Stop looking at the years of experience!

There are many recruiters and hiring managers who still evaluate candidates for their number of years of experience. What do I think? It is time to stop this practice.  The real focus needs to be on the quality of the years of experience, not the quantity.

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One year of experience in a company is different from one year into another one. There are companies that give visibility and autonomy to their employees; other organisations do not. There are companies which constantly innovate and other companies do not. We need to evaluate the quality of the years of experience considering the better fit for our organisation. The amount of years of experience is a wrong perspective on talent, potential and core capabilities.

You need to understand if you are a good cultural fit or not.

The organisational culture creates unique workplaces. Why? Companies are built by individuals. For example, two companies of the same sector and with the same organisational structure are different due to the social component.

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When you think about your career, it’s important to understand to which kind of organisational culture you belong to. Not all organisations are the right fit for you and you are the right fit for them… yes, even if the role your applying for matches your experiences.  You have to think about the type of supervision you want (autonomy in the role vs close collaboration with your manager), the visibility (work in a client role facing or not) and the collaboration required in the team. It is important also to say that these aspects (autonomy, visibility, and collaboration) vary during your career. You need to evaluate these aspects in the specific period of time and in relation to your career development goals and ambition.

Finally, remember that the cultural context in your organisation changes over time. It changes and evolves as you do.

Presenting well? It is not so easy

We often think that a great presenter is the one who always uses a specialised and technical language. On the contrary, when we use simple words we think that we are showing a lack of knowledge.

In order to impress the audience, we tend to overcomplicate our way of presenting. I did it too, of course. We want to impress the audience and we want to be perceived as subject matter experts. Are we sure that it is the right approach?

When we feel that we are losing the attention of the audience, we change our strategy. Completely. How? We try to simplify our messages using examples and speaking slowly. We need to keep in mind that when we explain a process, we present slides or when we are just telling a story we are appreciated only if understood.

 

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When I interview candidates, it often happens that they try to impress. However, the result is not always great.  Being specific and giving details is clearly good. Extremely good.  Unfortunately, when we are under emotional and time pressure, we risk losing our focus.  In these cases, the answers result too complicated and full of not relevant details. Answering in a simple way is often much more effective.

It is often said: less is more.

Being curious? Do not forget about it!

We often read articles about the skills and the competencies that each professionals should have. It is clearly important to have good analytical skills, being able to communicate well and navigate the politics of your organisation.

We should consider the programming skills, not only for software development roles. Steve Jobs was used to say that everyone should be able to program. Why? Not because we need to be developers; we need to be able to program and writing software because it “will teach us how to think”. He was used to say the same thing about studying Law as different approach to reasoning. In other words, you should train yourself to think with a different mind-set.  To be honest, it reminded me what my high school teacher was used to say about Latin language. However,  I’d really like to invite all to watch Steve Jobs’ interview with Robert Cringely in 1995 … impressive accuracy in presenting scenarios that will happen 20 years later.

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The interview made me think how is important to have curiosity. Our curiosity is the engine of many of our actions and it is the energy that boosts our knowledge. You do not need only to show curiosity, you need to be curious. Why is curiosity so important?  We discover something new thanks to our curiosity. If we are not curious, we’d never discover our areas of development. Doing research, the stress (or pleasure) of learning new things, reading, researching… These are the results of our curiosity.  Curiosity is the mechanism that pushes you into difficult situations and it is also what pushes us to travel and discover new places. Curiosity is also the desire to know other people. Understand them, do not understand them and try to understand why we are not understanding them.

Being curious comes for free… let me think about a MBA….

This is not another post about time management!

Our behaviour at work is the result of the perceptions of the reality around us. For example,  the perceptions related to a particular work environment are different amongst the employees of the same organization. There are employees who find the work environment very enjoyable and other ones who hate it.

One important perception is the one related to “time”. Let’s start with a simple example. We usually feel that the time is flying while we’re doing something that we like. On the contrary, we have a completely different experience when we are part of something (task, project, activity) that does not stimulate us and/or does not boost our creativity. As a consequence,  it is difficult for a manager to interpret the individuals’ perception of time. Why? We interpret our roles/task/activities in a complete different ways.

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However, the managerial role is not tricky as for what I am going to describe now. Specifically, what is the perception of time with respect to success or failure?

Well, the whole thing becomes even more complicated and less generalizable than what said about the interesting (or not) tasks . The reaction towards the time spent to a complete an activity can be positive if you have completed something quickly; however, it can be perceived also positive if you have finally completed a task after a lot of time; why? you feel relieved.

 

Moreover, how much time we dedicate to the celebration of success or thinking about failures? Again, another perception and interpretation which depends on personality, attitude and also the work environment.

Yes. lt is very complicated. There are cases, such as in sales departments, where the achievements ( for example new deals) are celebrated. But, as the group celebrates, what is the achiever thinking? Is that celebration perceived as enough? Or is it needed more time for an individual (personal) self-reflection?  

Yes. It is complicated.  Your perception of the time is simply a fundamental dimension of your relationship with your job.

 

What’s the simplest thing to do for creating a collaborative team?

What’s the simplest thing to do for creating a collaborative team? I will tell you in a minute.

It happens often to read several articles about team building and collaboration; the fundamental elements which are usually presented as fundamental to create the “chemistry” are:trust, clear communication , clear goals and having an inspiring manager. In order to achieve this framework, organisations usually invest money for programs or specific initiatives. I imagine that it is happened to most of us to participate in offsites, social events or simple team meetings where your manager defines (or redefines) the team goals and/or the way of working.

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But, are these official occasions enough? Do they really create that needed chemistry? Probably they do, but not completely. The first reason is due to the fact that not all the organisations invest in this kind of initiatives . Secondly, even if they do,  there is a lack of continuous development which follows these events; in other words, there are not initiatives which follows the official event.
So, which is the simplest thing to do? Creating a culture of gratitude. Saying “thank you” when someone is working with you, saying “thanks” to your boss for the opportunities and supports are just few example. Recognition is fundamental in order to creating a good teamwork atmosphere and a needed collaboration…

Do you usually thanks people only when they have done something for you? Better to open up your horizon to create a better work framework.

Being pessimistic is not helping you, trust me!

In our work life we ​​face many challenges that see us as “winner or loser” ; therefore, our emotions  are triggered depending on how the successes and failures are balanced (if they are). The particular thing is that our reactions are often the result of interpretations of such situations and not directly related to the result of that; in other words, even in the case we do not know yet the outcome of our action/project/delivery we guess the possible outcome. One thing often mentioned in this blog is that usually the positive outcomes are seen as normal/expected achievements; on the contrary, the negative ones become the only ones which have an impact on our self evaluation and self confidence. This is also why organizations should celebrate more their successes with the aim of improving the organizational culture and performances. Celebrate!

 

Diapositiva1 Recently I started working on changing my point of view about successes and what is the real impact of mental anticipation of work outcomes. When we expect to see the result of what we’ve done, we may incur in anxiety and a “complaining mode”. But why complaining? Is this helping us in what we are doing? Absolutely not; firstly, a complain creates only negative thoughts and emotional overload; secondly, it is true that complaining can help release the tension but the results are only in the short term; what actually happens in the long run is that our negative thoughts create a mental framework based on pessimism. Consequence? We waste part of our cognitive energies.

So why not leave the space to positive thinking? It is an important (mental) framework change;  it does not mean that we will able to change the output of our work thanks to positive thinking; but actually complaining is not helping either. Positive thinking allows you to wait the outcome of your work with less anxiety.  Why would you think that something is necessarily going to be wrong? There are cognitive studies which speak about of self-fulfilling prophecies. Essentially these authors think that our thoughts modify our behaviors and attitudes which consequently impact our outcomes (others speak about faith). You could be skeptic about this , but trust me you will be less stressed.

Personal and employer branding on social media… how?

Being present on social media is clearly not a new trend for companies and for who want to be a brand ambassador. There are companies or people that are doing better than others, but the common trend is the need of being part of this world full of opportunities. Let’s say that nowadays having a LinkedIn corporate page dramatically increases the opportunities to be followed as employer of choice; it is not only attempt to engage already interested professionals but also improve company’s positioning in the labor market in terms of employer’s awareness and appeal.

Diapositiva1As true for all strategies and action plans, there are companies which launch long-term or short term strategies. Regarding the second case, increasing postings and activities dramatically enhance your online presence (especially if it is the beginning of a social implementation) and which is your awareness. The real difference which defines the success or failure of online strategies it is determined exactly by this; when your first online “boom” is not supported by a constant engagement and a long term strategy, you will see the boom decreasing with time. Professionals who work in social media in advertising know how important is the community management for example; for the fact that we are moving more and more on the idea of ​​personal branding which supports official employer branding strategies, it happens that becoming a brand ambassador implies the improvement and implementation of a long-term strategy. Multiplying posts to being visible on Linkedin or social media it is an example of improving quantity (short term), but just because everyone does it, you must do something different to stand out, unique content and better than others (long term goal). Personalization of the content is just one of the central aspects of success. Another? Creativity

Are you sure that you want to write a cover letter for your application?

For those who are not familiar with HR matters, recruitment processes or human resources subjects are seen as mysterious and complicated topics; it is common thought that there is always something hidden, very difficult to understand. HR professionals are also seen as untold secrets’ holders!

Diapositiva1One of this mystery is related to the fact if when we apply for a job, a part from the CV, we have to add a cover letter. Many would respond with a “definitely, without any doubts, you have to do it”; and at question “why?”, what do they say? The answer comes from the idea that you can introduce yourself to a company in a personal manner, demonstrating motivation and will to join them (assumption more than true).  A part from that, in my opinion, preparing an interesting, well written, concise cover letter is quite complicated. As just said, your presentation has to be reliable but concise; in 10 lines is not exactly easy. In addition to this, the cover letter should be an added value to the curriculum and not a summary of that. Repeating many times helps, but in this case it is superfluous. It’s not over; it is important to underline that we need to be original to making a good impression and stand out from the crowd. A curriculum created with a personal style could easily replace a cover letter. The contact with a company is an opportunity and for this we must try to catch attention in the best way, without doing something “classic”. Now, are you sure to write a cover letter?

Your mind and your work attitude are not on the same page

One of constant activity of our mind is creating and recreating life events; in short, the basic activity of information storage enables us to recall, show and present data and events at a distance of time or to our needs. A classic and familiar example is given by memories that are stored, built and rebuilt. I would focus precisely on the latter, as our memory often attributes elements and activities that perhaps never happened, simply give coherence to itself. This not only involves our memories, but also the image of ourselves; in fact, our image is revived outwards with  a reconstruction, more or less true . In other words our mind leads us to attribute and represent ourselves in certain ways, depending on the situation, which is precisely not, as said, the reality. Going on concrete examples, attribution and positive assessment of behavior depends on simple elements/events as how we are dressed or with a simple handshake. Of course, as usual, our mind tries to attribute to us positive aspects in order to give relief.

Diapositiva1In essence, as said many times, we are looking for a situation of comfort and our mind helps us with this (unfortunately this also happens in total opposite situation, when you enter a process of attributing negative elements, our mind satisfy us). Same process is activated when we think or we are called to define attributes of our work, our tasks and our attitudes. Often risk is that the stronger we go in attributing activities or characteristics that maybe we go more wrong. The mechanism is quite perverse, because it often leads to exaggerating and “mythologizing” of what we can do; then if this process is not checked or limited, it  leads to a real job detachment from reality that you are experiencing. We say that sometimes we should be able to postpone our own judgment on ourselves, trying to deliver mental processes  and the specification (also on paper) to better understand the coherence or the too consistency of our reasoning.