How Healthy Is Your Network?

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We all apparently know 250 people….. some of you may be responding “yes of course I do?” or “really I don’t even know 10!”. Well when it comes to networking it doesn’t really matter how many we do know it is how we manage the connections we do have. It is also important to continually manage your connections in a strategic way to keep your network current and alive.

When was the last time you sat down to take a strategic look at your current network to see if this is in area you need to do some work on. For most people it becomes important when they find themselves job hunting. Suddenly we start picking up the phone or sending emails to people we haven’t connected with for a very long time in the hope they might know of some suitable roles. This is far from ideal.

A high performer (job hunting or not) continually manages their network, keeps connected with everyone but in different ways and in different timeframes. The skilled networker is just as keen to help others grow their networks and put people in touch with each other as they are to make new connections themselves. There is nothing more rewarding than putting two people in touch with each other that can help both people achieve personal or work goals.

When you sit down to strategically review your network do you have any gaps? Do you have people who challenge your thinking, do you have people who you can go to who inspire you?, do you have people in your network who you can contact when things get really tough and you need some advice? Do you have people in your network who have an equally good network when you are looking to hire people or get specific expert advice on a subject?

What sort of person are you in other peoples network? Its a two way street networking when it works well…….

Summer Jobs a chance to develop and grow your future

The summer holidays is a great time to gain some work experience, learn some important basic skills, start or enhance your CV … and of course earn some money. Now is the time to look for that summer job don’t wait until June/July it will be too late!

The secret is to plan ahead, think about what you want, is it local office work, a job abroad; retail or leisure; events or festivals, or working with animals. Maybe if you are a graduate you want to think about an internship (some of these are unpaid) or maybe if it is adventure and life experience you are after some voluntary work abroad maybe just the thing. So where do you start?

The internet has a huge range of website resources covering all sectors, use your school, college or University careers service, newspapers or notice boards. If it is office work you can register with local agencies, or actively approach organisations in person. Make sure your CV is up to date, this is a good time to start it or enhance it, adding work experience and new skills will help later when you start to apply for fulltime employment. Some jobs may require you to fill in an online application and attach your CV, proactively check this websites every week for new vacancies and register for job alerts.

Be flexible – it might not be the job you want to do for life, but it will gain you a variety of potential skills in the areas of customer service , money handling, data handling, team work and general confidence building but to name a few. Take the opportunity to gain a further insight into the organisation, who knows you may see another job or opportunity that you might like to pursue in the future. Don’t forget that your summer employer could also be a potential referee later.

As with all jobs and a summer one is no exception , research your chosen company , prepare yourself for Interview and present yourself in the best possible way , this may only be a summer job but first impressions count and you never no where it might lead.

So enjoy your summer, there are many outdoor opportunities as well as indoor, earn yourself some money, become more independent, meet new people but above all take the chance to learn some new skills that will start to shape where you want to be in the future.

For help with CV, interviews and beyond visit The Kudos Group http://bit.ly/1hkaq5a

Going back to basics to improve performance

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How a week’s skiing took me back to basics.

When things are difficult and beyond our control whether it is taking part in sport or at work sometimes just going back to basics can help to re-focus the mind and tweak bad habits, giving renewed confidence and enhancing performance.

Last week I was on the ski slopes and yes I had a fantastic time. I had good equipment and the great company of my friends, however I couldn’t control the weather!

The first day it snowed creating a white out and bad visibility. I have skied for many years but as I came off the first lift I felt vulnerable and unsteady not knowing where I was or which direction I should be going, the snow was falling thick and fast, however one thing for sure was the only way was down and I knew if I could get below the cloud line I would be able to see. This was a challenge, but listening to voices around me I realised I was not alone so taking into consideration everyone’s abilities we formed a snake and keeping close enough so that we could glimpse the next persons brightly coloured jacket we collectively skied down until we came out of the cloud. Very satisfying team work, at the same time as drawing on every bit of knowledge of these conditions I had ever been taught.

The second day the weather was cloudy producing a flat light which created a different problem as the definition of the snow was difficult to read and the piste was thick and lumpy. I had to think back to my ski school days and draw on the basics I had been taught. So keeping the skis running down the mountain , picking my path and planting my pole decisively to make my turn, this gave me rhythm and style and saved me from falling into a heap! So for two days running I had drawn on my ski school knowledge to help me overcome difficult conditions, not wavering from my decisions and using basic skills to prevent me from falling.

I am pleased to say that the rest of the week we had blue skies and perfect snow. My confidence returned and I skied naturally , however the previous days had reminded me about revisiting some of my basic ski school techniques and now that the sun was shining I took the opportunity to practice some of these, to eradicate some of the bad habits I had fallen into, so increasing my performance with great results!

Sometimes things are outside of our control, they knock our confidence and performance, but by revisiting basic techniques or learning skills can help to refocus the mind, lift the fog, remove bad habits and allow us to perform to our maximum ability.

Very satisfy!

Do we ever get used to change?

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Building on the theme of the last Kudos blog everyone I meet at the moment seems to be facing some type of change e.g a new IT system, a new job, a new leader or someone key in the organisation hands in their resignation, you discover a health condition you need to manage, something you planned to do is now cancelled…. the list is endless.

How quickly we adapt to changes like these are vital for both our own well being and the organisations or teams we belong too. Change can cause worry and stress but equally it can be the cause of excitement and new challenge.

Some people thrive on change and get bored if things stay the same too long while others love it when everything is predictable, structured and routine. When we talk to people about what motivates them the discussion can go into these two types of reaction and it helps if you recognise which group you belong too.

High performers and those interdependent people, we all strive to be and love to work alongside always have the ability to adapt quickly to changes and embrace new situations.

So if you ever find yourself thinking or saying any of the phrases in the photo above think again. Could you look at the situation differently and maybe the change wont be as difficult as you originally thought. Try it the next time a change comes your way, and it will do very soon !

Changing Jobs – Leaving the Comfort Zone and how a job coach can help

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There are many reason why we need to change jobs, a dislike, redundancy, ill health or just a need to take ourselves out of our comfort zone. We like familiar things, we enjoy being surrounded with people we feel at ease with; we like our 10.30 cup of coffee and we like our surroundings, after all it is important that you wake up in the morning wanting to go to work. Whatever the reason if you want to progress you know it is time for a change, so what is stopping you?

It may be a long time since you have been in the jobs market, and although you promised yourself to keep your CV up to date it probably needs a good overhaul to make it more current and truly reflect your most up to date skills. Most of us use social media these days and many recruiters will check out your online activities, would yours be update, or maybe you don’t have a social media presence at all. Then there’s thoughts of attending an interview, maybe you haven’t done that for some time or since leaving school! For those who suddenly find themselves in this situation through redundancy it can be quite frightening, and for those stepping outside their comfort zone it is a daunting prospect, but what of the opportunities you may be missing.

A fresh challenge, meeting new people, reminding yourself of what you are good at, personal development and reward has a real feel good factor. So how can using a job coach help? We understand how terrifying it can be to leave a job, some people jump without a plan in place, but a more strategic approach would give you a revitalized sense of purpose. Using a job coaching service will provide you with a good source of help, confidence, inspiration, and feedback and can help you to present yourself in the best way possible to help you secure that job. A job coach can help you identify gaps, overview you’re CV, help with mock interview techniques, focus on social media and more….

So when it comes to getting outside your comfort zone think about putting a solid plan in place, this will renew your confidence, highlight all those things you are good at and have probably forgotten and help you to present yourself in the best possible way . This will help you to adapt to the market place and help you to secure that all important new job.

For more information- kudos My job coach visit http://bit.ly/1hkaq5a

Form Your Future

your futureOver the past few weeks in a variety of our workshops a common theme has emerged. When trying to secure a job or trying to progress within a company ,people are coming across barriers. We hear phrases like “ I have applied for lots of jobs but heard nothing” or “ the agencies said they would ring back and they haven’t” or “there is nowhere for me to progress in this company” or “that department never has any vacancies or “none of the managers are ever going to leave so I will never get promotion”.

There is a common theme with all of these statements… the individuals are not taking the action upon themselves; they are waiting for others to take action on their behalf.

At a presentation last week one senior manager asked a great question “so what do you plan to do about it then?” This is exactly the thought provoking question that needs to be asked so that we as individuals realise if we want something badly enough then we need to take ownership ourselves. Everyone is extremely busy and they do intend to get back to you, they do intend to look out for career opportunities for you but unfortunately its not their top priority and other things on the to do list take over.

Make your future your priority, decide what you want to achieve, identify those people that can help you but make it easy for them… you drive the action, keep it a priority, don’t give up, keep communicating, consider alternatives. Take ownership for your own future , you may be surprised how quick things happen when you do?

This is my first job so how can I offer experience ? – Tips on how to use transferable skills

You have prepared and researched, you have lots of enthusiasm and energy, self-belief, a good academic background and a real interest for the job, but you know the only thing you don’t have is a huge amount of experience to offer, or so you might think.

Understanding transferable skills can really help sell yourself and show how skills you may have developed through education , hobbies and personal interests will help to show how rounded you are . These early skills could show how you would fit with the ethos of a company and how they could be applied to a particular role for which you may be applying. Keep these relevant and do not go over the top or make them up, use examples rather than statements to demonstrate.

“I am a team player” means nothing on its own, however, “every weekend for the last 3 years I have played football for a local team”, not only shows you are a team player but shows commitment and that as part of a team you are able to give and take instruction, you might be responsible for taking subs, so trust and handling of money shows you are prepared to accept responsibility. Leadership could be also be added to the list if you have captained the team. So through one simple activity you can soon give someone an indication of how you have developed and how you might fit into an organisation.

Think of other examples that could demonstrate how you
• Relate to others
• Communicate – give or take instruction
• Make Decisions
• Organisation and Plan your time
• Accept responsibility

Use that summer job as a waiter to identify skills you learnt, in time management; getting food to the customer on time and hot, communicating with customers, ensuring you understood their requirements and passing them to the kitchen; how in dealing with difficult or problem customers you were able to show flexibility and maybe accept responsibility, think of examples to demonstrate a situation and how you dealt with it to ensure the customer returned.

Travel experiences, clubs/societies , community projects and voluntary, work are another excellent example of transferable skills, someone can learn a lot about your values and how you interact with different cultures , differing abilities and what things are important to you.

So you do have skills to offer after all. Read the role for which you are applying and pick out the skills that you think they are looking for, and then prepare two or three simple examples to demonstrate how your skills can relate to them, you will also find that you will talk with passion about these things because they will be real to you. Finally don’t forget that once you have a job, update your CV regularly with all the new skills you learn, this will help when applying for further jobs or promotions.

Are there any questions you would like to ask?

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So you get to the end of the interview and then you are asked if you have any questions. I have often met people who struggle with this and flounder because they think that all their questions have been answered and feel they have nothing more to say.

Actually  this as an excellent opportunity to help improve your chances of getting the job , to really show your interest  and to evaluate if the job is what you are looking for, so seize the opportunity with both hands.

This is your chance to find out more about what the job entails. If this has already been covered acknowledge it but add that you would like to know more.

Ask more  about  day to day expectations  , does the job include travel;  if so how often, if you are required to work to tight deadlines , question if they are daily , quarterly ;  internal or customer focused.

Will you be given specific training and be able to develop your skills further; if so how, through courses, mentoring or on the job training; does this suit you learning style.

 Establish if it is an existing or new role, are there opportunities for you to grow it further and what the expectations might be. This is also a great way to recap on the skills that you can bring to the role and the organisation, remember it is always a two way thing.

Don’t feel you need to bombard the interviewer with questions , but digging deeper on a couple of areas that have been discussed or that are of particular relevance  to you will show your interest in the role at the same time as satisfy yourself that it is a position that you really want .

If you really like the sound of the job, then conclude by letting them know that you are interested, but don’t leave thinking I wished I had asked that question, the opportunity is there and with prior research and understanding of the role you are applying for will generate the questions that will add to your chances of success.

 

Smashing The Jar?

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What will the 2013 jar reveal?

A year ago tonight, after a few too many wines over a dinner table in Bristol  we started to talk about new years resolutions for 2013. I volunteered to co-ordinate everyones commitments and keep them in this pink jar until tonight a year later!

It will be interesting to see later on this evening whether all us can remember

1) What did we all  intend to do in 2013?

2) How well have we individually done in achieving what we set out to achieve?

3) Did any original intentions change due to circumstance or did we make a conscious effort to make a change to our goals?

4) Do we want to repeat the exercise this year?

If I reflect personally on these questions and 2013 it would be the following

Yes I can remember what my two goals were clearly. I have exceeded my intention with one of them and adapted the second but feel good progress on that one as well; so overall a massive sense of achievement. Yes I would like to repeat the exercise again as publically committing too and being accountable for your goals to someone else is a powerful process to adopt.

I also met some very inspiring new people throughout 2013  and I am thankful for this. I love it when you learn new skills and meet new people who add different perspectives.  This to me is the key to a good year “never stop learning or expanding your circle of influencers”. Professionally and personally this enables you to continually grow and share this knowledge onto others.

I wonder what the jar will hold for 2014?

Are You Making Enough Space?

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Make space to enjoy your surroundings

Someone asked me this question earlier in the year regarding my diary management, however as the months have gone on I have used this question for both my own time management but also in some of the coaching conversations that I am having with our clients.

How often do we look at how we are using our time and assess are we spending the time on the right things. In our Time Management Programmes we state that one resource that we all have equally unlike money, talent, skills etc is time. We all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 12 months in a year. How we use it, however is our choice.

  • When it comes to Job Hunting , are you making enough space in the diary for networking, putting your face in front of the agencies? So that people see your personality rather than just a curriculum vitae on their desk.
  • When it comes to Leading People are you making time for quality 1-1’s with your direct reports? To understand their individual personality and motivation.
  • When you are Running a Business are you making time to put together a solid strategic plan? Schedule some time away from the office to simply think where do you want to take the business.

No matter what role you have, and why this question was originally asked of me was, are you making enough space in your diary for “unstructured time” so that you are not running from one meeting or appointment to another?

Enjoy the space.