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The Trees – Mission Statements For The Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 9, 2012 in Job Search

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The best and brightest greenery is sparse in your part of the jungle. What happened to all of the lush, tropical life that made your spot the best around? According to Erika Anderson, a blogger on Forbes, often the main reason that top talent leaves a company has a lot to do with the organization itself. If it is badly managed, confusing, or uninspiring, who would stay?

What can a company do to keep the best and the brightest resources, talent in which they have invested so much, from leaving? How about going back to the basics and taking a look at the mission statement? How long has it been since you have looked at that thing? Days? Months? Years? Does your company have one? Is it on your website? Do the employees know what it says? Most importantly: does the company follow it and believe in it? describes the mission statement as the vision and inspiration of a company. If it is weak or unclear, it is likely the company’s goals are equally unsustainable. A mission statement should be an exact understanding of what the company and the leadership is committed to and the values of the business. Like the best trees in the jungle, it needs to be broad enough to grow tall, and strong enough to hold itself up to provide an excellent shelter for the wildlife that would flock to its limbs.

Who likes ice cream? Who likes Ben & Jerry’s? Who likes Ben & Jerry’s mission statement? Ben & Jerry’s current mission statement actually has 3 parts. To really pin the tail on the cow, they have defined their mission to encompass social, product, and economic missions. Since 1988, these three one-sentence mission statements have guided Ben & Jerry’s. Their social mission focuses on improving quality of life through their business. The product mission describes Ben & Jerry’s commitment to all natural ingredients and respect for the environment. The economic mission states that the company is working towards profit and growth.

Ben & Jerry’s may not be the only company to have this style of statement, but it is very well liked by its employees. Ben & Jerry’s supports their mission by ensuring that they are working to reduce their waste and impact on the environment, and supporting suppliers that also share their ideals. Cost of living factors in to every employee’s wage and the community is supported through service projects and foundations. Every aspect of the company’s efforts is directly tied to the mission as a fundamental source. A reportedly rich and thriving corporate culture is thanks to Ben & Jerry’s commitment and their follow through with their clearly stated mission.

To retain the blooming and talented trees that make up the company and fuel its passion, they must be watered with a mission they agree with and trust. If you are on the hunt for the best spot in the forest, compare mission statements and research the corporate culture to ensure you are entering a good fit.

 By Lindsay Sellner and Carolyn Thompson

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The Harvest – Taking Stock

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Dec 5, 2011 in Career Path

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In the retail jungle, the holiday shopping season is traditionally followed by yearend inventory counts.  On the farm, it happens right after the harvest. As professionals, we should also conduct our own yearend inventory and update our resumes with our most noteworthy accomplishments of the year. 

As illustrated in my book, TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME, you want to have a good description of your company, role, and primary responsibilities as well as a brief list of your most significant accomplishments. Accomplishments are separate from your job description, what you or anyone else would be doing in your position, and they are what most set you apart from others. Accomplishments are details about what you made, saved, or achieved that are special. Relevantly describe how they, and your role, relate to the overall company structure.  Include projects you designed, led through development, and took to completion.  Describe initiatives you were involved in on a team or awards and recognition you received that show you went above and beyond the call of duty.

When describing your accomplishments it’s important to use numbers, percentages, or other quantitative descriptions to show your contribution to your role and the company as a whole. You may have found budget cuts of 10% that increased company profits by $50,000, or you led a software implementation that created efficiencies in reporting and reduced your monthly close by 2 days.  Whatever your situation, show the metric, or key performance indicator (KPI), that you affected through your outstanding performance.

Some people have a hard time bragging about themselves, so try answering these questions as a start:

    • What change occurred in my company this year and how was I involved in that?
    • How has my department and/or role evolved this year?
    • What were the major projects I worked on and how did they affect the division/ company’s performance?

Your answers should spur your train of thought about what increased or decreased and what your part was in that change.

This process can also help you with your goal setting.  Perhaps, after you see your accomplishments on paper, you’ll realize there is a fundamental intellectual challenge that you are lacking or something you really wish you had been involved in that would have offered you personal and/or professional growth. 

Even if you are content with your current role and/or employer and not considering a job change next year, it’s important to keep your resume up to date.  Companies change over time, people take on more responsibility and taking stock of the harvest at the end of the year will make it much easier to update your resume when you do need it. Remember, your resume should be an accurate reflection of the experience that you intend to carry forward, not everything you have done, so choose your examples wisely.

Related Article: Setting Goals

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The Spider – Trapping The New Year Job

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 11, 2011 in Building Confidence, Career Path, Job Search, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

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You can find a wide variety of spiders in the jungle. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms. To catch a meal, spiders have evolved to be very creative predators. Some spiders jump, others chase or fish, a few can create traps in the ground or leaves, and many can even mimic other insects. The most common image of a spider is one who has woven a web to catch their prey. There are hundreds of different kinds of webs and ways that spiders use them. But to be a successful web-weaving spider, you have to have a plan!

Without establishing what your goals are, specifically, it’s hard to set a plan in motion to achieve them. Just generally knowing what you want to happen isn’t enough, the minutiae of the goal helps spur you toward success.

Consider the tenets of what has become known as SMART goal setting when planning your job search or catching the spider’s lunch:

To achieve your goals you need to think ahead, set a logical path, make it attainable, and hold yourself accountable. SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely

Goals should straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. This will help you focus your efforts and achieve what you set out to accomplish.

As goal setting relates to job search, an example of a Specific goal would be:

I am going to find a new job in my industry by creating a target list of companies I’d like to work for that hire people like me.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Choose goals with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. Be specific! Use numerical values and give dates for those values to be attained. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of accomplishment that impels you on to continued effort required to reach your larger goals.

A Measurable goal that is imperative in job search could be one that pertains to networking:

I am going to increase my sphere of influence to help me find a new job by attending one new networking event a week in my industry.

When you identify goals that are the most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achieving your goals. If you set goals too far out of reach, subconsciously, you will be less likely to commit to achieving them.

An Attainable job search related goal:

I am going to use LinkedIn and Facebook to find ten people a week that work at companies on my target list.

Devise a plan which makes the goal realistic for you and where you are at the moment but be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult, and you set the stage for failure. Too easy and the goal will not help your growth. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!

A Realistic goal:

I am going to contact every referral I am given in my quest to find a new job.

Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards. If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.

A Timely goal:

I am going to find a new job before the end of the year that is appropriate for my experience and interests.

Motivate yourself. Believe in yourself and make yourself accountable! Don’t despair if you get off track; find a way back on track! Post your goals in conspicuous places, share them with others, and solicit their support. It’s ok to adjust your goals but make them SMART!

Think of the cunning spiders and weave your own webs for success!


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