Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ways to be indispensable at work!

I read this on Forbes.... original link to article is at the bottom.

Seven Ways To Be Indispensable At Work In 2013

The New Year is, for many, a time of change and resolutions. Be thinner! Be richer! Meet the love of your life!
For others, our hopes and dreams are more measurable.  Whether it’s a 10% pay raise you’re after or moving one step closer to the corner office, forget job-hopping. In 2013, staying put and amping up your performance at work is the way to make it happen.
“The prevailing wisdom has been that to get ahead, you should learn something from one company and move on—and up—at the next,” says Brian Kropp, a managing director at CEB, an executive advisory firm which offers data analysis of more than 50,000 employee surveys from 10,000 organizations. “But that only produces short-term effects. In the new workplace we’re seeing greater emphasis on relationships,” he says, which means veteran employees are at a far greater advantage. According to CEB research, longer-tenured workers are beginning to rise to positions of success more quickly than those who move every few years.

So what does this mean for 2013 career resolutions? Ditch the job boards and set to work making yourself an indispensable employee.
“Being indispensable is about being the best,” says Lucy Leske, Vice President and Co-Director,Education Practice at the executive search firm, Witt/Kieffer. “If you’re always striving to be a better, more valuable contributor, people will inevitably take note and you will get ahead.”
Without further pontification, seven simple strategies to becoming indispensable in 2013.

Be Flexible
“The odds are that the way you’ll do work on January 1st won’t be the way you’ll be doing work on December 31st,” says Kropp. According to CEBresearch, more than 50% of employees say they have experiences “significant change” at work in the past 12 months, from reorganizations to new workflows to massive layoffs. “Make sure that your boss sees you are someone who can get the job done no matter what’s happening around you.”
Stay Current
“If you’re not regularly reading about industry trends in trade, business and general publications, checking out online sources and staying current on trends in your industry, you’re compromising your career growth,” says Leske. “Keeping up on trends, but more importantly, being able to apply those trends to your organization, demonstrates your understanding if its place within the industry.”
Don’t Be A Loner
In the new workplace, 40% of employees work with more than 20 people on a given day, and more than 80% work with 10 according to CEB research. “The idea that you can be an individual contributor and be successful is an idea of the past,” says Kropp. “Fitting within the network of the workplace is a part of the new definition of a great employee.”
Be A Thought Leader
All of that knowledge you’ve gained by reading up on the industry? Leske says to make a habit of sharing it. “Write articles, make presentations, serve on panels or blog,” she says. “People need to have confidence in you that you know what you’re doing and that you’re willing to use it to help other peoples’ problems.”
“It’s really easy to add more things to your to-do list but just as critical—if not more so—to know what to take off,” says Kropp. It’s no secret that work can be an overwhelming place, particularly in a post-recession environment where Kropp says the number of direct reports answering to any given manager has increased by an average of 50% in the past five years. Good decision making, delegating and prioritization are the signs of an effective leader, no matter your position within the organizational matriSeek Opportunities For Management Experience
Speaking of managers, Leske advises that you actively pursue any opportunity for managing employees, no matter how small and trivial (or large and daunting) the task may seem. “There’s a difference between begging for these opportunities and raising your hand,” she warns, “but if someone says there’s a job to be done, raise your hand first and ask for help later. The biggest mistake is passing up the opportunity.”
Make Friends With The IT Guy

The average number of work-related emails we receive each day has increased fourfold since 2005, underscoring the explosive importance of technology in the office. This makes the IT department not just a vital team in the workforce, but an essential ally to any employee reaching for success as with their help you can avoid unnecessary downtime due to tech failures.
But Kropp adds that it isn’t just the IT team who have become increasingly important within the workplace. “Making friends with admins is an important move as well,” he says. As workflows have changed in the workplace of 2013 CEB reports that power, authority and decision making is cropping up in some unexpected places. “The administrative assistant of the CEO decides what’s on his or her schedule,” he points out. Underestimating their authority—or missing the opportunity to develop a strong relationship with that person is a judgment lapse no indispensable employee would miss.
What’s your workplace resolution? Need any advice to make it happen? Let me know and I’ll get to the bottom of it over the holidays.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just a little bit every day...

You probably remember all the times you brushed your teeth, right?


Well, in that case you probably remember every single meal you ever had before.  Right?


Well, of course you didn't.  I mean -- who would.  But, what would your teeth look like if you didn't brush your teeth every day?

I have a tendency to want to over do things.  You know -- if I want to start something new, like go to the gym - or make a certain number of phone calls.  I'm like -- "Ok, I'm going to make 200 phone calls today!"

Well, there's a lot of things wrong with that.  But, think about it -- if you make 5 more phone calls a day, that's 25 more phone calls a week, that's 100 more phone calls a month, that's 1,200 more phone calls a year.

5 phone calls ads up.

Think of it as the positive version of the Starbucks effect.  You ever find yourself wanting to save a little money -- stop Starbucks.  5 dollars a day, times 5... that's 100 bucks a month.  I mean, that's legit.  1,200 on coffee drinks?  That's a down payment on a car (granted, probably a used, or sub-par car -- but I think you see where my head is at)

So, besides being overwhelmed.  What little thing can you do every day that will add up?

You don't build a wall.  You put one brick on top of another.  So, what kind of bricks you building with?  What can you do 10 minutes a day that will add up?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." 

There are no mountain top experiences.  You will not go to summer camp and come back unchanged.  I mean... sure, there are things that can happen in someones life that will change them forever.  But, those things are few and far between.  Those are right up there with falling in love.  Or meeting someone you want to be with for a long, long time.  Those moments don't just happen that often.  

So, what's left?


There was a point of my life where I was drinking a lot, watching TV, schlepping around... and I remember one day looking at myself thinking, "if you are what you do.... then what am I?"

What do you do every day?

Let's face it.  You may THINK you're one thing.  You may WANT to be something.  But, it's what you do every day that matters. 

You THINK you're a writer, but you don't write every day...?  Well, maybe there's some room for improvement. 

You THINK you're a recruiter, but you don't get on the phone and make your calls.... ?  Well.... you see what I'm saying?

I've read articles about guys who wake up every morning and write out their goals, what they want, why they want it, and what they are doing today to get it.  


But, I'll bet they're a lot more focused on things then the rest of us are. 

So, if you are what you do.... what are you doing today?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So you wanna do a startup, eh?

This is a favorite slide of mine.  I found out about the slide originally from Patrick Neeman at  Here's the slide here.  If you've ever wanted to do anything -- and it ended up getting hard -- well, that's because doing anything is hard.

I think the only things that come easy are fast food and maybe masturbation.  Neither of those is particularly fulfilling.  Every once and a while, hey -- what's a little McDonald's REALLY gonna do to you -- you have it every day... now that's another story.

It's hard to eat right.
It's hard to work out.
It's hard to come in and do your job effectively every day.
It's hard to put in the work needed for a healthy relationship with friends, family, girlfriends, boyfriends (you know, anyone other than yourself)

Anything worthwhile is hard.

I read a quote in a book, "The Best Damn Sales Book Ever" and it talks about how most people don't want to succeed, they just want to NOT fail.

Wake up this morning and want to succeed.

That puts you in the top ten percent. (because the other ten don't want to do anything).

Enjoy the slideshow:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Coding and Kids

Headhunting is fun.  There's nothing like getting a search assignment and going after the deal.  You can smell the blood in the water.  But, I'm sad to say it's not enough.  Work isn't enough for anyone.  If anyone has read 7 Habits of Highly Effective people ( you'll see that everyone has different roles.  People are often many things.  You can be a business owner, a father, a husband, a son, etc. 

The other half of Highlander Solutions is still in its infancy stages -- perhaps even a twinkle in our eye.  We're looking to take on a big problem in America: jobs.  The job landscape is changing, but you know what we don't have enough of in this country?  Programmers.  Ask any startup or software company if they have enough technical talent and the answer will be a resounding "no!"

Good people are hard to find.

That's why I'm in business.  I tap people on the shoulder who are at one job, and introduce them to a better job.  Headhuners and companies alike will move people across the country, from one state to the next, all because the position is hard to fill with the local talent they have around them.

Let's make better people.

Better is not the right word.  Let's make more employable people.  There's a CNN article that talks about the issue a little bit:

McDonalds starts getting kids hooked on Happy Meals early.  This is a trend that lasts a person's whole life.  All I'm saying is, let's get kids hooked on other things: like software development.  It's kind of like hooked on phonics, but let's get them hooked on software engineering.  Let's get them hooked on game programming.

Most software engineers I talk to say they got hooked on computers pretty early.  So, let's encourage that little habit around the U.S.

Both my parents are teachers.  I spent a lot of time as a substitute teacher and teaching sailing and involved in after school tutoring programs.

Teaching is hard.  But, you've got to do it.  And you've got to push hard and think of new ways to engage and inspire the youth.  So, we'll be tackling things like that.

I have a vision of this very similar to Dave Eggers' and McSweeney's 826Valencia.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the program, it's pretty awesome.  They have these all over the United States:

What 826 is doing is amazing and inspiring.  Go and do Likewise!  We're gonna see if we can't take what they're doing and put a little technical spin on it.

That's what's coming up!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

San Francisco Tech Law firm Opens office in LA

Thanks to SoCalTech, we have news that a San Francisco Tech Law Firm will be opening offices here in LA.  So for those of you who like the tech scene, but want the beach weather... there may be hope yet :)

"In a sign that the Los Angeles technology and startup world is starting to be taken more seriously by Silicon Valley, one of Silicon Valley's more prominent law firms has set up shop in Santa Monica. Cooley LLP said Tuesday that it has added four partners to a new, Los Angeles office, and also hired one of the most active and connected insiders in the region to head up business development efforts in Los Angeles."

You can read more about the article here

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Different Log On Screens

So, the big thing with Pomodoros and working in Pomodoro blocks is staying focused on one particular type of task.  I keep track of the days I don't bring a computer and I make calls, and then the days I have a computer -- and the numbers are staggering.  I literally make half the calls if I have a computer in front of me.  It's not that I'm not working... it's just that I'm working ineffectively.

You've been there.  You respond to emails as they come.  You look up things you could do later.  Well, I'm trying out a new way if fixing that.  Because I need the computer at work -- and we're pushing more and more towards a paperless office -- and so I need the computer for that and my software.

So, different log on screens!  In my second logon screen.  Skype is not installed on the computer and I do not have any of my emails set up.  Could I check my google or my webmail in a pinch?  Sure.  But -- that's the point -- it's harder to do.

So it give it a whirl.  Make it harder for you to multi-task.