The pandemic is relentlessly flipping our work and personal lives inside out. We miss the in-person meetings that make connecting so easy. People want to hear from you. Next time you want to reach out to a coworker, colleague, or anyone else, anywhere in the world, try a surprise.
In a recent coaching session, Maura mentioned that her dedication to virtual networking is starting to pay off. This time last year she had a dozen connections. She’s tripled that number by targeting potential mentors within her company, experts in a field she’s exploring, and former colleagues. Each time she reaches out and connects with someone around the country, she feels a boost in confidence. Thinking ahead to the end of the year, she planned to reach out and personally thank everyone for their insights, recommendations, and career advice. I asked her, "why wait? What can you do or share with someone that they’d enjoy or appreciate? Comment on their blog or social media post. Share an article or blog you read, a video you watched, or a podcast you tuned into." Maura paused, and, not an instant later, she had a company executive in mind and knew exactly which article she’d share with him that afternoon.
When you discover something worth sharing, pass it on. Create a text or email that becomes a welcome surprise. Over time, every outreach renews your connection, keeps the lines of communication wide open, and contributes to creating a strong personal bond that can last for decades.
Who will you surprise today?
By Veronika Tyukova
Salary negotiation is a sensitive subject. In Russia, where I am from, it was considered bad manners to brag about yourself. In the US it’s called “selling yourself,” and you have to learn how to be good at it. You might be great at physics or chemistry, but if you don’t know how to “sell yourself,” you may not get the jobs you want or the salary you deserve.
So, how best to approach salary negotiation?
To find out, I attended “Salary Negotiation 101,” a webinar led by Niya Dragova from Candor, a human resource-negotiation company. Niya started with a test-case about a product manager who made $283K at his job and decided to move to another company that offered him $390K. He was happy to accept their offer, but Candor helped him to negotiate to a salary of $521K. This was a very impressive story. Niya had my attention.
What I Learned
Start with “WHY.” WHY are you applying for this job? WHY this company? Then think about how you can contribute and how you can take this company to the next level. Once you have answers to these questions, structure your conversation with people involved in the hiring process about value you are bringing and not about “what’s in it for me.” When all hiring managers see how you can help their company and want you to be part of their team, you are in a position to negotiate.
Know the basics. It is not just a salary; it is a compensation package. It may include equity, benefits like healthcare, vacation, signing bonus, relocation, annual bonus, free snacks, and other perks. For example, an annual bonus might be 10%-25% of your base salary, but it is not guaranteed. If an annual bonus is part of your package you may want to ask:
Equity is an important component of a compensation package. Shares of public companies, like Google and Facebook, are as good as cash. Shares of growth stage companies, like AirBnB, are worth 50%-150% of quoted value. With a startup company you are taking a risk with equity; you don’t know where the company is going to be five years from now, but you have more influence and negation power.
You may get RSUs (Restrictive Stock Unit) or ISOs (Incentive Stock Options). With RSUs, a company promises to give you shares when they go public or sell the company. RSUs are common with big public tech companies. Incentive stock options are more common with startups.
It is also important to understand vesting schedule-the time when you can get all or part of your shares. In many cases you will get a certain percentage (ex, 20%) after the first year and then get a smaller percentage (ex 2%) each month for the remaining vesting period.
If you are offered options here are some good questions to ask:
What you are paid has nothing to do with your cost of living. Sometimes people are happy with the first offer they receive (like our test case subject above) because it covers their costs or is more than what they used to make. Think what you could be doing with the extra money: invest in education, enjoy a hobby, travel, donate to a favorite charity, fund a non-profit organization, start your own company, etc.
At the end of the webinar, Niya shared her “Four Golden Rules of Salary Negotiation”:
You can potentially increase your compensation package by 50% just by communicating the value you are bringing and by asking the right questions. I wish I attended this webinar ages ago, before I started my first job. but, as the saying goes, it’s better late than never!
Your time. Reclaim it.
Brian is a marketing VP who, last week, reclaimed 4.5 daytime work hours by taking this calendar challenge.
Stretch your imagination and envision a blank calendar for the next two weeks. Consider your professional objectives and what your team is responsible to deliver. Then, challenge every proposed virtual/video, phone/audio or in-person meeting before it is added to the calendar. Ask yourself:
Brian now challenges every meeting against his newfound freedom: the stretches of uninterrupted time he is using to do the creative work he loves when he’s at his best – 10 AM – instead of 10 PM. He began by replacing the weekly, hour-long one-on-one video check-ins with 5 direct reports with an optional 15-minute check-in by phone. Everyone scheduled a call, got what they needed, and thanked Brian for saving their time.
What changes when you challenge every meeting before it hits your calendar? Are you ready to find out?
Want to know what your time is actually worth? Check out this post from Sarin A. Barsoumian:
What is your Time Worth?
You have heard the saying “time is money.” It is popular because it is true.
It is extremely useful to know how to value your own time. Use this equation to determine your hourly rate:
Salary / 52 / # of hours you work per week
Knowing how much money each hour is worth, will help you make smarter decisions about many subjects, including:
Deceptively simple, listening – really listening – is seldom easy. It is a skill that demands curiosity, consistency, and self-control.
Try this: turn a ring, watch, or bracelet into a powerful talisman that will instantly focus your attention and bring you a bit of good luck without anyone else noticing.
In Italy, one client’s antique ring (a treasured gift from her grandmother) is the trusted talisman she counts on in high stakes, high stress situations. It’s a secret reminder to tune-in and really listen as she consistently does these 6 things:
Pick your talisman. At the start of your next conversation, focus in by secretly running your thumb or finger across your bracelet, ring or watch. Keep it there while you pay close attention and convey the two messages everyone wants to hear: I see you. I hear you.
My friend and colleague Deb Kennedy, from Strategic Directions Coaching has written this interesting and helpful blog on how to move through procrastination and fear to find success!
Moving Beyond Procrastination – The Shift from Desire to Discipline
By: Deb Kennedy - Executive Coach, MBA/ ACC, CPC
How many times have you set out to accomplish something – a work assignment, a new project, skill, entrepreneurial venture, hobby or healthy habit – only to stop short before bringing your efforts through to completion? You’ve done your research, your enthusiasm is high and you have the necessary skills. And yet, days and weeks and sometimes months pass and you have made no progress toward your goal.
All of us deal with procrastination at times, but if you begin to notice that it is a regular ‘go-to’ for you, you may want to give it some attention.
Procrastination is a coping mechanism. It sometimes alleviates the stress of having to take on something we are unsure how to handle. Other times, we may procrastinate to protect ourselves from criticism. By avoiding taking a next step on a project, we don’t put our work in a position for comment or critique.
Research has shown that procrastination may be closely linked to perfectionism. The desire to complete an effort perfectly every time may have the effect of slowing our efforts and limiting our accomplishments. Procrastination also aligns with ‘people pleasing’ and the fear that others won’t understand or encourage our efforts. Below are some thoughts for your consideration:
“Networking isn’t about connecting people; it’s about connecting people with ideas and people with opportunities."
– Michelle Jennae
In working through a pandemic, every day teaches us a different lesson. One of the most valuable lessons is also the simplest – our network is our professional lifeline.
It is impossible to ignore that your organization is changing, hour by hour. Leaders everywhere are operating in a new and shifting reality without a playbook. They are doing their best to keep the business running while responding to news reports and government guidelines, sustaining what seems to work, setting new priorities, rewriting the rules, and implementing a slew of changes. Like it or not, now is the time to do more than just produce great work. It’s the time to broaden your impact and your network.
In today’s climate, remember to be realistic and respect others’ time. It’s likely that your connections, both new and seasoned, are concerned about their future and under pandemic-induced stress. They are juggling work, home, and family responsibilities. Because none of us can control what others believe, think, say, or do, you should be curious and stay optimistic.
Start with people you know. Invite a close work colleague to join you for a virtual coffee break and offer the choice of a phone call instead of a video call for a change of pace. Show up curious and ready to listen when you ask how they’re doing. Inquire about the changes they see in their department and across the organization. What rumors are circulating? Who is influencing decisions? What opportunities are popping up? Offer your help and if you want an introduction to someone or something else, ask for it. Use what you discover to reset your priorities and stretch your imagination. Explore the different ways you can contribute your skills to support the change initiatives and make an impact alone or in collaboration with your colleagues.
Next, move on to a new connection. Calendars don’t lie. If you are spending more time with your direct reports than with your colleagues, your boss, your boss’ boss, or other influencers in the organization, switch things up. Consider everyone who has participated in a video or conference call to be a potential member of your network, including the CEO, other executives, and your colleagues in different places and positions throughout the organization.
It’s important to stay true to your personality when you reach out to people via email, whether you identify as an extrovert, ambivert, or introvert. If you have an approach that works, use it. If not, adapt this simple 4-step plan and connect with anyone.
Now it’s time to target someone and create your email. Keep your emails short and specific. When you get a positive response, consider it a win. When you don’t, move on without taking it personally. Need more? Here is a sample email:
Subject Line: Here to Help! [Grabs attention & sparks curiosity]
Hi Adam, these days, you are leading the Reopen GlobalX/Austin Task Force. [this simple acknowledgement singles him out and gets his attention]
Forbes published this article last week (hyperlinked) on navigating a safe reentry to work. Check out the section on lab safety. [Adds value]
Before heading up our channel marketing team, I was a facilities lead and oversaw the redesign and installation of 6 floors of offices and labs in a space similar to ours. I am curious to hear about the challenges you are facing and, once I understand them, I’ll know how I can help you succeed. [Specific ask]
Any chance you can free up time for a brief phone or video call? What’s better, tomorrow or Monday? Morning or afternoon? [This simple ask is assertive and offers Adam flexibility which makes his saying yes easy]
Thank you. I am really looking forward to talking with you.
Name and contact info [Make it easy for him to call you or forward your request.]
You network is your lifeline. Give to get by being the colleague you want other people to be. Be approachable and as generous as possible with your time and expertise. Answer emails and whenever possible, comment on blogs and social media posts and share interesting articles and videos. When someone reaches out, say yes to an informational interview, make an introduction, and forward a resume without expecting anything in return. When the tables turn, and they will, the people in your network will be there to support you and happy to help.
Well hidden behind a mask of mixed emotions often lies a particularly difficult emotion that can leave us reeling and slipping into one of those can’t-catch-your-breath, ugly crying jags.
Pandemic life is our new reality and a daily lesson in navigating the
5 Stages of Grief and Loss, introduced by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her famous 1969 book, On Death and Dying.
Do these look familiar?
What we mourn is deeply personal. Moving through the stages of grief and loss is never a straight-line journey; it’s unique and unpredictable. Most days, we find ourselves simultaneously mourning myriad losses and experiencing a wave of distinct emotions.
Ignoring emotions is futile and counterproductive. Try Melissa O’Brien’s six mindful steps to tune-in and discover a healthy way to work with your emotions.
Tuning-in to emotions takes practice. Throughout the day, pause and ask yourself, what am I feeling right now? Work through the 6 steps and find a response that works for you.
The future is an enormous question mark. Take it a day at a time and do your best. In time, your future self will smile and say thank you.
The future belongs to the rebel and there’s a rebel in each of us. Author Francesca Gino identifies these 5 rebel traits. How many can you claim? How many are you up for developing?
Taking this quiz answers the question: what kind of rebel am I?
Want to know more? Check out this summary of Rebel Talent.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what work makes you come alive and go do it.”
A person’s name is music to their ears. Correctly pronounce someone’s name when you greet them and you instantly make a connection that’s emotionally and physically empowering. Because it’s an audio, visual, and kinesthetic experience you quickly convey a sense of psychological belonging and inclusion. *
Belonging is one of the 4 pillars of a meaningful life presented by Emily Esfahani Smith in The Power of Meaning – The True Route to Happiness. (The other pillars are purpose, transcendence, and storytelling.) Pronouncing someone’s name correctly is a mark of respect.
On the flip side, mispronouncing someone’s name instantly short circuits the connection. Studies of K – 12 classrooms in 2012 concluded that mispronouncing the names of students constituted a racial microaggression by creating shame and disassociation from their culture. How many students witness these infractions grade after grade and learn that correctly pronouncing someone’s name isn’t important and unintentionally carry that belief into the workplace?
Jennifer Gonzalez identifies 3 kinds of people:
If you are a calibrator, bravo. Continue leading by example.
If you aren’t a calibrator, become one with Ruchika Tulshyan as your guide. Vow not to be arrogant, flippant, or lazy and get to work using the ideas she outlines in her article If You Don’t Know How to Say Someone’s Name, Just Ask:
When people mispronounce your name, try this:
At the Berklee College of Music in Boston, international students represent close to 28% of the student population. At the many commencements I’ve attended, I am always impressed by the care presenters take to correctly pronounce the name of every single graduate, faculty member, and guest.
Inclusion starts with us. Work to get names right and enjoy turning personal interactions into opportunities to make the genuine connections we all enjoy.
*John M. Yeager, Ed.D, MAPP
Enjoy this guest blog from friend and client, Amanda Reilly!
What Can We Learn from Rebel Leaders?
By Amanda F. Reilly, MS, MBA
Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino’s Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life is an inspiring read for change agents in any industry. One significant paradox of professional life today is the contradictory status of the rebel – the employee who challenges the status quo. Today, most managers are tasked with shaking things up and asking their employees to do the same. This maxim has become part of workplace nomenclature, but “shaking things up” means different things to different people. How can we be different and creative yet still uphold the corporate values of our organizations? How can we implement improvements and make change stick? Many of us struggle to find the answers to these questions.
Although Gino started her research project as a way to understand the psychology of rule breaking in the workplace, it morphed into something more – a compendium of short stories and nuggets of wisdom about people who rebelled against norms, reframed problems, and crafted innovative solutions. As she points out, we often hold on to what we know, replicating and applying similar approaches for every problem. Gino explains that we “adhere to social norms – the unwritten rules about how to behave in a particular culture, society, or social group, ranging from a friendship to a work team to a nation” (Gino, p. 8). But that approach does not move one forward in business or in life. Instead, having the courage to break free from the confines of this thinking – and to be a bit rebellious – can help push us toward innovative solutions. As Gino remarks, “Rule breaking does not have to get us into trouble, if done correctly and in the right doses – in fact, it can help us get ahead” (p. xvi).
Rebels can literally be found everywhere. As an example, Gino uses Napoleon Bonaparte’s unconventional and empathetic leadership style, which engaged and motivated his troops to win battles. Captain Chesley Sullenberger – the hero pilot better known as “Sully” – had a commitment to lifelong learning that led him to fight the complacency of routine and to reframe every flight as an opportunity to learn “some new knowledge or insight he had not considered before” (p. 85). Sully also took great care to understand how mistakes happened; he “learned from cases where human judgment failed under pressure” and viewed “expertise . . . as a continuous process” (p. 89). And Chef Massimo Bottura, owner and chef of Osteria Francescana, who was recently featured on the 60 Minutes segment “The Pavarotti of Pasta” is a “humble rebel” in the food industry. Bottura, who values learning and experience over sticking to tradition, reflects that “when you think you know everything, you’ve stopped growing. . . . [K]eep your eyes open and ask questions. You should always keep the door open to the unexpected” (p. 222).
According to Gino’s research, you can easily practice cultivating the five core elements that are essential in a rebel leader, simply by adjusting your mind-set:
We all have the ability to enact change and be a positive, productive rebel. Learning from others who have led from the trenches, we can examine our own path to see how small wins slowly push the needle toward innovation, creative enrichment, and fulfillment in both our professional and personal lives.
Gino, Francesca. (2018). Rebel Talent: Why it pays to break the rules at work and in life. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
CBS. Chef Massimo Bottura: The Pavarotti of Pasta [Video file). (2018, December 30). Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chef-massimo-bottura-the-pavarotti-of-pasta-60-minutes-interview/