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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 Frog – Leapfrogging Over Managers

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 16, 2011 in Executive Coaching, Lessons Learned

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Many companies have open door policies where employees may take suggestions and concerns to the top of the organization directly, essentially “leapfrogging” direct supervisors. Management, at all levels, is available with an “open door” to anyone who wishes to discuss the company or work environment.

These programs are generally greatly appreciated by both employees and managers who find the open dialogue a great source of immediate feedback and keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes, though, this policy is misinterpreted (or misused) as a vehicle for people to undermine their boss’ authority because they may disagree with the decision or policy.

Following proper channels is key. If an employee is at odds with their boss or supervisor, bringing complaints immediately to a manager above that boss without following the proper channels will reflect poorly on that person’s decision making skills. Their actions may cost them both trust and respect at the level above their boss and may unintentionally limit their future potential in the company. Taking an issue to the boss’ boss without ever addressing it with your boss is not proper business etiquette. If the issue is not resolved after this point to the employee’s satisfaction, other input may be necessary.

If you are a manager and your employee is consistently going above you without directing their concerns to you first, it needs to be addressed. Start with your own boss first. Discuss your intended course of action with them and obtain their support to counsel the employee. Business/management etiquette tells us that when your subordinate approaches your supervisor about an issue you have not yet had the opportunity to address; your boss should be deferring the topic back to you first with the second course of action to schedule a meeting for all three of you to discuss the issue. had the following QA on this subject:


I have several employees that continually go over my head. Quite simply because they don’t agree or like a decision I make or get the answer they want to hear. Although I have full support of my boss they keep doing it. They are not aware that I know. I actually intercepted an email that an employee sent to their customer stating to get back to them before I got back from vacation so they could go to my boss and ask for a better rate. How can I stop this behavior? Do I address it by telling the employees that if they don’t agree with me that we can see the boss together? Maybe this way they won’t want to appear like they are going to the boss all the time but somehow I feel they will just keep doing what they’ve always done.


“If you have the full support (assumption) of your boss then sadly, your boss is part of the problem. As a proper supervisory support technique he or she should be deferring your subordinates back to you when they circumvent your authority. If there is an issue then they have the right to ask for a meeting of all minds involved where you, your boss, and the subordinate sit for a discussion and a final decision. Until your boss will actually back you in both his or her words to you and in action regarding subordinates you are going to have continued problems.

In lieu of this you need to examine the “why” for your subordinates not working under your authority. It is a matter of respect to you and you apparently do not have it so the question is why? Jealousy for your position? Do they as a group undermine you because they feel you are not up to the task of managing them? Do they conspire in other ways to undermine you? If they go around you then they simply don’t respect you or your position. They find you a weak link.

Take some time and go through the history of your position. When you accepted or were given the position were some or all of the subordinates already in place? Does your boss have a history of not backing supervisors? There are a lot of questions to ask yourself and some will give you an insight into a direction for resolution. Take the situation to your boss and settle it, but have a plan. And, know that it may get worse before it gets better. You will be tested by both sides because developed habits do not quickly change.

You will need to have a sit down with your boss. You will need to establish some ground rules for your relationship and the chain of command and you will need to have a clear line of command protocols and an agreement for consistency with your boss enforcing them. If he or she won’t then there will be little you can do but attempt to build credibility in another way to gain the respect of your subordinates.

By understanding your own mental and emotional Perspective you can also discover your own biases. This is critical because biases simply push our ego to the surface at exactly the wrong time in a negotiation or conversation. Know what biases you harbor and you can keep them in check. Ask yourself if your position as a supervisor is being taken lightly; and, if people are going to continue to go around behind your back how does your boss expect you to lead properly?

We all have many biases we don’t even consciously recognize and they can be stumbling points on a path as we are trying to focus on other priorities. Make a list because pen-to-paper creates a validation of sorts to the mind and makes irritating self discovery more acceptable. It can be humbling but it is an important phase when persuading others to a different line of thinking and then, action. Cite specific examples of when and with what or whom your subordinates have gone to your superior rather than going through you or following your directive. Look for a pattern. You did not impart your exact profession but I suggest you follow the money. If your directives are lowering their immediate profit gratification it is a key issue.

Know what it is you want from the encounter, and from your subordinates and your supervisor. Your Purpose is to pick a final outcome that is satisfactory or from a list compromise points you will settle for at the end of the negotiation. These can be agreement for additional responsibilities to include mentoring and training, financial incentives, guarantees on position within the company, advancement possibilities and prospects, accounts under your control or your involvement, and any other ideas you can think of to add to the list.

Your Organization of particulars will offer you talking points for the meeting. You will be organized and therefore appear organized and project you have thought out the situation.

The skill of Active Listening is comprised of four steps:
1. Be open-minded and willing to listen by not judging the messenger.
2. Hear Initially what is being said so we gather enough information to make solid assessments.
3. Interpret what is meant from what is said. People rarely say what they mean the first time it comes out under stress or while in conflict.
4. Act Appropriately based upon the interpretation and not just what was actually said..

You can empathize with anyone. It is a feeling of connection. How would you feel if what is happening to another was actually happening to you. Act accordingly.”

Lee Fjelstad
Vice President, Verbal Judo Institute, Inc.
Associate, Verbal Defense & Influence

*paragraphs were removed from the original answer for space. You can read the full answer here:

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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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The Vines – Navigating the Network

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 24, 2010 in Building Confidence, Executive Coaching, Job Search

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There’s no question that networking has a lot to offer for those who are in the job search jungle. You can find job leads, meet new people, find resources, and just have fun sharing your job search story with others who are in the same boat. The people you’ll meet through networking are the vines that will help you sail through the job search jungle, moving from one supportive vine to another, helping you to find what you’re looking for.

As you make your way through the job search jungle, take the time to get to know others in and out of your industry. Developing relationships with other professionals will help you to improve the outcome of your job search, and can offer you value along the way, even after you’ve found a great job. Attend events that are popular with the people you’d like to be acquainted with, spend time with those you already know, and make it a point to get to know friends of friends who may have something to offer you-or those who you may have something to offer to as well. You never know how networking relationships might pay off.

While you’re working on building relationships with your networking vines, be sure to carefully nurture what you’ve started. Check in with key contacts occasionally, even if you have nothing really important to say. Sometimes just a friendly phone call or lunch is enough to make a difference, and you’ll stay at the front of your contact’s mind when it comes time to offer something useful.

A great way to bring your networking vines together is to share information from others. If someone gives you a hot lead that you really can’t use, don’t dismiss it-keep it in mind for someone else who might be able to use it. When you call them up to share this valuable information, they just might be sparked to remember a great tip that you could put to use. Introduce your networking partners to each other, and always be willing to not only receive support, but to be supportive as well.

With the right attitude and good networking skills, you can find yourself with a great group of professional friends that will support you in your job search and beyond. Put your networking skills to work and find some great supportive vines for your job search today.

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online college courses. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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