself on the line, taking risks that others have not. It's you who has agreed to complete the project by Friday. It's you who has agreed to increase production by 15%. And it's you who has agreed to take responsibility for creating that brand new program.

While you think nothing about agreeing to these challenges, others would find the prospects terrifying. And, while you may not willingly give away your talent and expertise, others think nothing of it.

According to studies, a full 80% of the American workforce do NOT want to be "the boss". The concept of being in charge is more than they have bargained for. These 80% are, however, great team players, sacrificing themselves or their talents for the good of the team. They are chock full of good ideas that they are more than willing to share with you, if you will agree to be in charge and still give them credit for their work.

That's why building a team of strong, intelligent people is not nearly as challeging as you might be inclined to think. And, why building that strong team will not reduce your effectiveness as a leader, but rather enhance it.

Use your strengths to your advantage and allow your team members to use their strengths as well. Doing so will create a stronger organization and more upside to your career.

Till next time.....

Dave Meyer