Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Job-Shaping - Who's Tried It?

Interesting cover story of the January/February issue of AdvanteEdge Magazine - The Dream Job Myth. In it, Dan Strutzel looks at a number of ways to turn the job you already have into your Dream Job.

One of the things that the author suggests is to write out a five-sentence description of exactly what your Dream Job would consist of - salary, perks, focus, location, etc., making sure that all of the things that are important to you are included in it. "If you think only about the company and job and not the fact that you may be on the road 70% to 80% of the time, your dream job may quickly turn into a nightmare because of how it affects the totality of your life," he writes.

Strutzel also suggests you take a fresh look at how close your current job is to your Dream Job model as you just might find the fit isn't nearly as bad as you thought - especially if you can do a little "job shaping." Job Shaping is the process of working with your boss to tweak, or re-shape, your job responsibilities to include more of what you like ... and less of what you don't. Given the high cost of replacing mid- to high-level employees, employers are often quite open to this in lieu of you flat-out leaving.

Has anyone out there successfully job-shaped before? I have, although I didn't know to call it that at the time.

I knew I wanted to get more into this coaching and mentoring thing, but as the vice president of telecommunications, well, let's just say that I was in an entirely different sphere. But when the head of HR left right before the launch of an important management coaching program trial, I asked if I could run lead on it until an HR replacement was hired. To my surprise and delight, I got the green light to not only do that, but to coach and mentor the person in Human Resources who would assist with the program's logistics.

By the way, the added responsibilities also provided me with the opportunity (read: necessity) to jettison some of my less-challenging/more time-consuming work to others. Interestingly, they found that exact same work to be a great learning opportunity of their own.

Do you have any stories you'd like to share about Job-Shaping? Please do.

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Friday, February 18, 2005

Google's New Local Search Feature

Cool new thing on google - a local area search function. What a great way to find a new pizza place, dry cleaner, ophthalmologist, or whatever. (Just for fun, I used "whatever" as a search term and Google's responded with "Whatever it Takes Beauty Shop." I guess so!)

To access this local search engine, just go to the main google page and select 'Local' from the available choices.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Are you a CEO "Personality"?

This just in from the AP Wire -

"For Most CEOs, Stardom Doesn't Equal Success"

Superstar chief executives such as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s now ex-CEO Carly Fiorina may earn megapay, grace business magazine covers and hobnob with world leaders, but they may not be the best leaders for their companies.

Academics who study successful CEOs say companies are better off with a little-known CEOs who disdain fame and mind the business.

Consider some superstars for whom ubiquity didn't equal success:

  • Donald Trump is the master of the universe on his TV show, but that didn't prevent his casino and hotel business from filing for bankruptcy a second time in November.
  • L. Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco International Ltd. graced the cover of BusinessWeek as "The Most Aggressive CEO" and was held up as a model, until his company-sponsored lavish living triggered a government investigation and felony charges.
  • And don't forget superagent Michael Ovitz, who was supposed to save Walt Disney Co. from a leaderless future but lasted only 14 months before walking away with a $140 million severance package.

They make Fiorina's fall look mild. Fiorina was pushed out by the board last week after almost six years of keynote speeches, leading pep rallies and flights on the corporate jet, for personal and professional trips.

"She was spending more time in front a video camera than she was with her people," said Warren Bennis, founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California.

The company's board signaled that it agrees.

Patricia C. Dunn, whom the company appointed as interim non-executive chairman, said the job, in the future, would be "very reliant on hands-on execution."

Translation: The next CEO will spend less time in the spotlight and more time visiting customers, talking to workers and crunching numbers.

A model for the company's next CEO may be International Business Machines Inc. CEO Samuel J. Palmisano, who joined the company in 1973. If Fiorina is viewed as flashy, Palmisano is seen as tweedy. While she became the public face of HP, Palmisano rarely gives interviews.

Some measure of fame may be unavoidable for the CEO of a high-profile company. But other famous CEOs, like Apple Computer Inc.'s Steve Jobs, have tried to create a cult following for products, not themselves.

Could having a famous executive hurt a company? Some research suggests it might.

Ulrike M. Malmendier, an assistant professor of finance at Stanford University's graduate school of business, studied CEOs who made lists of best managers and found many afterward extracted higher compensation while spending more time and effort on outside activities, such as writing books."

The companies of superstar CEOs subsequently underperform," Malmendier wrote, with both the stock and return on assets lagging peers.

James T. Hamilton at Duke University and Richard Zeckhauser at Harvard University found that 20 percent of chief executives generate 80 percent of media coverage.

They found no statistically significant difference in average shareholder returns between companies with a celebrity CEO and other companies.

But they did find that chief executives who generate soft news stories, articles that contain words such as "personality," "married," "divorced," "smile," "style" and "wife," were more likely to be charged later with evading regulations or misusing company resources than other CEOs.

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

Question: Is your ego driving your leadership style a bit too much?

Please comment.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Now you can post YOUR comments

A number of readers have asked if I could allow them to post comments at GottaGettaBlog!

So okay, let's try it and see what it looks like. It will also give me the opportunity to give the ole web log a much-needed face lift which I'll work on over time.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Renewal, Fresh Eyes, and Next Steps

I went to a 3-day coaching seminar last week (thanks, Andrea!) and before the plane even landed in San Francisco I knew this was a really good use of my time. Just sitting with my thoughts for the half-day it took to get from here to there - and jotting down some of the zillion ideas that 'popped' from that - proved to be an incredibly worthwhile exercise. That the seminar had some good things to offer, as well, was icing on the cake. That I got to meet a number of wonderfully interesting people there was even more icing. That several of them were "names" I knew only via cyberspace beforehand, was even more icing! Hmmm, with all that icing, it's no wonder I found myself making sure I visited the hotel's workout facility to shed a few extra calories.

Renewal is such an important aspect of ongoing success ... and personal hardiness. But while renewal is often thought to flow from Balance - as in, take a vacation so that you can re-charge your batteries, and/or stop doing certain things that drain your energy and attention, and/or make a point of doing some new things to stretch your comfort zone, etc. - the kind of renewal I'm referring to here is a result of getting more DEEPLY involved with your work, and doing it in a purposefully different way. When we do that, we tend to be able to see new things, and old things in new ways. It's both exhilarating and downright fun. And it's incredibly motivating, as well.

So when's the last time YOU got out of your office, put on some Fresh Eyes, and took a look at what's going on around you? More importantly, when's the NEXT time scheduled for?