The More You Give The More You Get – A Life Truth

Back in December 2014 I received one of the best gifts I could have ever imagined from my team.  They gave me a gift card to KIVA.  If you are not familiar with Kiva, it is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.  Kiva does this by leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of micro-finance institutions, allowing individuals to lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Since Kiva was founded in 2005 here are some statistics that give you a sense of their scale:

  • 1,255,618 Kiva lenders
  • $666,141,075 in loans
  • 98.79% repayment rate
  • 100% of every dollar is loaned out
  • 289 Field Partners
  • 0% is charged in interest to the Field Partners (loan administer)
  • 450 volunteers around the world
  • 85 different countries

Kiva in essence  envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.  They do this by providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need which helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.

This is a good example of where giving has multiple benefits,  and where it helps to create sustainability and growth for individuals, economies and societies.

So this evening, I selected four different loan programs to allocate the resources I received.  Each of these individuals and groups are quite courageous in their endeavors.  While there are many strategies and approaches, I focused my loans:

1) on growing a business – as that is a way to create long term sustainability

2) on organizations that provide entrepreneurial support to the borrowers – as that is key to business growth

3) on vulnerable groups in vulnerable areas – the definition of underserved by any measure and

4) on Field Partner organizations that help educate the borrowers on finances and savings.

I am looking forward to following the progress, individual efforts and the program overall.  This was by far one of the most thoughtful, beautiful and best gifts I could have ever received.  Helping others in a way that is empowering and encouraging of so many skills is gratifying.  While I loaned a gift this evening to four groups of individuals, I received something far greater in return.  The more I gave this evening the more fulfilled and excited I became.  My team and I are helping others fulfill their dreams for their families, their communities and themselves.  And with a 98.79% repayment rate, the cycle will start all over again.  How wonderful is that!

So to my team – Thank you for your generosity and creativeness in finding such a wonderful program.  I pray these individuals receive all of life’s blessings…good health, good fortune and the ability to create the world they imagine full of endless possibilities.

People Take Care of People…Period.

Thanks to Social Media, we are seeing just how communal and supportive people are to one another.  Our most basic needs to be socially and emotionally connected are being met in a broad and sweeping way.  It is an amazing new frontier we are experiencing and the business world is catching on in droves.  You have heard the saying “our employees are our most important resource”, yet not as many employees felt that way.  Thankfully, the tides are starting to change…ahh….how good it is and what a glorious change it will be when fully realized.

People ARE the most important resource, people ARE the most important asset, and people ARE the most important gift you will ever get in life.  They are the like water, and air to us…we cannot live without their connection.  Why…because people take care of people….period.

As a leader of an organization, rethink the paradigm.  Your employees should be first in the care chain.  When you take care of your employees first, they will see your customer as their customer and take care of them accordingly.  People will do more when they are in love and they will be naturally inspired to make a difference with others.  When your employees take care of the customers, they will show their love, care and support in return and take care of your business and your shareholders/owners.

Rethink the Paradigm:  Employees then Customers then Shareholders.  Your organizations may be successful but you won’t know just how much you are leaving on the table until you realize this paradigm.

As the leader of You, take care of yourself first.  Fully love yourself first and then you may love and help others.  When you love yourself fully you expect more, learn and grow more, and give and care more.  Caring and giving more are the best things you can do for yourself, others and your company.  Finding out what gifts you are meant to leave, what messages you are meant to share, and what lessons you are meant to teach are the greatest things you can do for others and your company.  When you take care of yourself and then others, it becomes a natural extension to take care of the world including its resources and peace.  Only the most self-actualized and enriched people live this way and aspire for a world of peace and possibilities.

Rethink the Paradigm.  You then Others then the World.  Are you awesome already…taking good care of your health, heart, mind, soul, family and friends, employer, leader, co-workers, community, and earth?  If you are not yet, just imagine how awesome you could be?

People take care of People.  When we understand this fully and emotionally, our new reality will be far greater than anything we could imagine.

Today’s Project:  Show kindness to yourself, to someone who has made it challenging for you in the business community (your boss, your employee, your customer) and do something earth friendly today.  It takes time to see the change so do it again tomorrow and the following day.  Know this: You are changing the direction of your life, the lives of others and the world.  Now that is Awesome!

I would like to hear from you…you matter to me.  What do you think of this interpretation of People taking care of People?  Share your comments below and share with others if you feel so inspired.

A Hiring Manager’s Wish: The Ultimate Job Seeker

Like anything beautiful, great and unique, I have learned anything worth having comes with a hefty price.  In this case having a great team means the selection process is comprehensive and thorough.

For the positions I am filling, I receive many resumes and frankly I think I spend more time reviewing than most others.  The average hiring manager spends 20 seconds or less “scanning” a resume instead of “reading” a resume.  While I spend more time reviewing resumes, my thoughts are I am not just filling the open position but also creating a pool of folks for consideration for other upcoming positions.  In my most recent rounds, I have found some really good candidates so keeping up with the top contenders is critical to shortening the hiring process prospectively.  Remember when interviewing, you are interviewing to make the callback list whether for this position or another.

With a stack of 80 plus resumes, creativity, precision and individualism are key factors to a successful introduction.  That means knowing yourself and your message.  Preparing a SWOT Analysis is a great tool to help you stand out from the crowd.

Complete a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.)  Successful resume writers complete a personal SWOT Analysis before they start their resume.  If you have not done one and you are out there job searching, complete a SWOT Analysis and consider providing a marketable version of your SWOT as part of your resume portfolio.  Recently, a candidate I interviewed provided a personal SWOT Analysis.  What I liked about it was that it was an original and fresh view of the whole discussion of strengths and weaknesses.  Here is a site that has some good feedback on a personal SWOT.  To help with the SWOT, a great tool I use to help identify strengths and possible blind spots is The Keirsey Temperament Sorter®-II (KTS®-II).  It is a widely used personality instrument with 70-questions to help the candidates discover their personality type.  While you are at it, include your personality type in your resume.  For example, I am an ENFP.

Develop a Resume Cloud.  Once you have done your SWOT Analysis, compile a list of your core competencies, accomplishments and areas of expertise.  These key phrases will help you develop a Resume Cloud.  This is a skinnied down version of your resume and it helps keep the conversation pointed to critical areas.  The Cloud is visually stimulating and if done well provides key descriptors of who you are and what you have accomplished.  Simply put a resume cloud is a series of words randomly patterned to give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently.  Wordle has a free site you can us to create your resume cloud.  A Resume Cloud can display the character and actions that best describe the candidate.

As a reader of a resume cloud, I am looking for a holistic view.  Tell me all sides of you.  It makes your story more interesting and memorable.  Include personal characteristics that are not commonly used in the work place.  Most resumes are not personal or holistic so it leaves the reader wondering if it is a complete proxy for the candidate seeking the position.  In order to break the mold, you have to go personal and make a connection.  Think of your cloud as your private letter to the reader with the modern day touch.  Here is my resume cloud as an example:

Wordle: RC_Ybarra Resume Cloud 072011

Create a Masterpiece Resume.  Now that you have a resume cloud, let’s make sure you have a killer resume with a personal story.  Make sure your resume includes the requisites of: Areas of Expertise, Career Accomplishments and Core Competencies.  Also, make sure you include a personal aspect to breathe life into your words.  I recently read an article where a Venture Capitalist said he reads a candidate’s resumes backwards.  Acknowledging that a candidate’s volunteer efforts, interests and then accomplishments made for an interesting person and only then would he be interested in talking to them.  Ah…be interesting so that others will be interested.  Novel concept but it is so true.

When discussing your accomplishments, make them things you truly were the catalyst for, made major AND impactful contributions to or things you started and finished.  When interviewing candidates, I try to get past the “actions” and get to the “accomplishments”.  Running reports, preparing analysis, developing a policy are more tactical actions and do not describe the end results.  In other words, what positive results happened because of your actions?  Tell us your career accomplishments and you will have told us who you are and what you are about.  When talking about accomplishments, make sure they are your own….we are all creators.  Tell the hiring manager what you have created and what difference you have made on the business, the world and/or others.  That is definitely more interesting and speaks to who you are as a complete person.

Start a Blog.  Blogging about your technical, business acumen, professional career and content will set you apart from the competition.  A blog will demonstrate your ability to write and tell a compelling story.  These are qualities of a good leader, a good negotiator and a good communicator. A few free sites for creating a blog are WordPress.com and Blogger to name a few.

Provide Original Works.  I would recommend providing examples of your work that are original even if it means you have to create new work such as financial models, technical tools, process documentation, websites, etc.  Folks will understand that your work is proprietary to your employers so you are creating new work to emulate what you have done for your previous assignments.  Think of your work as a display similar to what artists provide when they are selling their paintings.  To get your work commissioned, you have to display your ability and your personality.  To be a hit, include on your blog site your original work.  This will make your site unique and a testament to who you are as a whole person.

Create a 30 second Video.  Tell the hiring manager who you are and why they should hire you in 30 seconds.  Advertising agencies have 15 to 30 second spots on TV or Radio to sell their products.  You will have the same opportunity in your 30-second video.  If the hiring manager takes the time to go to your site, they are going to be pleasantly surprised and eager to see your 30-second “wow” pitch.  This saves the hiring manager time and energy and it will definitely impress them.

Join LinkedIn.  If you are not on LinkedIn, I would recommend you join this 100M+ person community.  A recent presentation of their demographics shows only 42M US citizens are part of LinkedIn, with ~40% being female and with only 21% under 25 years old.  This community is the largest professional social network site in the world and it is used for those offering and seeking jobs, connecting with professionals and sharing ideas, and keeping your portfolio of professional contacts.  If your demographic is not well represented, then join the community.  You will stand out from the crowd.

Join Twitter and Get Followers.  Along with your Blog and LinkedIn account, I would recommend including a Twitter account that is used for professional purposes only.  Twitter is helpful for promoting your ideas, your work and for routing folks to visit your website.  Have a unique point of view, write about it, live it and share it with others.  Having a unique voice and viewpoint will make you very attractive to others and you will be surprised by the following.  I just started my own Twitter account in May 2011 and I have a little over 170 followers so far.  You have to write good content and you have to be consistent to get a good following.  I am still working on the two approaches.  It is definitely a learning process and it takes time.

As we discussed recently in the posts: Be a Connector and The Day You Get Promoted by Election, relationships are so critical and now with Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections, we now have a means to measure the breadth of the connections.  Before too long, your portfolio of connections and relationships will be a determining factor in your selection for a position.  One early pioneer in this area is Best Buy.  I recently read a 2009 article describing how Best Buy had a pre-requisite for its Senior Manager – Emerging Media Marketing to have 250 Twitter followers.  Needless to say it got a lot of noise.  Today, future non-profit leaders and company advocates are screened to determine their circle of influence.  How many people do they influence?  How influential are the candidate’s connections? Twitter and LinkedIn are not the sole answers to these questions, but these sites definitely help you to start thinking in these terms.

If you have a professional Twitter and a LinkedIn account, be sure to reference them on your website and resume.

Sounds like a lot of work to get a job.  Yes, it is a lot of work but it is not for a job, it is for you and your brand.  You are the CEO of You.  To say yes to you means you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to define yourself in ways that are meaningful and impactful.  You are taking this herculean effort not for the position you are vying for, but for yourself and your identity in this newly connected world.

As the CEO of You, you are on a sales tour to promote, tell your story and sell why you should be part of the team.  So, for any position you apply for, think of it as a campaign.

Do Your Research; Determine Your Audience.  Who will be reading your resume?  Investigate the position and the leader.  You want to make sure it is a fit for you too, so if their values and leadership style don’t match up, know that is ok for you to be selective as well.  Recently, I was interviewing candidates for a position we posted internally.  I was fascinated by how many folks researched us on our internal social media site before coming into the interview.  As a candidate researching the hiring manager, look to see if they have a LinkedIn account; look them up and see what they have written about themselves.  And of course search them on the Internet and see what that yields you.  You could find some good information for your cover letter to personalize it when addressing the hiring manager.

Do More Research.  Research the company’s website if you are external and the department’s portal/site if you are internal to the organization.  I recently interviewed someone who researched our internal site, took one of our system courses and read through one of our corporate policies.  She was able to quote from it, speak in the language we use and ask more relevant questions on our subject because she did her homework on the department.  If you want to leave an impression, do your homework before submitting in your resume.

Enlist your Circle of Influentials.  If you know of folks that are influential, well respected and revered, ask them to put in a good word for you via a phone call.  I did that four years ago when I got the internal position I am in today.  The hiring manager said she wanted to at least meet me since she had received three separate calls from key leaders on my behalf.  Obviously you can only ask for this type of support when it really matters.  Asking a vice president of a company to support you with five to ten calls is a stretch.  Use your connections wisely.  If you are new to the job market and have some good connections, through your volunteer efforts, ask for their assistance and support as you secure a new position.  References do not have to be from “paid only” positions.  Leadership in a volunteer role is just as telling of who you are and what you stand for.

Provide a 360-Degree Reference List.  Make sure to include a 360-degree reference list of folks for the hiring manager to call when asked.  Have it ready now for when you get the request.  You want the hiring manager to make those calls quickly and close the loop with you.  The hiring manager will call the references to see how you interact with people above you, at your level and below you.  Do you treat people differently depending on the status?  Have your list and be ready.

Write a Compelling and Personalized Cover Letter.  And finally after completing the above, write a compelling cover letter addressed specifically to the hiring manager.  I typically read cover letters since many folks no longer provide them.  I feel if someone took the extra time to create a cover letter it is worth my time to read what he or she had to say.  Writing a truly personalized cover letter that is addressed to the person reading it and mentions that you researched them, who they are, what is important to them, will turn your letter from a vanilla cover letter to a personalized note.  Also, include in your note why you are interested in the position and why you believe you are the best fit.  Talk about your resume cloud, website, circle of connections and followers.  Let them know that you would like to complete a 100-day plan if you are one of the finalists for the position and you recognize ramping up is one of the hardest parts of transitioning.  By preparing and implementing a 100-day plan, it not only helps you but the hiring manager as well.  This can certainly be a game changer when coming onboard.

Create a 100-Day plan.  It is the kicker, the one that will set you miles apart from everyone else.  I recently started requiring this for all our final candidates in managerial and supervisory positions.  Some folks drop out, maybe because they thought it was too much work.  Frankly, I think it is a great tool for candidates and it is a good proxy for the caliber of team members the hiring managers are looking for.  If folks see this as a great tool that will help them and are not bothered by the request, they are one step closer to finding the right team.  A 100-day plan will help you understand the position, what opportunities exist for improvements and you will hit the ground running on day one.

For leaders of organizations transitioning into a new role, this is especially important as the goals, expectations and risks are greater.  Here is an excerpt I recently read from The New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan.  George Bradt’s website also has a great leadership journal he just started on a new leader transitioning the first 100 days.

For those new to the job market fresh out of college, a 100-Day Plan is a great tool to help demonstrate your commitment to learning the culture, the department, the business, your role, your team and what improvements can be made to the position.

The Interview…Hope for Multiples.  Once you are in for an interview, you will need to knock it out of the park with your interview.  Make it personal, answer the questions, expect behavioral questions where they are asking for real examples from your life.  Make sure to give real examples and not theories of what you would do.  If all goes well, expect peer interviews, interviews with the prospective clients, leaders above the hiring manager and possibly entry-level folks to ensure you are a good fit.  I ask my team to do this so that when we make a selection based on the multitude of data points, we feel we are making the best decision for the team.  Keep in mind when you are talking to the peers, the clients and even the hiring manager, be yourself and bring your best to the conversations.

So, it is a lot.  I hear you and it is for the hiring manager as well.  But with a ~10% reported unemployment rate and the common knowledge of a higher rate, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.  As a hiring manager having to make the tough choices, with many good candidates to choose from, I will say that those that deploy a portfolio of options from their war chest will give themselves an advantage.  This will prove why it is good to be the CEO of You and why others should want to snag you first and fast.

Can you see a time when these tools will be common place? I would love to hear your thoughts, stories of interviews, selection, tips and traps to avoid.

 

Millennial are Good Partners Full of Purpose and Community.

This Saturday I attended the Dallas Hispanic Youth Institute 2011 kickoff session.  There were probably 200 students in attendance that participated in the 4 day, 3 night series of events and workshops.  I wanted to attend the closing ceremony to witness for myself the program’s progress and see the beauty of the enlightened students. I can tell you, I was extremely impressed by the peer-to-peer mentoring and learning opportunities they discussed.   I was also impressed by how the team of teens worked so well together and helped each other.  There was a magical and real sense of community and common knowledge that each student was born with unique and amazing abilities.  The power of positive thought and sense of self was evident in the program.  I wish I had attended the opening ceremony so I could see where the students started as individuals and where they ended as a collective powerhouse.

After a series of students won scholarships for competitions in art, debate and talent, you could see that each of team of teens was incredibly supportive of each other giving standing ovations to their winning team member.  There was even a team of young boys who all stood up and got a man hug from their fellow team member who won a $2,000 scholarship for the debate competition.  Now that is community and I could feel it from the next row back.  We all want to have that feeling in our own lives and I would suggest in our own work environments.

A few weeks ago, when I was introduced to the program I met with several of the alumni from the prior years’ programs.  I was awe-struck by their sense of purpose for themselves.  Each wanted to contribute to society in a meaningful and almost spiritual way.  I heard words like, “I realize the Power of Love” and “I just want to connect with people”.  Wow!!   I know 40 and 50 years olds who are not so enlightened as these young individuals.  We all should spend some time with these young folks.  They know more than we can understand or appreciate for their age.

What I have learned from these two experiences is that:

1)  We should be supportive of programs that awaken the human spirit in youth so they can continue on their journey and achieve amazing success.  We, as a community, will benefit from these programs with productive and connected individuals contributing to our society.  When they win, we all win.

2)  As business leaders, we should not fear our millennial teammates but rather embrace their communal sense of connecting and their power of purpose.  By 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of our workforce.  We should leverage what they bring to the table, recognize they are good partners and we need more people who recognize the power of love and need to connect with people.  The world would be better off…and so would the business playing field.

We are all in this world together.  Have a powerful purpose and sense of community like our young team mates.  We will all go far!

 

The Power of Team Means Invincible

Below is a condensed excerpt a note I wrote to my magnetic group on the power Captureof team.

I was reminded time and again this weekend about the concept Team is Everything.  This past weekend, I saw a movie about a team of escaped prisoners from Siberia in 1940 who traveled over 4000 miles from Russia to India to seek freedom from oppression and certain death.  It was a great example of the amazing power of a collective team’s determination.

Not all survived, sadly, but those that did survive had amazing fortitude and walked with passion and a dream of a peaceful destination.  The team worked well together, for the most part, and they leaned on each other when needed.  It was another great example, to me, that through the hard work and determination success is possible.

On a lighter note, the MAVs won Sunday night their first NBA Championship.  They too demonstrated in their actions and their repeated mantras that TEAM IS EVERYTHING and they won as a team.  The messages that we “succeed as a team” are all around us in overt words and action and in silent stealth motions.  

Thank you for being part of the Team, representing and building the team in your words and actions.  All other leaders should be so lucky to have such a fine example of teamwork.

With the lens of teams you will be able to see some invisible things.  Flow, power, and the spirit.  Sound spiritual and soft, but you can see it in action whether in the professional sports or in the corporate field.  See the power.

 

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Be a Connector

In continuation of the series Keep your Business Relationship Healthy and Sustainable let’s continue the 10 things to bring to a healthy business relationship.  For today’s post, we are going out of order, as that is part of what makes for good conversations…a little twists and turns.

Be a Connector by bringing people together, building a tribe and following for good. 

In today’s world we are increasingly moving to a connected society.  Social media has brought into full view for everyone to see who you are and more importantly what your network of relationships looks like.  I have said this before, but I think it is worth repeating, for me life is all about relationship and experiences.  If you have meaningful and enriching relationships and if you create amazing and life long impressions and experiences for them, you will have a successful life.

Capture

What is described above is not the pedestrian term of “Networking”.  This is an overused word with no real “connection” to people’s hearts, minds and souls.  What we are talking about are real connections to people that you meet for either a moment or a lifetime.  To be a Connector means making connections with many different people you come across each day.  In my mind people come into your life for one of three reasons:

1)   to give you a gift

2)   to give you a message

3)   to teach you a lesson

Look forward to making a connection with those you encounter.  You will discover we all have a basic set of needs that we are looking to have met:

1)   to be heard

2)   to be understood

3)   to be seen

Employees, who have relationships that physically span deep, wide and are far-reaching, are very attractive as they have a tribe that is deep and plentiful.  Should they have an issue that cannot be solved alone, they can call upon their tribe of common hearts, minds and souls who are eager, at varying levels, to help them.  Should they want to voice their joy over a great product, a great company, a great experience, they are there ready to listen and more importantly rely on our word of endorsement.  Should they have a great gift to give such as a tip of a job opening, a business opportunity, or a referral they are eager to help share the news with those that matter to them.  A real tribe is one to help others and if the situation arises, to be gracious and accept help.  Being attractive means have a wide and deep tribe ready and willing.

As we begin the next decade, the feeling and necessity of community will be critical to our success.  With information doubling every two years according to Moore’s law and our own human ability to become experts still taking about 10 years, according Malcolm Gladwell, we need our tribe of connections to help us be successful in the work environment.  If you haven’t started your tribe, no worries, like retirement, it is better to start now than not start at all.  Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Brazencareerist, and LinkedIn are great ways to get connected to those you already know.  As you meet people, make a connection with them and start to add those you feel comfortable with to your tribe.  Start building your tribe by saying hello, asking about the person, showing genuine interested in their lives, and most importantly listen and learn.  They have gift to give, a message to convey or a lesson to teach.  For those you make that real connection with, keep the ties and stay connected.

Employees are attractive not only because of who they are, whom they know and what they bring to the table, but also because the size and depth of their tribe speaks volumes of what type of person they are.  Building good and long standing relationships tells people that they value people and they work hard to “water their plants”.  For those employees who have wide and deep tribes, they know how to connect people and stay connected to them.  Anything worth having takes work including keeping your tribe connected.  For potential and future leaders, a deep and wide fellowship, is anecdotal to how they inspire and lead.  Recently, I was talking to a former VP of mine about the idea of measuring the health of an organization (a extremely large tribe) through an online site so that employees could see the health and real insights of a large tribe called a Company.  People would have to be real, honest and fearless.  It was an interesting conversation but sounded a little too out there for him.  Well, I just discovered glassdoor.com which is an insider’s look at a Company’s tribe, the jobs and its leader.  Glassdoor started its company just three years ago (June 11, 2008) and now has about 1 million members.  I think this concept will grow legs as people start to look closely at the tribes of different companies and ask themselves is this the company I am proud to be apart of?

Another example, and easy extension coming in the near future, is communal rating of leaders by tribal members, similar to what ratemyprofessors.com does today for professors.  Started in 1999 with now over 1 million professors and over 11 million opinions, it is quite surprising why we have not started to see leaders rated already.

As employees build their own tribe of connections, and as they give endorsements and commentary on others, my only caution to the community is to be fair in assessments and feedback.  Feedback that is constructive, respectful and growth oriented is what is needed in this new world if we are going to develop a real community of possibilities.  Anything less than mentor-like and aspirational will speak volumes of the person providing feedback and will be less than attractive.

And finally, for some, building a tribal communal feel comes from things teaching and blogging.  Connecting with readers in intimate ways is something special.  I am not talking about sharing all your inner child secrets, but rather shared experiences, shared knowledge and interest, shared feelings, shared concerns, shared opinions and most importantly shared hopes, dreams and aspirations.  As companies come courting, those who have blogs, websites and other online communities with readers, commentators, followers, supporters and constructive critics are more attractive.

As leaders, we want attractive people on our teams.  For me, I find those that help others, have a wide and large tribe of connections and those that take risks and voice their ideas, insight and knowledge are interesting…and I am interested in interesting.

Being attractive means helping others, bringing others together, and sharing ideas.  Be a Connector and you will be attractive to a whole-lotta folks.

Keep your Business Relationship Healthy and Sustainable

You have seen those men and women that have been married for years and have let themselves go whether extra weight, outdated look, or the loss of pep that made the other like them so much.  Folks get settled into what is comfortable, easy and things just start to lose importance.  Before you know it, you realize your best self was some time ago and you wonder if you can get it back and certainly your partner is thinking the same thing.

In a business relationship, between an organization and its employees, the same holds true.  Organizations court, some time intensely and fiercely, to win you over to their team.  They offer you a good package, opportunities for advancement and the idea or fantasy of having your own empire.

Employees, too, play the game of coming to the dance with their best outfit, their promises to be their best, give their all, win like no other, be relentless to learn, grow and demonstrate loyalty that they will not look at another company.

At some point, the honeymoon is over and reality sets in.  The air comes out of the bubble and depending on how far off you are from what you represented, respectively, will determine how disappointed you will each be and who will be disappointed the most.

Anyone who has been in a successful relationship knows that you have to be sincere, honest, respectful, ethical, healthy, kind, constantly learning/growing and give more than you expect if you want your relationship to live and flourish.  The same holds true for your Business Relationships.

What is a Healthy Business Relationship?

In 2011, a healthy business relationship is an absolute necessity if you want to win in the global economy.  We need each other like never before.  Our talents as individuals when well placed in a diversified group coupled with the power of brand and financial strength can make for a powerful partnership.  A successful partnership is one of trust, giving our best and not expecting an equal reciprocity.  It is a partnership that strives and drives for excellence in all things we do together.  You have seen those partnerships.  They are strong and formidable, loving, kind, intensely emotional, intellectual with deep sense of connection.  In the business world if you do not have that sense of connection between an individual, a team and a company, you will not win in the global marketplace.  If you want to win, you have to have a Healthy Business Relationship.

To talk about this subject, we need a series of posting involving employees, teams and organizations.  Today’s post is about the employee role and the importance and necessity of self-development.  If we believe the notion that we are responsible for our own destiny, then we should have high expectations of ourselves and recognize individuals, as employees, hold the key to success.  This includes employees being accountable to what they promised and what we expect of them when it comes to personal and professional growth.  Employees play a critical role on the team so they must constantly be challenging themselves and ultimately their team to greatness in their mind, spirit and heart.

“…The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.”
 – Hindu Proverb

Employees on a team and in an organization must commit to themselves to constantly work on improving themselves.  That is how to stay fit and stay in a healthy relationship.

I have been working for global and successful companies for 18 years and I have found self-development to be an underpinning of a successful relationship.  Employees who practice self-development are multi-faceted through enlightenment and practice.  To be successful in your business relationship you need to be the following:

1)   Be a Technical Superhero.

2)   Be a Life Long Student and Sage Seeker.

3)   Be a Principles and Morals Partner.

4)   Be a Humanist.

5)   Be a Connector.

6)   Be an Athlete.

7)   Be a Kind Contrarian.

8)   Be a Calculated Risk Taker.

9)   Be a Leader of One and Many.

10) Be Yourself.

Be a Technical Superhero

Become fierce and ferocious about your technical skills.  As employees, organizations are expecting you come to the relationship with an already healthy set of technical and analytical skills.  Whether you are in the business of law, accounting, relationships and advocacy, IT technical skills, marketing, operations or organizational development to name a few, you have to know your profession and its technical and analytical skills like no one’s business.  You are not going to be expected to know the business or certainly be an expert out of the gate, but you are expected to come to the table with the technical skills to handle the job.  Whether in an existing job or a new assignment, you have to study and practice the skills to keep yourself current and relevant.  I tell my team compatriots “think of yourself as if you are joining favorite pro football team and you are the quarterback.  You are expected to know to throw touchdowns, make completions and get the ball down the field. You are not expected to know the playbook of the team, but you are expected to bring your strength and skills and not only learn the playbook but bring a fresh perspective based on your expertise that would otherwise be missing without you.”  The same is true in when you join a company or a team in business.  They are hiring your strengths so be fierce and ferocious and bring your A game to the table.  If you are coming into a new position, make sure you already have down at least half of the job they are asking you to do and be ready to put in a tremendous amount of hours, outside the office, to learn the new skills, laws, theories and practices to help you escalate up the learning curve.

When studying your subject matter, please know all the basic answers are out there.  You have to be willing to put in whatever the effort to seek the answers and obtain understanding.  Your teammates, your team leader and your company will invest in you to the same degree you are willing to invest in yourself.  The law of attractions is alive and well when it comes to self-development.  Be willing to be the Technical Superhero even if you have to moonlight to get there.  Success doesn’t happen by accident.  It happens because of tremendous investment by those willing to invest in themselves.

With the world changing so fast, there are expectations you take the time and energy to self develop and improve quickly and constantly.  It is what being “informative” is all about and one of the five pillars of i5.  Also, it is what you bring to a healthy relationship.  When you are healthy and in shape you will want to be with others who are like-minded and others with the same qualities will seek you out and want to be with you.  Be a Technical Superhero and Be Informative.  It is what makes a business relationship healthy and long lasting.

Be a Life Long Student and Sage Seeker.

Be tenacious to learn new frameworks in your profession, new management and leadership concepts and learn unrelated subjects.  Learning new items regardless of the subject is a huge multiplier for you as an employee.  Expanding your knowledge makes your conversations more interesting, enlightening and empathetic.  Knowledge makes your contributions to the business relationship more creative.  People like to take their newfound knowledge and apply it.  Applying your newfound knowledge, regardless of the topic, in a new and creative way is what being innovative is all about.  Being Innovative is one of the five pillars of i5 and one of the most interesting.

Take a look at something that you just love whether a painting, a great book, a new technical gadget, an application, a website or service, a movie, a designed room and see if you notice the multiple layers of textures, ideas, or needs being met.  Creativity is about layering and mixing multiple items.  It could be bringing together unrelated topics.  For example, Picasso’s artwork took cubism and introduced new shapes and form and incorporating African Art to create some of the most revered and widely recognized artwork around the world.  Spend some time looking at his artwork, see if you can see the singular items and how they were layered, integrated and ultimately created a new masterpiece and a new form of art language.  As another example, last week in Santa Fe, New Mexico I met and spent time with an artist named Jennifer JL Jones.  She was discussing one of her painting that was on exhibit.  Jennifer is an accomplished artist with representation/exhibits in Atlanta, Florida, Santa Fe, Chicago, and San Francisco.     When I viewed her work, I loved it and was inspired to include her in this section as her work is a creation of nine different mediums (oil, acrylic, textured paper, asphalt, wood stain, glue, charcoal, wax and metal) all on a wood board.  For me the work is beautiful and a great example of learning and using different items in a layering way to create something completely different, unique an extraordinarily beautiful.

You can apply these concepts to business in many ways: 1) be enlightened that creativity comes from learning new things and 2) layering and mixing unique and unrelated items together is what creates something new.  Other examples, more applicable to the business and technology world include Steve Jobs and the invention of the Mac computer.  In his 2005 Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs talked about having an insatiable appetite to learn and he took a calligraphy class after dropping out of college.  Ten years after taking the class, when he was designing the first Macintosh computer, all his studies of typography came back to him.  “The Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts” had he not mixed and layered.  Some most recent inventions featured in Time Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2010 display the art of layering and mixing to create anew:  1) Flipboard the fabulous iPad application that organizes getting updates from your friends via facebook, twitter and links from others of interest in an browsable and magazine like format.  The images are oversized, the typography is clean and the product has an overall glossy magazine feel that is just superb.  Here is an example of mixing the reality of information overload of social media with the old world charm of magazines where we could sit and read flipping the pages on a Sunday afternoon (something I am doing today).  Great concepts are born when we bring items together and ask “why not”?

If you research innovative creations you will see the Life Truth that mixing ideas and theories together is how new ideas, creations and inventions are born.  Here is one last example of just how new and crazy things get life.  eLegs Exoskeleton is a robotic prosthetic leg that uses artificial intelligence to “read” the wearer’s arm gestures via crutches and capturing and simulating their walk without a tether.

Today military soldiers use exoskeletons to lift heavy packs and this idea was the inspiration for eLeg.  I wonder if an ex-military solider was the connector in helping to bring the need to regain or obtain movement of others and exoskeletons together?  Rehabilitation centers are using this technology today and it is expected this will hit the home market in 2013.

Innovation is not just creating new things by mixing, layers and bringing together disparate ideas, but it is also about having the tenacity and courage to work on dormant ideas started by others and making them your own.  Some say Apple’s iPad is one such example where Apple reinvented Microsoft’s unpopular TabletPC by creating and layering in new finger friendly hardware and software to its already intuitive operating system with access to prolific applications.

Recognize that while these items are big and life changing, they were started by people willing to learn, keep their eyes and mind open to creation and were willing to speak their voice.  If you work for a company, you have the backing of a company with financial power, brand strength and the amazing power of a team of individuals.  You don’t have to work at Google, Facebook or Apple to be Innovative.  I submit you have to be willing to learn, create and then most importantly of all…speak your voice and then speak it again, until one of your ideas makes it from ideation to creation.

Become a Life Long Learner and you will become Innovative.  Being innovative is a VERY attractive feature to bring to the Business Relationship.

Life Truth:  A business relationship is no different than any other close relationship.  You have to be willing to give your best, grow and constantly reinvent yourself.  Greatness will follow in the proportion you are willing to contribute to the relationship.  Be willing and through actions put your best self forward.  Your business relationships will be what sustains you economically.

Hey where are 3 – 9?  You are probably wondering where the rest of the self-development topics are at….well we should let these two marinate for a bit to go from your conscious to your subconscious.  Feel free to read again and more importantly spend some time seeking examples of where this maybe true in your own world and your own experiences.  Know of any Technical Superheroes and any Life Learners?  I do, they are my friends, my colleagues, my mentor, my leadership, my beloved man, my mother, my family and my team.  They were the inspiration for this post.    When you see that we are informative and innovative creatures if we are willing to open our eyes, minds and hearts to learning new things and mixing and layering and creating ideas, we will see that they sky is the limit for us.  Share with me what you observed; I would love to hear what you see with these lenses.

The rest of the articles will post over the coming weeks.  I too need time to take my superhero strengths to create and develop something worthy of your valuable time.

Be a Technical Superhero.  Be a Life Learner,

RC Ybarra

You want to Get Great…You must be willing to Give Good first.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Amen.  I am one of those loyal customers.  You know the ones you small business owners salivate over.  The ones that will drive 30 minutes out of their way pay more than the going rate and willing to wait because they feel you are just that special.  When I lived in San Antonio, Texas I would drive for over an hour to Austin on Sundays to just have breakfast at Kerbey Lane.

The reality is that I am not that special.  Many people will go to even greater lengths than I do.  I have a girlfriend that will travel 200 miles to another city to see her favorite hairstylist.  Why do people go through such extremes?

The owners of these businesses treat them like royalty.  Royalty is knowing their souls, not their names, but their souls, what motivates them, what is important to them and truly do appreciate who they are and the fact they are leaving their hard earned money with them.  These are the owners that leave a real gift for them, not a company logo gift, but something that is more unique and special.  At the end of they day, people want to be heard and remembered.

Hear your customers, help them without any expectation for reciprocity and I will tell you it will be like Harvey Mackay’s  Dig Your Well Before You are Thirsty.  I read this book when I was in my twenties.  So you know that was some time ago.  But it left a permanent impression on me.  Help others…not because you want something but because you want to help others.  When you are in need of help people will be there to help you.  That is human nature.

About six years ago I worked with a very smart man, we were peers for a few years and then I was promoted.  There were a few things I remembered about him.  He was always interested in himself, his career and his finances.  He was rarely interested in others and always looking for ways to move up and not living in the moment and working to do well in his own position.  After I got promoted I remember going to lunch with him and he said “you know my wife and I were talking about you.”  I was thinking really what were you thinking?  He proceeded to tell me that with my new position I would be looking to fill one of my open positions and his wife would be a good selection.  While she doesn’t have current experience she would be a good; however she would require working from home.  It would be ideal for her to work from home with their small children.  So maybe work would not be first on the list of important priorities.  How is this helpful for the business and me?  That was one of the last lunches I had with this individual.  I knew for sure he was so focused on himself that he would never get anything good coming to him and frankly I wasn’t interested in helping someone who was unable to see beyond himself.

Customers sense these feelings in business leaders and owners.  If you are heart is not into them, they are not going to be into you.

You Give Good and You Will Get Great!  It is a life truth.  We know it; now practice it.   Go get great!

Get Inspired

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You are one of nearly 6 million; you employ 59 million people with a payroll of $2 trillion annually.  It is because of you that our economy leans on.  In my opinion, your grit, determination and perseverance helped to sustain us through this great recession.

As you go forward, your strategic and tactical decisions will be key to allow your employees to rest easier at night knowing they can count on your leadership to give them peace of mind.

You should be proud of who you are.  You are what have made our country great.  Now more than ever you call upon what you know and dig deep, real deep.  If you want your business to survive and grow, you will have to open your minds to things you have never thought about, you will have to be willing to take risks and think about progressive topics that may seem unconventional.  You will have to open your hearts to love something different than you may have loved before.  And you will have to open your spirit to a new sense of grit and determination beyond anything you have ever done.

This site will give you a toolbox of thoughtful and insightful topics.  Use them and make them your own.  This is not a follow these instructions to improve or make your business successful.  Heck no.  This is a site is provocative.  Use these tools to think, create and execute a business strategy that is right for you.  One that rings true to your inner beat.  That is the only way your business will succeed.  I will just tell you, though be ready to bring on your game and be it will be tough.

Ready to take your business to a new level?  Be vulnerable and be inspirational.  You have to be inspirational to move forward.  When times are tough, which they will, it is your inspiration that will see you through.  Get Inspired!

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