Quick! Who’s the best manager you’ve ever worked for? Picture him or her in your mind. Now think: what made you pick this person?
So who was the worst manager you’ve ever had? Do the same thing: visualize working for this person while thinking about what made them so horrible.
I can’t guarantee it, but if I had to guess, one of the key differences between these two was that the good manager actually listened to you, while the bad one didn’t.
Am I right?
When the good manager listened to you, how did it make you feel? Valued? Validated? Respected? Trusted? Confident? Engaged? Empowered?
How did the bad manager make you feel most of the time? Probably the exact opposite. So if you’re a manager — or even if you’re not — look at yourself in the mirror and ask: Am I a good listener? More importantly, if you asked other people that question, what would they say? If you’re interested in becoming a better manager, it’s time to refresh your approach to listening. Read More →
By Daniel Flax
It starts when you land your first management position. Suddenly, you’re splitting your time between telling other people what to do and actually doing stuff yourself. And as you climb further up the chain, the balance shifts and you spend more and more time managing people, projects, budgets, and bosses. Then, one day, you realize that the unthinkable has happened: you’ve been so busy managing a team that you’ve let your hands-on skills deteriorate.
As you advance in your career, you will frequently hear that it’s not your hands-on skills, but rather your ability to lead your team to success that matters. I would never suggest that leadership ability is not critical to your advancement. It certainly is. But I would also suggest a supplement: pick a skill and keep it sharp. Keep it razor sharp. Having a relevant, current, hands-on skill is one of the best things you can do as you advance your career. Read More →
The Hired Guns recently brought you the first installment of 5 Skills I Use Every Day, featuring strategic UX consultant Tammy Sachs. In our second installment, Todd Cherches, the co-founder and CEO of consulting firm BigBlueGumball, adjunct lecturer at NYU, and long-time Hired Guns blogger shares his 5 best tips to enhance your productivity.
*Results pictured at left not typical. Read More →
Creative people are the heart and soul of every good agency. They create art in service to commerce. The rest of us just sell it. That doesn’t, of course, mean that savvy account and strategy people can’t make significant — or even crucial — contributions to the creative process. We certainly can. We just have to do it right.
Ideally, account and planning types support the creative team by finding relevant insights, mining customer data, understanding the customer’s journey from awareness to purchase, and by projecting client business goals and communications sensibilities. Ideally, the support team packages all this up as a springboard for the creative, who then internalize the brief and make the magic.
Real life, however, is messier. The dynamic between your accounts and creative teams might be genial. It might also be tense or even hostile. It all depends on how you manage it. A long career in ad land has taught me a lot about bridging that gap and helping your creatives deliver great work, time after time. Here are four strategies I always come back to. Read More →
Tammy Sachs is the founder and CEO of Sachs Insights, a strategic UX research consultancy. Having had the good fortune to enter the world of branding and market research with the advent of the PC, Tammy has been fascinated from day one about how technology continues to shape how we communicate, learn, transact, and relate to brands and one another.
Sachs Insights is her sandbox to channel her curiosity, try out research techniques, and collaborate with an amazing group of colleagues and clients. While discovery is exciting, Tammy’s favorite part of each project is telling a story with the voice of customers to ensure their perspective shapes experiences that matter. She was kind enough to share the five skills she uses daily while helping clients uncover new ways to improve their products. Read More →
This article originally appeared on HBR.org and The Energy Project. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.
For more than a decade now, I’ve struggled to define what fuels the most sustainably productive work environment — not just on behalf of the large corporate clients we serve, but also for my own employees at The Energy Project. Perhaps nothing I’ve uncovered is as important as trust.
Much as employers understandably hunger for one-size-fits-all policies and practices, what motivates human beings remains stubbornly complex, opaque, and difficult to unravel. Perhaps that’s why I felt so viscerally the shortsightedness and futility of Marissa Mayer’s decision to order Yahoo employees who had been working from home to move back to the office, and Hubert Joly’s to do the same at Best Buy. Read More →
So I’m sitting at my desk typing up a memo, when all of a sudden I hear my boss’s office door swing open behind me. As I turn around to see what’s going on, I instinctively duck to avoid the object flying at my head. A box of pens hits the wall above my desk and breaks open, spraying 12 brand new blue Papermate medium ballpoints in all directions.
My boss had just thrown a box of pens at me. Read More →
Mad Men’s ratings may be higher than ever, but we all know the role of professional women has come a long way since the 60s. We recently sat down with Melissa Weisstuch, Associate Director of Marketing Communications at Somnia Anesthesia and Julie Livingston, Senior Director of Client Development at CarrotNewYork to learn more about the current state of women in marketing. Both Melissa and Julie are members of New York Women in Communications (NYWICI), a 1,500 member organization for communications and marketing professionals. They were kind enough to give us their takes on the dynamic world of marketing, public relations, and communications. Read More →
Every year it’s the same thing. We start out the New Year filled with good intentions, high hopes, and a formidable list of life-changing resolutions. And for an indomitable few, those resolutions result in positive changes and personal growth. But for the rest of us, life tends to get in the way.
Before we know it, January is over and February flies by (it’s such a short month!). Then the spring holidays come along. Then it’s summer, and… well, you know the rest. That pledge to “start tomorrow” just leads to the eventual realization that today is yesterday’s tomorrow. So, what can we do about it?
We can start today. For real. Right now.
What we need to do is go from “resolutions” to “real solutions.” And one real-life solution that really works, is easy to do, and can kick-start us into action, is to start reading. And my recommendation is to start your New Year’s reading with any one of the 13 inspirational and motivational books on this list. Read More →
Long before others turned sales motivation into a slick, multi-channel industry, there was Zig Ziglar. Ziglar, who passed away in November, carried a bag for 25 years before he started talking about it. He was able to draw relatable lessons from real-world experience and deliver them in a memorable and folksy way.
I had the pleasure of working with Zig several times. He was a humble guy who had an incredible way with people and the ability to size up an audience and tell a story like no one else. Unlike so many others, you could remember what Zig said the next day. In a world of blowhards and phonies, Zig was the genuine article. I’ll miss him.
Zig taught me many things. And while, at least on the surface, the lessons were about sales and marketing, I’ve found that they apply to almost every facet of business and life. After all, what is sales if not an exercise in human connection? Read More →