November 18, 2011

Staff Picks: Desperate Times, Different Measures

By: Sally Haldorson @ 7:42 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Of course the saying goes, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." With our depressed economy, it can certainly seem like desperate times filled with risk on a daily basis. Perhaps you wake up in the middle of the night remembering a deadline that passed without you noticing just a few hours before, and you suddenly worry that one mistake might be the last straw. Or you rehearse a pitch for a raise over and over in your head, worried that even the most valid argument might seem greedy at this time. Perhaps when the alarm goes off and starts your day, you feel a little more on edge than you ever recall feeling about a regular day on the job. We tell ourselves not to worry. And we tell ourselves that we are lucky to have a job when we have one, and maybe shouldn't complain. And we tell ourselves that things will get better. So for the most part, we don't so much act in the face of this uncertainty; instead, we sit quietly and hope desperation passes us by.

Yet, there is one thing that we can control: our performance. So perhaps desperate times call for different measures. And there are two books that we can recommend to help you do that: Joel Garfinkle's new Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level by Joel A. Garfinkle and Jodi Glickman's Great on the Job: What to Say, How to Say It, the Secrets of Getting Ahead.

Garfinkle divides Getting Ahead into three sections enumerating the "[t]hree significant and important aspects of leadership--perception, visibility, and influence."

1) Improve Your Perception--Take Control of How Others See You addresses 2) Increase Your Visibility--Stand Out and Get Noticed by the People Who Matter Most 3) Exert Your Influence--Lead Situations, People, and Events

The advice is practical, from his Four-Step Perception Management Process...

Step 1 - How you think you are perceived. Step 2 - How you actually are perceived. Step 3 - How you want to be perceived. Step 4 - How you change that perception.
to his Seven Ways to Gain Visibility...
1. Seek out projects. 2. Leverage you manager. 3. Gain face time with top executives. 4. Find cross-departmental opportunities. 5. Become involved outside your job. 6. Speak up share. 7. Become known and recognized.
All manageable changes to your regular work routine that will aid you in getting ahead. To close the book, Garfinkle presents a quick chapter on "The PVI Model in Action," relating the story of Ken Kutaragi, the creator of the Sony Playstation, who had earlier had his dreams and reputation crushed when Nintendo partnered with Phillips rather than Sony to create its first game system. This short anecdote does an excellent job of showing how you can turn your fortunes around.

Jodi Glickman's Great on the Job advertises itself as a "people skills primer" focusing on ways you can sharpen your communication skills in order to better succeed in the workplace. Why this focus? Because, Glickman says, the basics of interpersonal communication aren't something being taught in any B-school or crash course. She "launched the consulting firm Great on the Job to meet an unmet and, as of then, unidentified need in the marketplace: to teach people to talk to one another at work, every day, in every situation, in all stages of their careers, whether they are on the top of their game or have no idea what the #$% is going on."

She presents a methodology that, she says, "takes a 'soft' skill and turns it into a 'hard' or technical skill." The book overall is a series of conversations that Glickman then breaks down using the following series of steps:

1. Situational Analysis 2. Action Strategy 3. Example Language 4. Troubleshooting
The four key themes, or high-level concepts, as she calls them, that underlie the more pragmatic material are GIFT, or:
Generosity Initiative Forward Momentum Transparency
Glickman says that when "you start integrating these four concepts into your everyday actions, you'll find yourself better able to communicate, get people on your side when you need them, and avoid mishaps and miscommunications." From chapters on how to "Master the Hello and Good-Bye" to developing "Your Personal Elevator Pitch", Glickman illuminates just how powerful the right words can be.


Both books, Getting Ahead and Great on the Job, offer you useable advice on the skills needed to improve your standing at work, and, when your performance improves, so might your security during these desperate times.


About Sally Haldorson

Sally Haldorson's job as 800-CEO-READ’s General Manager is to make 800-CEO-READ a great place to work for our employees, and a consistently high-performing customer service organization for our clients, authors, and our partners in the publishing industry. In addition to her General Manager duties ensuring collaboration, integration, and quality, she reads, writes, reviews, curates, and edits for the company. Helping craft The 100 Best Business Books of All Time used parts of both skill sets. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found hitting a tennis ball around or hanging out with her boys (husband, child, dog) at home.