Demand for big data expertise is growing every day, as more and more companies become aware of the benefits of collecting and analysing data. Unfortunately, the number of people trained to analyse this data isn’t growing in line with the demand. This creates a challenge for companies looking to hire expert people, especially for smaller firms less able to compete on salary and benefits.
The good news is that, even if you’re having trouble recruiting data scientists because of stiff competition, or if you simply haven’t got the budget to recruit, you can still access big data skills. Hiring in-house staff isn’t the only way – let’s look at some of the best alternatives.
Focus on attracting or developing certain skills
I believe there are six key skills required to work with big data: analytical skills, creativity, a knack for maths and statistics, computer science skills, business acumen, and communication skills. Rather than hiring people with these skills, you may be able to build on your existing skills in-house. For example, you may have an IT person who already covers the computer science side of things who would love the opportunity to learn about analytics. You could pair them up with a creative, strategic thinker who understands the business’s needs and you’re well on your way to having the skills you need without hiring anyone new.
Nurture your existing talent
Developing your existing people is a brilliant place to start, especially in smaller businesses or companies on a tight budget. Increasingly colleges and universities are putting courses online for free. Some of the courses offer certificates of completion or other forms of accreditation, some don’t. But the skills learned should be more important than a piece of paper.
Excellent examples include the University of Washington’s Introduction to Data Science course, which is available online at Coursera (www.coursera.org/course/datasci), or Stanford’s Statistics One course, also available on Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/course/stats1). For those interested in the programming side of things, check out Codecademy’s Python course.
Thinking outside the box
It’s worth considering unusual sources where you might be able to recruit help, either on a permanent basis or on a temporary basis (such as getting help to analyse data for a one-off project). Universities with a data science department, or any kind of data institute for that matter, are a good place to start. You could offer an internship, taking on some students to help with an analysis project, or you could see if the university is open to a joint project of some kind. If you’ve got data to crunch, they may very well be up for crunching it! In return you could mentor students on the key skills needed to survive in business or offer interview training and practice.
Thinking outside the box is really about finding creative ways to pull the necessary skills together in whichever way works for you. It may be easy to find someone with statistical and analytical skills but they may fall short on business insights or communication skills … but that needn’t be a problem if other staff could help supplement those skills.
Also consider whether there’s an opportunity to create an industry group with other companies facing similar challenges to your own. Even if you’re not keen to share detailed data with these companies (they probably don’t want to with you either), you can still pool resources to get data analysis done on a large scale without necessarily sharing your private data. Remember that data can always be aggregated or anonymised to remove specifics that you don’t want shared.
Harness the power of the crowd
You might consider crowdsourcing your big data project. Crowdsourcing is a way of using the power of a crowd to complete a task. (If you haven’t heard of crowdsourcing before, you’ve probably heard of crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter, which operate on a similar basis – using the power of a crowd to achieve a goal.)
A few crowdsourcing platforms, like Kaggle, now allow thousands of data scientists to sign up for big data projects. A business can then upload the data they have, say what problem they need solving, and set a budget for the project. It’s a great option for companies with a small amount to spend, or those who want to test the waters. But it’s also a regular resource for big firms like Facebook and Google. Some firms are even known to recruit full-time analysts from crowdsourcing platforms if they’ve been blown away by the work they’ve done. This gives you an idea of the quality of talent on crowdsourcing platforms.
Tapping into external service providers
If none of the above options work for you, you can still make the leap into big data. A great way to supplement missing skills, particularly when it comes to the statistical, analytical and computer science aspects, is to hire external providers to handle your data and analytics needs. There are more and more big data providers and contractors springing up who are able to source or capture data on your behalf and analyse it (or work with data you already have). Some big data providers are household names, like Facebook and IBM, but you certainly aren’t limited to big blue-chip companies. There are tons of smaller providers out there who have a great deal of experience working with small and medium-sized firms, or expert knowledge of specific sectors.
As always, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for reading my post. Here at LinkedIn and at Forbes I regularly write about management, technology and Big Data. If you would like to read my future posts then please click 'Follow' and feel free to also connect via Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, and The Advanced Performance Institute.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes can access big data skills – and on almost any budget. My new book Big Data for Small Business For Dummies is packed with ideas and information on how to get started with big data, along with real-life examples from a wide range of sectors.
You might also be interested in my new and free ebook on Big Data in Practice, which includes 3 Amazing use cases from NASA, Dominos Pizza and the NFL. You can download the ebook from here: Big Data in Practice eBook.
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Bernard Marr
"What do you want to do with your life?" It's a question that almost every young adult is faced with after graduating college or university. For some, the answer is simple: grad school, medical school, travel or volunteer. For many, the answer is unclear.
It's difficult to know what you want to do with your life without experience. For me, I tried as much as I could before I graduated university -- including running my own business, which I sold when university ended in order to live in Australia and Singapore -- and gained even more great experiences that shape much of what I have done in life. Today's young adults are tomorrow's leaders, a generation exposed to more information and resources than many of us thought possible. The Internet and social media offer more opportunities for self-education than ever. With this in mind, young adults are asking: Do I need higher education?
(1) There are a lot of lessons that you won't learn in the classroom: A master's program is not an across-the-board answer for all; it really depends on your field of study. When it comes to something quantitative like accounting, an MBA will likely give you a high ROI. If you're going into a field that is more focused on coming up with creative ideas or sales pitches, hands-on experience may be a more effective teaching tool. Learning how to interact and collaborate with people is essential for success. Anyone who works in an office can attest to the fact that good people skills are a necessity.
(2) Soft skills are essential to becoming successful: A broad knowledge is key when it comes to successful networking. It is life experience and self-education that develop these skills; for example, following key entrepreneurial influencers, or writing a daily blog to develop writing skills. Information is more readily available than ever; access to education is literally in the palm of your hand.
(3) Customers want the best experience: When it comes to the market, your level of education becomes much less relevant. Higher education may look great on paper, but it's not going to guarantee that you can satisfy an unhappy customer. There are a plethora of websites and blogs dedicated to sharing knowledge about customer care, entrepreneurship, leadership and the like. I have found these types of resources to be very useful and informative. As a business owner, I actively keep myself informed and up-to-date with the industry. It also connects me to influential people that I can learn from.
(4) When exploring career paths, ask yourself: What does day-to-day work look like? One thing people tend to overlook when pursuing a career is asking this simple, yet necessary, question. Business verbiage is very ambiguous; it's best to ask people working in the field or participate in an internship if you can. Look up blog posts on people's experiences in a given field or reach out to someone who inspires you. Connecting and engaging will help give you an inside look at a career experience.
(5) Temporary work is somewhat of a "stepping stone": Consider this before committing to higher education. Entry jobs provide you the opportunity to get your feet wet and explore different types of work environments. How do you come across these job opportunities? Do your research. LinkedIn is a great tool that reveals people's backgrounds and career evolution and is a good gauge of what kind of experience you'll need.
(6) Ten heads are better than one: If you're interested in entrepreneurship, the incubator model is something to consider. The latest learning experience offers a hub where like-minded individuals can come together, collaborate and learn from one another through hands on experience. Why not start up your own? Another great option is a post-secondary diploma or certificate; these are typically one year in length and often offer a co-op that provides hands-on work experience. There may be opportunities to complete the course online, giving you time to work in conjunction to achieving your degree.
(7) Social media is an essential tool for exploring your passions and planning your future: There is a wealth of knowledge readily available, whether it be reading tweeted articles or watching educational videos like Ted Talks. The important thing is to expose yourself to as much as you can so that you can confidently decide your future endeavours.
Originally Posted On: Huffingtonpost.com
Co-written with Simon Howard of DRYVER.
It seems to be that everywhere we look, there is a new title for a similar role. We’ve seen VP of HR, People and Culture, Happiness, and People. We’ve seen titles that have ‘Ninja’ in them, and organizations that are stripping titles as much as they can. Some organizations are expanding the role of HR faster than others, but one thing seems to be consistent: HR is changing, and the role is only getting more important.
After various hackathons with leaders in the HR space, research on the subject, and experiences we’ve had through the work we are doing at DRYVER, it seems that in many cases, Human Resources is the Hermit Crab that has moved out of its smaller shell an into a much, much bigger one.
Traditionally, the role of HR has, of course, been to look at recruiting, on-boarding, training, benefits, pay, holidays, conflicts, rewards in the workplace, and so on. And while these roles are no less important today, there are often additional responsibilities that many employees in the space have now. In some cases, we would go as far as saying that HR is moving to be included in a larger operations role, while still being focused on people.
Diving in a little further, it became glaringly apparent that employee experience in the workplace is far more important than it was in the past. There is more accessibility to information than we’ve seen before, and as a result, there is more awareness as to where we can be working and why. In many cases, we no longer chase jobs just for the skills to do them, but for the experience at work and the life we are able to live as a result.
And so how does HR play into this evolution of the workplace and how we communicate it?
1. Organization Design
Having HR be at the table for the creation of the organization design or structure is really important in ensuring that people have the resources available to do their best work possible. We’ve seen many articles and books (a great one being Flat Army by Dan Pontefract) that explain that a traditional structure may not be as effective as it once was.
Let’s take an accountant working at a big firm, for an example, and compare it to an accountant working at a golf course, one who works in government, and another who does the books for a restaurant down the street. Though the jobs may be quite similar, how are we articulating the value of the job and the purpose behind it? Purpose is, and will continue to be a great differentiator between companies, especially when skills aren’t.
3. Employee Experience
Perhaps this isn’t as drastic of an evolution as the others, but as we see overall tenure decreasing the the workplace, and the need for a sense of community and belonging increase, there has to be more of an emphasis if we are to keep our best employees. Work has to be something that is bigger than just a 9-5 that we punch in and out of; it has to be an experience where we build community with people that share similar values, wants needs, and expectations.
And so as we see the workplace evolves, and realize that people are the foundation of any business, the role of HR has to continue to expand. Understanding how we differentiate our companies from our competitors, in many cases, comes to the people and the experience on the job. HR is, of course, at the centre of this.
So as you have likely noticed, a lot of the HR groups we work with really embrace their new roles within the respective organizations. Does this mean that the organization is evolving though? Not necessarily. The people in these roles are very good at what they do, but already have full time jobs. A primary reason people bring organizations like DRYVER in is often to help with implementation. Once created, it is easier for them to take the lead.
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Follow Eric on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Check out his TEDx talk here. Also, check out The DRYVER Group for more information.
Originally posted on Linked IN by:Eric Termuende
The all-important interview is spoken about as if it was a single, hour-long event and the sole deter-mining factor upon which jobs are offered. In reality, it is usually a series of interactions that occur over some period of time. In contrast to our private sector colleagues who might be hired by a single department head or hiring official, higher education tends to have multiple stakeholders participating in a series of screening events. Many professions also have the tradition of panel interviews-like search committees-but how and to what degree they use such panels varies significantly. Nonetheless, the all-important interview is usually plural instead of singular.
Interviews are consequential events for organizations since selection is tantamount to making an investment. Rightfully, institutions tend to hedge their bets on making good decisions, and multiple interviews or multiple interactions with candidates are a way to do just that. I advise, in Search Committees: A Comprehensive Guide for Faculty and Staff Searches, that organizations add multiple screening methods to increase the rigor of the selection process and as a method of reducing the potential margin of error. This task can be accomplished by using at least two of the more than a dozen types of interviews. The archetypical search committee, the one-on-one interview with the hiring official, telephone/video interviews, open fora, presentations, and airport interviews are but a few of the types of interviews cited. These do not include screening calls, second interviews, and other interactions with individuals from a future employer.
The first piece of advice for candidates is to assume that every interaction with anyone from an employer is a form of interview. In one of my first blog posts, I noted that everything that you say and do in the entire process will be used against you. If a candidate is rude to the human resources representative who calls to verify the information on their vitae; if they divulge that the college's location is not ideal over dinner; or if one expresses frustration with the university's investment in athletics in contrast to that in humanities - while completely true - still might insult some diehard fans, and all of these will hurt their chance of being offered a position. Second, since multiple screening events should be expected, one should attempt to learn as much about their number and type in advance. Third, one must prepare for all of the interviews and prepare for them appropriately - and differently.
One cannot assume that 'the' interview with the search committee is the only one that matters because it is the group that will make a recommendation. Any meeting with the hiring official matters; his or her opinion, when in conflict with a committee, will almost always rule the day. For administrative positions, candidates often meet with their future direct reports. While this group may not vote, they are often given veto power. If the appointing authority and the search committee likes a candidate but the entire department indicates that they could not work for a candidate because of things said during a meeting with them, it is unlikely the candidate will be hired. Lecture demonstrations and presentations are obvious interview events that one must prepare for fittingly. Town hall meetings or 'Q&A' sessions with an entire department are quasi-presentations that carry weight. Coffee time with the department might appear to be an informal collegial chat, but it is a test. Study, prepare, and cram as necessary.
Telephone and video interviews present their own unique challenges. The stakes are very high as they are hurdles to surmount on the way to a campus invite. Their format and shorter length favors the institution more than the candidate, so effort must be made to make a good impression-all things considered. Prepare, dress formally, utilize a good camera, pay attention to lighting, learn to use the technology in advance, and rehearse the interview with a friend are all guidelines for making a positive impression via Skype® or similar technology. To accommodate the context, speaking clearly, being concise, and making an extra effort to build rapport with the committee - despite the distance - is good advice.
The type of interview should give one some insight into how to prepare. Telephone interviews are big screening devices and questions are most often competency based-designed to determine if one can be successful in the job. Group meetings and open fora are probably occasions to see how one presents and engages with others. A meeting with a leader is probably used to tease out one's philosophy and style of working. That is, does the candidate like to play the game the way the leader likes to play the game? A mismatch is not good for either party. When thinking about how to prepare for any type of interview, lean on Aristotle's wisdom-"Know thy audience." A meeting with faculty senate leaders or future colleagues is different in the most subtle, but important, ways.
Getting 'the' job requires being prepared for multiple interviews, not just preparing to ace 'the' interview. Knowing the number and type of interactions that one will have with campus constituents is a prerequisite to success. Giving due credence to each interaction is a key word of caution as one is truly on stage and being watched carefully in every instance. Preparing for each by appreciating the audience and different modality is critically important.
by Christopher D. Lee, Ph.D., SPHR
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
Originally posted on HigherEdJobs
In life there are those key make-or-break moments that, if bridged correctly, take us to the next important phase in life. The transition from primary school to secondary school is one such moment. And from secondary school to higher learning is another. Then there’s arguably the most important one of all, the bridge from post-secondary to career.
At any point along this journey, if any one of these bridges is not crossed properly (or at all), the ramifications for the remainder of a person’s life are staggering given the realities of life in the 21st Century.
And yet very little is done to prepare or assist the vast majority of Americans who make these transitions. A student is given a certificate or a diploma, the appropriate paperwork is filled out, and she is off to the next phase of her life.
Despite advances in technology, very little about what is known about a student follows that person through each transition. While transcripts will move with a student across each bridge, very little else will. Examples of student work, insights into the ways in which any given student learns best, and important measures of how students engage or work collaboratively or solve problems simply are not passed from teacher to teacher, institution to institution, or institution to employer.
This is a huge disservice, not only to students themselves but to faculty, institutions and employers. Insight into how a student scores on tests is simply not enough information – at least not any more. Whether a student tests well or not is increasingly irrelevant to how a student uses what she or he has learned in real-world situations. The degree to which students are able to demonstrate an ability to deconstruct problems, source necessary information, and put that information to practical use is of far greater importance in our 21st Century world. As is evidence of critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurialism and inventiveness.
All of this is an argument for portfolios—as part of the learning process and as a way for students to cross each critical bridge in their lives, bringing with them all the diverse, holistic evidence of their readiness for the next big set of challenges.
Portfolios used in classroom settings enable a new pedagogy that is focused on blended learning; the use of multimedia in instruction and student work; flipped classroom constructs; and project-based learning. Portfolios also encourage reflection, collaboration, iteration, and engagement with faculty and fellow students.
At Pathbrite, we’ve invented a way for teachers to create 21st Century ways to move standard lesson plans and syllabi into a construct we call Learning Maps. A course can be composed of a series of Learning Maps, each of which have their own set of activities. Maps and activities can be associated with a standard set of rubrics or learning outcome statements.
As students navigate these learning maps and complete each activity, they’re applying what they’re learning in the real world and bringing the application of that learning back in the form of digital artifacts. As activities are completed, the student’s course portfolio is being built out.
Feedback on individual artifacts or a whole portfolio is provided by faculty and / or fellow students in real time. Faculty also score artifacts and the entire portfolio along the way. At the end of an academic term, both the student and the institution have a powerful set of evidence about what that student learned and accomplished in the course, which goes well beyond a bubble test.
As students then begin to prepare to cross that last bridge from post-secondary education to career, they are able to curate from among all their curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, in addition to work experience they may have gained, to create customized portfolios for use in applying to internships or jobs. Employers are then better able to evaluate job readiness and an individual’s fit to available opportunities based on a whole set of variables that are most relevant to their needs (i.e., not grades).
We must arm our students with the right resources to cross each of life’s critical bridges. Moreover, faculty, institutions and employers must have the fullest possible picture of the human being they will be working with in order to set up the best possible conditions for success. Portfolios for classrooms and careers do just that.
Originally posted on: Linked In By: Heather Hiles
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
For years, top women’s colleges have faced a challenge in that the overwhelming majority of high school girls have no interest in attending a women’s college. Student satisfaction surveys show that, once enrolled at these colleges, students love the experience. But many of them arrive despite a college being a women’s institution, not because of it.
That may be changing.
Some of the top women’s colleges are expecting record classes to enroll this month, as yield -- the percentage of admitted applicants who accept admissions offers -- is up significantly. It is relatively easy for well-known institutions to see gains in application numbers, which these institutions and other elite liberal arts colleges are experiencing as well. After all, applying doesn't require a commitment. In the era of the Common Application, applying to one more college is easy for an applicant. Yield is another matter altogether. It is about putting down a deposit and making a real choice. And the women's colleges seeing big gains in yield (and gains of more than a percentage point or two in yield are big) were seeing application gains for years, but not yield gains.
Last year’s decisions about where to enroll came after Election Day 2016, but much of student planning and thinking about college choice that year preceded the Trump election and the Me Too movement. That impact appears to be showing up this year.
To examine the impact, consider Bryn Mawr College. Its 3,166 applications this admissions cycle represent an 8 percent increase over last year. But far more notable is the yield increase from 32 to 36 percent.
Officials at Bryn Mawr and elsewhere sense that young women are deciding that they want a women’s college, not just a liberal arts college that happens to be a women’s college, as was the case in the past.
"These are great schools. People have always been interested in us because we are great schools," said Kim Cassidy, president at Bryn Mawr. "I think, prior to 2016, many high school girls didn't look at us because they didn't understand what it would mean to be at a women's college." Recent events, she said, may be changing their view.
The college has seen a sharp increase in campus visits, she noted, which suggests more women are open to the idea of women's colleges than was the case in the past.
Bryn Mawr is not alone in noting a change in attitudes.
Barnard College has seen a 10 percent increase in applications and a four-percentage-point increase in yield, from 51 to 55 percent, since 2016.
Jennifer Fondiller, vice president of enrollment at Barnard, said she is seeing more essays than in the past on issues of working on political campaigns and of joining protest movements or events, such as the Women’s March. A larger share of essays than in the past touch on issues of sexism or privilege, she added.
From the essays she reads and from talking to applicants, Fondiller said, she believes that those enrolling are “acutely aware of what is happening in the world as current events have motivated them to fight for social justice and equality … They are looking for colleges that will prepare them to enter these challenging spaces and navigate these conversations with confidence.”
Sonya Stephens, president of Mount Holyoke College, is seeing similar patterns.
Applications for this admission cycle were up, from 3,446 to 3,611, a gain that Stephens said didn’t seem unusual, compared to other competitive liberal arts colleges. But the yield gain -- from 30 percent to 34 percent -- is “very striking.”
For the college it will mean a notably larger class of new students arriving later this month. Currently, the estimate is 636, up from 529 a year ago.
Stephens said that the college has a strong commitment to social justice. She and others there have spoken out about women’s rights, including the rights of transgender women, as well as about the rights of immigrants, minority students and other groups.
These values seem to be resonating with prospective students, Stephens said. When colleges survey students about why they enrolled, typically academic programs, prestige, campus life and career goals top the list and most other factors are well below.
When Mount Holyoke this year asked students who decided to enroll why they did so, 54 percent said that awareness of social movements influenced their decision “quite a bit” or “very much.”
Audrey Smith, vice president of enrollment at Smith College, said that applications have been edging up there for a decade, so she doesn’t attribute all of this year’s success to the way young women are looking at the sexism and injustice in the world.
Still, she said, the trends are favoring Smith and other women’s colleges.
Going back a few years, she compared the figures for the class that enrolled in the fall of 2015 to the class that will enroll this month. Applications are up, from 5,006 to 5,780, the admit rate is down from 38 percent to 31 percent and the yield is up, from 32 percent to 35 percent.
“Fewer women are ruling out women’s colleges,” she said. Smith has long had many of its applicants also apply to Mount Holyoke and Wellesley College. Now the college is receiving more cross-apps with Amherst College, Brown University and Wesleyan University. When women sought to apply to such colleges in the past, they typically ruled out women's colleges.
The trend is not unique to the Northeast, although that is where most of the nation's most prestigious women's colleges are located.
Agnes Scott College, in Georgia, hasn't been tracking whether Me Too is motivating more students to enroll. But yield is up this year -- from 25 percent to 30 percent. College officials credit curricular reforms, which have placed more of an emphasis on global and leadership skills. But this may relate to the broader environment for women as well, they said in a statement.
"We typically attract the type of students who are more globally aware of the world and their place in it or who are seeking to expand their understanding of others, and who often have a growing desire to effect positive change, whether that be in their local communities, society as a whole or particular groups of marginalized peoples," said the statement.
This fall's first-year class is expected to be the largest in the college's history.
To be sure, not all leaders of women's colleges have embraced the Me Too movement. At Sweet Briar College, which has struggled with enrollment of late, many students and alumnae were horrified when college officials did not criticize a commencement speech in May that appeared to place the blame for sexual harassment on its victims.
Changing the Message?
For those colleges that are explicitly talking about Me Too and political leaders who are misogynistic, the current moment is prompting some to rethink how they position their institutions.
Cassidy, of Bryn Mawr, said that she sees her college and others being more explicit about the value of women's colleges, while also trying to fight off misconceptions about them.
"I think we need to be really clear that the message is not about separating from society," but about "owning who we are," she said.
"It's really important to talk about the value and the great education students are going to get," she said. For women, that means they are going to get an environment "where women are the focus and the drivers of academic excellence, that these are places where women dominate all fields."
Smith, of Smith College, says she sees much more confidence today in admissions officers drawing attention to the women's college ethos.
"I used to feel it was necessary to put a bushel basket over the light of the wonderful attributes of a women's college," Smith said. "It would tell a student, 'trust me, when you are older, you will understand.'"
"Now we've let that message out into the light, and it's at the front of the discussion."
Originally posted on insidehighered.com by: Scott Jaschik
I am a fitness buff, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 years you know that there are countless diets and other dietary or nutritional products promising all kinds of miraculous results. In my quest for better and better fitness, I have learned (and tried) many of these diet and fitness solutions. It's now a hobby to analyze each new diet, gadget, and technique to understand their underpinnings and how much truth, practicality, and hype exist in each.
Unfortunately, a huge percentage of these products are garbage. Many of them have an idea or principle that is valid, but the results are blown way out of proportion in relation to what can truly be achieved using these solutions. On the other hand, some actually work…
If It's Too Complicated No One Will Use ItTake diets for example, there are quite a number of them with merit. The problem is that some diets are ridiculously complicated and too difficult to maintain, let alone adopt as an ongoing lifestyle. All the current leaders in fitness and nutrition now agree that the ease of going on and maintaining a diet is a major factor (if not the major factor) in the creation of a successful diet. If people can’t effectively start or maintain the diet, it doesn’t matter how effective it could be because they won’t be able to sustain it. And that, my friends, is why I am going on and on about diets in an article about advancing the sale—because closing techniques suffer similar complications.
Name any book on closing, and odds are, I’ve read it. There are books with hundreds of sales closes in them, each with their own clever name, like the board of nails close, or the one-dollar-for-one-hundred-dollars close, or my all-time favorite the Atomic-what-would-Jesus-do-BOMB close (no, I’m not kidding).
Someday, to give you a good laugh and protect the innocent souls out there who might actually consider using one of these gems, I’ll put up a website with a Sales Closing Wall of Shame listing all of the ridiculous closes I’ve collected over the years.
Closing ConfusionJust like the diets, most of these closes are garbage—and by garbage, I mean counter-productive. They will actually hurt your chances of closing the sale. But also like the diets, some of these techniques actually work from time to time. And thus, the confusion sets in.
Some of these old-school closes are very elaborate, are specialized for particular situations, and require intricate setups. Some take hours to execute. This is again where they are like diets. If there is too much to remember, or they are too complicated to execute, then no one will use them. Who wants to take the time to memorize one-hundred-and-one closes—one for every possible situation? What if in the heat of the moment I use the wrong one? Oh, the pressure!
It’s a waste of time and effort to use what amounts to a counter-productive close 90% of the time. It is also totally unnecessary.
The Criteria For a Good CloseA good closing approach should meet the following criteria:
That last point is what we are focusing on here. The approach must be easy enough to follow so that when it comes time to actually use the approach, it's natural and simply second nature. That eliminates all the stress and frustration associated with closing that we sometimes feel.
CLOSING TIP: Helping a customer move towards their goal is an act of service. It shouldn't be difficult or stressful at all. It should be easy.
About the Author: James Muir is professional sales trainer, author, speaker and coach. He is the Best-Selling author of The Perfect Close: The Secret to Closing Sales that shows sales and service professionals a clear and simple approach to increase closed opportunities and accelerate sales to the highest levels while remaining genuinely authentic. Those interested in learning a method of closing that is zero pressure, involves just two questions and is successful 95% of the time can reach him atPureMuir.com.
Originally posted on Linked IN by: James Muir
I work with University students as an Academic Development Specialist - I coach them toward improved academic performance using a variety of tools, techniques and assessments. In 2014 I underwent professional coach training to expand my toolkit, and one of the most powerful learnings in coach training, was the Observer-Action-Result (OAR) model, and the art of powerful questioning. In this article I take you through an explanation of this technique in a student scenario.
Disclaimer: The content, views and opinions expressed in this article are those of myself, the author, and do not reflect the official policies or position of the University of Calgary or International Coach Federation.
I am trained as an ontological coach. What does that mean?
My specialty lies in helping people see and access the unlimited potential that they have. We all are walking around in human bodies and to varying degrees, we have choice in what we decide to do with our lives. We are all making choices daily that lead to a desired future or outcome.
We are all capable of anything, but we all go different ways.
Why? We all have different ways of interpreting reality.
We are all different observers of life.
We can experience the same reality. For example, a group of students at a workshop are enjoying pepperoni pizza. Their senses pick up the reality of cheese, tomato, layers of pepperoni, the crunch of the crust.
But we experience different interpretations of that same reality.
One student may think "mmm this crust is delicious." Another may think "Ewww it's hurting my teeth!"
One student may think "holy sh*t this is delicious, what a treat!." Another may think "Ugh, I have no self control, there goes my entire week's nutrition. I am disgusting."
We view life through different lenses. What colours those lenses? Many things.
Our bodies, our minds, our personalities, our history, our culture, our families, the people in our lives, media, our mood or current levels of fatigue or hunger, all influence how we interpret things. There are many contributing factors to the way we tend to see things. Some of those factors may lead to an overarching story we have about the world, what we call a master assessment or a grand assessment. The student that ate the pizza and was caught in a cycle of self-loathing? There is something deeper there.
That is what is fun (and challenging) about coaching. Coaches work together with clients to uncover the way that the client sees and interprets their lives.
Armed with new awareness of the lenses that we view life through, and the stories that we carry around with us, we have greater choice in how we decide to interpret life. This opens up new possibilities, and greater motivation to take different actions.
There are many things to discover through conversation. Inner narratives, self-limiting beliefs, habitual thinking patterns and more. You don't need a coach to come to these realizations. When you experience a fundamental shift in the way you see things, you have undertaken this very process. There is no doubt Einstein had experienced a shift in his observer when he said the following:
"The way we see the problem, is the problem."
With this background, I'll jump into why this distinction is so important in working with University students, and how this model (expanded into what we call the Observer-Action-Result or OAR model) is so useful.
We all know that we want to create a great future, improve and do better, right?
We can google to our hearts' content and access all of the information we need to do this. Students are among the most adept at seeking information.
Yet, we don't, do we? We don't change our actions to get better results.
The key to powerful and lasting change lies in shifting the observer that we are.
Here's a great example of a common student scenario in academic performance coaching.
A student came n complaining of poor grades in all of their classes. They had already googled how to study better, what techniques to employ and what was missing in their habits. They explained that they had attended three different workshops on how to study better to improve grades, but complained that they already knew all of the advice ("same old advice") and found the powerpoint slides boring. The student was understandably frustrated.
If we look at the Observer-Action-Result model above, the student was definitely following the Action-Result part. Take different actions and get different results (better grades.)
The real results in this appointment came from a focus on a different part of the model. The Observer part. In the appointment, I spent the first thirty minutes asking open-ended, clarifying questions. My goal was to get an understanding of the way they saw their situation, and some of their perspectives on academic performance. During the 15 minute conversation that followed, we uncovered some interesting observer insights together.
How the student perceived the reality of their bad grades:
-The professors had a clear bias against them and were not willing to meet with them to discuss midterm results.
-Claimed they knew all of the right techniques (questioning uncovered inconsistent use and a lack of motivation.)
-Large amount of time spent on discussing other students; studies as much as other students but they were unfairly getting better grades with less work.(Dominated 20 minutes of the conversation.)
- The exam questions were poorly written and confusing – set up for a poor performance.
The student had a very strong story and through body language and amount of time spent discussing these issues above, I could see they were very attached to the belief that external forces were stacked against them. Their performance was mostly others’ fault.
With this type of world-view, do you think the student was motivated to take ownership over study habits? Even if they went to workshops and already knew the techniques?
We talk about motivation so much in studying, yet, how motivated would you be to study, if everything was someone else’s fault and out of your control? How would your actions be influenced? How would this student be in a meeting with their professor on a midterm, how empowered would this student feel going into final exams?
The conversation offered some opportunities to dig deeper, and herein lies the added value of one-on-one conversations outside of a workshop or lecture format.
There were a variety of contributing factors to the students' mindset – both ungrounded assessments but also legitimate life experiences. The student had repeatedly experienced bad events in their life that were unfair and legitimately out of their control. After years of believing it was their fault, they had developed a coping mechanism by flipping to the opposite, thinking "nothing bad is my fault, it's everyone else's fault."
They spent time focusing on the unfairness of everyone else’s performance and we talked about where this came from. They remembered developing this habit very early on in schooling, and it was deeply ingrained. The result of an unhealthily competitive primary schooling experience. Through conversation, a small window of awareness was opened for the student. They could see that their lens was shaped by a variety of experiences in life. They realied that some were influencing them in an unhelpful way and robbing them of the motivation to study properly and use the techniques they knew would help them.
The student also realized that this way of interpreting reality did not just occur in academics. It extended to other events in their life. They could see that this was a way of perceiving the situation, rather than the truth of the situation.
There were many long moments of silence towards the end of that conversation, where the student just sat with these new realizations and a shifting reality.
The student began to realize how these ways of seeing and interpreting their academic performance was disempowering, and would not contribute to better actions and better results.
To generate new ways of observing, and new possibilities would be for another meeting, but the progress for this student in one hour was profound. I simply asked questions, and the student did the rest of the work. We all have within us the tools to profoundly change our lives. The coach is simply there to be a catalyst.
In working with students, do not be afraid to explore, to dive, to ask open-ended and powerful questions to understand a person’s perspective. It is the human connection and deep conversations that students so desperately want in a time of massive lectures and group workshops.
You do not need a coaching certification to ask powerful questions and have the courage to engage in thought-provoking conversation. A student appreciates that you care, and want to understand them, and get to know them. Beyond a lasting impression and the human connection so many students are missing on large campuses, you may help them uncover a new level of awareness of themselves, which will complement the learning and study skills we teach and lead to lasting change in their lives.
Originally Posted on Linked IN by: Carina Huggins
Originally postyed on Linked IN by:The goal of every manager is to have a team full of exceptional employees. Sometimes the problem is finding them, but more often I see that managers have trouble retainingthe greatest employees.
But what if the problem isn’t them… it’s you?
Are you the sort of boss that great employees want to work for?
If you want to attract and retain great employees, it pays to be a great boss. Here are some simple expectations that the best employees have of their bosses:
1. Be consistent with meaningful communication.
Smart employees want clear expectations and communication when it comes to what’s expected of them. The No. 1 problem people cite with their bosses and managers is a lack of communication. If you can improve your communication skills and create a culture of open communication with your team, you will go a long way to creating an environment where the best employees will be happy.
2. Give recognition and praise.
Across the board, most people like to feel appreciated in their job. According to Entrepreneur, 65 percent of employees would be happier if they got more recognition at work, whereas only 35 percent say they would be happier if they got a raise. If you can build a routine of recognition and praise, you will encourage your best employees to be happy at work — and therefore stay. Don’t worry too much about awards or rewards; words go a long way.
3. Provide feedback, mentorship, and training.
The best employees want to improve and grow, and crave a development and mentorship role from their managers. Watch for opportunities to teach, to provide additional support, or to invite the right training for your employees. Making individual development a part of every job description is an excellent way to encourage and retain strong employees (and help them get even stronger).
4. Create a work culture by design.
Good bosses find ways to foster a sense of community at work. Great bosses build that culture intentionally. A big part of that is finding and attracting the right team members — and making sure that the wrong ones move on quickly. Nothing can hurt morale of your best employees more than feeling like they’re supporting a poor team member. Culture design is also about making sure those team members are in the right roles, the ones that make the best use of their particular talents and skills.
5. Create a safe space for failure.
Employees who trust that their failures will be met with constructive feedback and support are more likely to think creatively, work outside the box, and come up with innovative solutions to problems. It’s important to foster a sense that you succeed and fail together as a team, so that no one is thrown under the bus. If people are too busy worrying about losing their job to take chances, you’ll never get their best work out of them.
6. Provide strong leadership and a clear vision
The captain must steer the ship. If leadership doesn’t know where a project or company is headed, how can the employee know? This isn’t just about action steps or deliverables, either, but a clear vision of the department or company’s future that you can communicate to your employees. The best employees feel more confident when they feel that someone is steering the ship competently.
7. Hold yourself and others accountable
Many bosses hold their staff accountable, but the best hold themselves accountable as well. This means adhering to the same guidelines you set for your employees and taking responsibility for both team successes and failures. If your employees feel like you have their back, no matter what, they are much more comfortable and confident in their jobs, and will produce better work and stay longer.
8. Demonstrate good problem solving
Employees need their boss to be consummate problem solvers. You need to be able to not only spot a problem before it becomes a catastrophe, but brainstorm successful and innovative ways to fix it. When an employee comes to a manager with a problem, he or she needs to have confidence that they will get the help they need to fix it.
9. Avoid micromanaging
Learn to understand the art of delegation. One employee once told me that the best bosses have “fired themselves from their previous job” — meaning that they don’t interfere in the day-to-day and minute-to-minute workflow or processes. In essence, learning to delegate instead of micromanage is about trust, and the best employees want to feel trusted, and thrive in that environment.
10. Be an effective decision maker
Sometimes the worst position an employee can be in is when they are waiting for a decision from above. Effective bosses must be effective decision makers. You cannot vacillate over every tiny decision. Being able to make decisions quickly and decisively — and then take responsibility for the outcome (see number 7) — is an important business skill, especially when managing others. The more quickly and effectively you can make decisions, the better your employees can implement them, and that makes employees feel more efficient and effective.
11. Put people first
A great employee is going to want to find a job that fits his or her lifestyle and work/life balance needs. The best bosses understand that there must be a balance between the company or client’s needs and the needs of his or her employees. You must be willing to listen and talk about any issues an employee may be having and understand that a happy employee is a more productive employee.
12. Manage up, down, and sideways
Managers are expected to manage the people below them on the corporate hierarchy, but the best bosses also have ways of managing their superiors and coworkers on behalf of their team. This might mean effective communication, managing expectations, and requesting help in a timely manner. This sort of support is key from an employee’s perspective, who may not have any direct contact with those other partners.
13. Be honest
There’s nothing worse than a boss who says one thing and does another — and nothing will make a great employee start looking for a new position any faster than being lied to. Just as managers must trust their team, employees must trust their boss to have their best interests at heart. It’s always going to be in your best interest to be honest with your employees. (This is also a great way to ensure that they want to be honest with you.)
14. Be dedicated and balanced
The very best bosses I’ve seen are passionate about their work; they live and breathe their jobs and strive to do the best work possible. Yet at the same time, they have lives outside of work. They understand the need to balance family and work or play and work. And they set a good example of how to do that for their employees. Employees want to know that their outside lives are understood and valued because they can see that you value life outside the office as well.
Some of these expectations may seem obvious or commonplace, but I would challenge you to really look within and make sure that you’re demonstrating these qualities regularly with your team. If you are, you should have no trouble finding and retaining the best employees in your field.
As always, please share your thoughts. What additional traits of a great boss would you add to this list? I’d be interested to hear your contributions in the comments below.
Thank you for reading my post. Here at LinkedIn and at Forbes I regularly write about management, technology and Big Data. If you would like to read my future posts then simply join my network here or click 'Follow'. Also feel free to connect on Twitter, Facebook or Slideshare.
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Originally Posted on Linked IN by: Bernard Marr
This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers share their secrets to being more productive. See all their #productivityhacks here.
My best productivity hack involves adapting a strategy model to personal time management. The model is called the Core/Context Model, and like most good things in consulting, it lends itself to a 2X2 matrix:
The goal of this model in a strategy session is to prioritize the allocation of scarce resources, with the following priorities:
To check if this is true, do a core/context analysis on the last thirty days in your personal calendar. Look at every meeting or activity you were involved in and ask yourself, was this something that allowed me to deliver differentiated value and/or grow my experience and capabilities, or was it something I had to get done to just do my job? Then ask, was it mission-critical to my company that I get this done and done properly, or was it just something I felt—or someone else felt—should just do? Sum up the amount of time in each quadrant to create your own resource allocation profile.
OK, now here come three key productivity hacks:
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