The Daily Recruiter

The Ezine for Executive Managers … brought to you by The SearchLogix Group.

How To Avoid Being a Technician In Other Clothes

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Written by:  Naphtali Hoff  (

Without question, one of the hardest things for a person to do in business is to take the next step from being a great worker to becoming a successful leader.

Most people start at the bottom of the employment chain as a “technician,” working hard to produce a consistent, predictable product, service or solution as mandated from above. Whether it be a craftsman developing widgets, a coder producing code, a banker managing transactions, a salesperson making sales or a repairman fixing appliances, these technicians do their jobs day in, day out. Some do it so well that they soon are promoted to the next level, that of manager or leader.

Others might decide that they can do the work as well if not better than their boss and choose to venture out on their own and start their own business. In other words, they jump from being a technician to a self-anointed entrepreneur.

(These progressions borrow from the teachings of Michael Gerber, founder of E-Myth Worldwide.)

Naturally, the problem is that great technicians don’t always become great managers, leaders or owners. They are deeply rooted in their work and understand it well. But that may not translate into having the ability to provide guidance, direction and vision to others around them.

Nor does it mean that they will have developed the leadership skills to communicate and gain the support of, let alone elevate and inspire. those around them. Their technical successes also cannot ensure that they will become great business owners and find ways to grow their enterprises and build equity.

The frequent result is that many revert to doing the technical work, both because they’re still really good at it and also since they don’t know what else to do to make a contribution. But their team and business ultimately are the ones that suffer.

Technicians who become managers/leaders/owners need to begin with a shift in mindset. They can no longer see themselves as the ones tasked with doing the work. That must become the responsibility of others. Moreover, they should start to view their technical knowledge as an encumbrance, to the degree that it focuses them on their own tasks, skills and successes rather than on their team’s. Success will only come when they shift attention to how to guide their people and build their businesses to achieve long-term success.

Here are some other steps that can help the new manager et al succeed in their new role.

Listen well. The first step towards strong relationships is listening. Listen actively and intently to your people to build bridges and gain insights.

Communicate steadily. Keep your people in the loop through regular communication, whether in written or digital formats or via conversations and meetings. Let them know what’s going on and what you need from them for your team or business to win.

Gain small, early wins. Find easy ways to gain a sense of accomplishment and people’s trust. Identify easy, low-stakes improvement opportunities that will build positive momentum.

Learn to think more broadly. Instead of thinking in terms of technical tasks, ask yourself what your people need to succeed. Also become more mindful of big-picture items such as missions and vision, market conditions and trends, competitors, and the like.

Be a motivator. Find ways to get your people going, ideally through intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivators. If you are unsure how to do this, think of others who have motivated you to perform and the techniques that they used to do so.

Delegate. Find ways to empower your people and build their own sense of leadership and efficacy. This will also free you up for other work.

Learn new skills. Be willing to learn new things and get beyond your comfort zone. No great leader starts with a full toolkit. And no great leader ever thinks that he/she has arrived, especially in today’s ever-changing work and technological environment. Commit to ongoing learning about everything that is important to your work — management, leadership, business development and/or technical skills — to best guide and support your people.

Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, (@impactfulcoach) became an executive coach and organizational consultant following a career as an educator and school administrator. Check out his new leadership book, “Becoming the New Boss.” Read his blog.

5 Ways to Lead Change in a Change-Averse Environment

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Written by:  Jon Lokhorst (

Despite the constancy of change in today’s global marketplace, the environment for change in many organizations is unfriendly at best. Few organizations have the appetite for change found at Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other innovative firms. I work extensively with CPAs, CFOs, and other technical professionals; a group not known for its propensity to change.

As a leader, you recognize that when the pace of internal change lags the pace of change in the external environment . . . well, it’s not good news. But what do you do in a context that resists change? How can a leader initiate and navigate change in a change-averse industry or culture? Here are five approaches to overcome barriers to change in these situations.

Launch a “CEO for a Day” forum.
Host town meetings with workers from across all levels of your organization to ask what they would do differently if they were CEO for a day. Offer a structured brainstorming conversation that invites new ideas. Start with questions that generate ways to improve current practices. Then move to explore new opportunities.

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Motivating Employees Isn’t About Making Them Happy

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Written by:  Cy Wakeman (

As a leader, you have probably been told that you’re in charge of motivating employees. You’ve been pitched programs and tools that will allegedly build a happy, motivated workforce, and you’ve attended seminars that teach strategies for improving morale.

These programs and tools are well-intentioned, but deliver few results. Leaders can’t motivate others, because people make their own choices about motivation, accountability, commitment, and happiness. So for leaders, it’s an impossible task to create that feeling in someone else. The expectation that leaders should keep employees engaged and happy sets them up for failure.

Instead of trying to change people, leaders should think about directing their energy in the direction that creates positive results. That means coaching teams to understand that their value at work comes from using skills and expertise to succeed in less-than-perfect realities instead of waiting for perfect circumstances. It means directing energy from “why we can’t” into “how we can.”

Here are three approaches that can help shift energy into positive results:

Seek clarity
Over-communicate what you do know and be honest about what you don’t know. Help your teams edit their stories about what is and is not occurring. Much of what we stress about is part of our story, not reality. Help your employees to put their current reality into perspective by asking helpful questions for self-reflection such as, “What do we know for sure? What’s the next best thing you could do to help?” Great leaders help their teams remove some self-imposed stress and suffering by helping them focus on what we know today and how they can contribute to the next right action.

Work with the willing
Too often during challenging times, leaders begin to lower expectations and accept less from their employees. Insist on buy-in each and every day. According to academic research I conducted, a leader often spends an extra 80 hours per year trying to win over an employee who is in a chronic state of resistance, with only a 3% chance of success. Instead, work with those already on board and start by reaffirming the employee’s commitment and willingness. Some great questions for self-reflection are, “What are you willing to commit to? How can you contribute to our goal?” A leader can call their employees to succeed in spite of challenging circumstances and encourage them to use their natural creativity to reach their goals.

Challenging times themselves aren’t demotivating for ready, willing, and highly accountable employees. They’re often an opportunity for them to get creative and use their skills. And this is where you can transform talent and productivity—by differentiating rewards. Committed, resilient and high performing employees want differentiated rewards, often in the form of challenging and purposeful work alongside other like-minded, high performing colleagues. Let their motivation be built by gaining resiliency in overcoming difficulties under the direction of a great leader who cares about them and recognizes their great achievements.

Think Inside the Box
Many leaders believe that motivation and engagement come from lack of stress or issues at work, when in fact engagement and happiness come from the level of personal accountability one takes for their circumstances. Encouraging employees to “Think Outside of the Box” can actually derail motivation levels because it comes across as “Pie in the Sky” and out of touch with reality. Redirect employee energy from “why we can’t” into to “how we can” by encouraging them to “Think Inside the Box.” The “Box” is made up of the desired goal and the constraints currently in place, such as a freeze on headcount or limited funding. By “Thinking Inside the Box” you will generate real solutions that respect the very real constraints of current challenges.

Instead of trying to take on the impossible task of motivating and inspiring your team members, the best way to bring out the best in your people is to help them develop a healthy relationship with reality. Skills, mindsets and competencies become transferrable, and employees can find success wherever they land, which provides the ultimate foundation for the employee to build upon their own source of motivation.

Cy Wakeman is a Drama Researcher and New York Times Bestselling author. Her latest book is No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement and Deliver Big Results.

How To Spot The One Employee Who Should Never Work At Your Company

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David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom , CONTRIBUTOR (

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

David C. Novak, Former Chief Executive Officer of Yum! Brands Inc. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

We’ve been honored to pick the brains of numerous leaders throughout our careers. In fact, we often discuss how lucky we both are to get a glimpse into how many of these leaders think. However, during a recent interview, we were more than surprised when David Novak, the former CEO of one of the world’s largest restaurant companies shared some advice that initially caught us off guard. “I’ll tell you the secret to great leadership,” Novak told us. “It’s to never have a certain type of person working for your organization.”

That comment got our attention. At first, it was actually a little unsettling—especially coming from a guy with the credentials of Novak. Yum! Brands, Inc., has more than 43,000 restaurants in more than 130 countries and territories—think Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC. As a leader, Novak has been recognized as “2012 CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive magazine, one of the world’s “30 Best CEOs” by Barron’s and one of the “100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World” by Harvard Business Review. He’s world-renowned expert on recognition. And, he’s currently the Founder of oGoLead, a digital platform created to help build stronger leaders, as well as the author of two bestselling books.

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How to Capture an Audience in 7 Simple Steps

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Written by:  Diane Gottsman…Owner, The Protocol School of Texas@dianegottsman


From smartphone screens to their own thoughts, it is difficult to capture and maintain the attention of your audience. Here are some helpful ways to give an engaging presentation.

When giving a presentation, keeping listeners focused on what you are saying is a kind of competition. All kinds of distractions are competing to lure your audience away, from smartphone screens to their neighbors to their own thoughts. It’s important to grab their attention from the start and maintain a connection throughout your speech.

Here are 7 ways to keep your audience engaged:

Plan to Succeed
Great speakers have an outline and know their material backward and forwards, but when it comes to standing up in front of an audience, you must be able to speak from the heart. Presenting information in a natural, conversational manner is the result of thorough drafting, editing and multiple rounds of rehearsing. Although public speaking can be a nerve-wracking pursuit, your comfort level will increase as you prepare. Plan on putting in the prep time necessary to deliver an “effortless” speech. Mark Twain once stated, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

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Leaders Don’t Cry, and Other Lies

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Written by:  Steve McKee (

Each month, When Growth Stalls examines why businesses and brands struggle and how they can overcome their obstacles and resume growth. Steve McKee is the president of McKee Wallwork + Co., an advertising agency that specializes in working with stalled, stuck and stale brands. The company was recognized by Advertising Age as 2015 Southwest Small Agency of the Year. McKee is also the author of “When Growth Stalls” and “Power Branding.”

SmartBrief offers more than 200 newsletters, including SmartBrief on Leadership and newsletters for small businesses and marketers and advertisers.

Strong. Stalwart. Stoic. Unflappable. The defining characteristics of a leader. Or are they?

I used to think they were. In fact, in my younger days, I thought showing emotion was weak. Grow up watching movies like “Patton, “First Blood,” “Die Hard,” “Gladiator” and (a classic) “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” and you get conditioned into thinking that real leaders don’t cry and, perhaps, don’t even feel.

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10 Questions to Ask Your Employees Every Quarter

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Written by:  Chris Hallberg (

MOST LEADERS (the less than great ones) can become afraid of learning their employees’ true feelings towards the company and its overall structure. In turn, they shy away from even initiating such conversations and asking the important questions.

Strong leaders, on the other hand, happily ask these questions with an eye on making things better for their team. When everyone is heard and acknowledged, only then can a leader make the right decisions and give each employee what he or she needs. If you don’t ask, who will?

1. What is your overall satisfaction with your team?
This question is pretty straightforward, but perhaps the most powerful. As a manager, it allows you to gain access to the big picture—providing key understanding on what’s working and what isn’t, directly from your staff. It’s no secret that dissatisfaction with overall team performance is a primary reason for top talent to exit. Taking the initiative to ask your employees for feedback, and frequently, will not only provide you with valuable insight, but put you in a position to rectify concerns before the damage is done.

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Holidays Aren’t The Only Time for Leadership GIFTs

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Written by Julie Winkle Giulioni (

The holidays are a time when many leaders find themselves scrambling simultaneously to meet year-end business goals and punctuate the season with their staffs. Too frequently, the stress overtakes the joy, and gifts become another obligatory to-do on a never-ending list.

What employees really want doesn’t come in a box or require a bow. And it’s certainly not restricted to December. What employees wish for are the special GIFTs that leaders can offer all year long.

Over the past 20-plus years in the leadership-development arena, I’ve never met a person who said they received too much recognition. But I’ve met many who report getting woefully too little. Positive feedback is one of the most cost-effective actions a leader can take to elevate morale, engagement and performance. Catching others doing something well grows that behavior. It also shines a spotlight for the rest of the team on what you value, thus magnifying the message.

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5 Tragic Losses Caused by ‘Someday Syndrome’

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‘Either get busy living or get busy dying.’


“You have Parkinson’s Disease,” said the doctor. It was September 22, 2011—the day before my 46th birthday. While not usually fatal, Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease. This means it inevitably worsens over time. There is no cure. I was suddenly facing the prospect of limited mobility as my future unfolded.

In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne says to his pal Red as they sit in the prison yard, “It comes down to one simple decision. Either get busy living or get busy dying.” My life had taken an unexpected and unpleasant turn, but it was not over.

I decided to get busy living.

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Wellness at Work

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It’s all part of a welcome health epidemic—sometimes known as the “Thrive Revolution”—that’s taking a 360-degree approach to workplace wellness programs, going beyond gym memberships and weight loss support to create a healthier, happier workforce.

“Thriving is about creating a community workplace culture that promotes succeeding at life as well as work – not just how physical health or wellness is defined,” says Renee Moorefield, chair of the Wellness at Work initiative at the Global Wellness Institute and founder of Wisdom Works, a firm that has spent decades helping global brands including Coca-Cola, Nike and Merck recraft their health offerings.

Companies including Capital One, Zappos, Procter & Gamble, Ben & Jerry’s, Nike, Google and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been quick to embrace this philosophy, which results in increased loyalty because more people love their jobs.

“When I have the space and time to take care of myself throughout the day, that means I am more productive when I need to be and can more fully rejuvenate when I’m away from the office,” says Michele Titolo, lead software engineer at Capital One, which designates “sleeping nooks” throughout the office for midday naps. At its C1 Labs in San Francisco, they even take advantage of ceiling space, where ladders lead to high-above-ground sleep nooks.


Companies increasingly are willing to go the extra mile to keep workers and their families healthy and happy, to keep health costs down and retention and loyalty up, and create an increased sense of camaraderie. Hip tech giants and digital startups remain on the leading edge of businesses thinking differently about workplace health, thanks to millennials redefining how work priorities socialize with their personal time and life goals.

At its campus in Mountain View, Calif., Google offers everything from kickboxing, nap pods and onsite swimming pools to a slide for people who want an energy thrill getting from floor to floor. Over at Zappos in the company quad, you’ll see people playing tetherball, volley ball, shooting hoops and generally playing around on Recess Tuesdays. On other days, as part of Zappos’ Wellness Adventures initiative, wellness coordinators randomly grab people from different teams away from their work to go and do something fun instead. It could be trampolining, laser tag or taking a quick golf lesson.


Ron Goetzel has spent three decades evaluating the impact of workplace wellness programs and their effectiveness in both helping workers improve their health on the job and lowering health costs for employers and their employees. He’s senior scientist and director of the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

His research has proven that companies that take their employees’ health seriously—and don’t just pay it lip service—outperform the S&P 500 (the equity performance index tracking the 500 largest U.S. companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ) by a whopping 3 to 1.

“It happens successfully when enlightened leadership says, ‘Wait a minute—the most important asset we have is our gifted people.’ Then they create a culture that reinforces health and well-being, where the boss frequently articulates the company’s health offerings and perks and encourages the full workforce to take advantage of great wellness benefits without feeling guilty.”

Goetzel points to winners of the C. Everett Koop National Health Award, which recognizes outstanding worksite health promotion and improvement programs, such as that of O’Neal Industries (ONI) in Birmingham, Ala. The family-owned chain of metals service centers created a health and wellness program called LIVESMART. Employees get their health numbers checked regularly—blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, blood glucose, physical activity levels and tobacco use—but also take part in fun time-out programs, like one that gets workers from the warehouse to the executive suite moving down the hallways to the sounds of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” Today, LIVESMART has saved ONI nearly $500,000 in health costs, with a return on investment of $1.52 for every dollar spent on keeping the company healthy. And that means more money to invest back into workers’ wellness.


Target—a $70 billion company with more than 320,000 employees nationwide in its stores, distribution centers and at corporate HQ in Minneapolis—takes workplace wellness very seriously, and its numbers also tell a story of success.

“In less than 12 months, more than 28,000 employees have already had their numbers checked at 2,000-plus biometric screenings and wellness events,” says Stephanie Lundquist, Target’s chief of human resources. “We leveraged $78,000 for our Team Life initiative, and last year alone saved $12.4 million for our team.”

Even more crucial, Target’s programs—like many companies’—have literally saved lives. Kim Wier, a senior technology services manager in Minneapolis, was six months overdue for her annual mammogram, just too busy with life to take time out to go and get it done. Then Target brought a Mammo a-Go-Go bus to her office—a mobile mammography unit from the Jane Brattain Breast Center—and she was quick to sign up.

“It was great,” says Wier, 51. “I just walked down to the parking lot and was back at my desk within half an hour.” The following morning, a radiologist called. Her mammogram showed a suspicious lump. After an ultrasound and an urgent biopsy, she says, “The nurse confirmed I did, in fact, have breast cancer. I met with the surgeon right away, and within 10 days had surgery and was on my way to recovery.”

Wier credits Target’s Team Life wellness offerings for saving her life. “It was so, so fortuitous that Target gives us these opportunities and I found my cancer,” she says. “Having that mammogram right there at work saved me from chemo, a probable mastectomy and all sorts of horrible treatments. It makes me feel joyful and grateful to work for Target.”

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