Fred Wilson on Social Recruiting: A Guide for the Recruiter and the Recruited

by Joe on November 15, 2009

Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures has a way with explaining how he approaches business.   In his most recent presentation, he explains how he is intentional about how he uses the Internet to do what he calls “Social Recruiting.”

What is “Social Recruiting?”

Social Recruiting is the process of using “social” websites to obtain and research candidates for a job opening.  The use of the term social is optional.

Building teams based on trust is one of the most essential parts of running any business and this presentation on social recruiting is important for those searching for jobs and those with jobs to fill.  Both the recruiter and the recruited can use the Internet for finding your next coworker or next employer.  Fred provides this excellent presentation to prove that point.

The Most Effective Competitive Advantage

by Joe on October 11, 2009

I’d like to think that most of you are people who pour their hearts into all that you do. If I could be so bold, I’d classify myself right there beside you. Its people like us who spend a majority of our day working to improve the world around us. My recent efforts have lead me to question just what part of my business would be the most effective competitive advantage.

My answer:  The ability for an organization to build and maintain trust.

It leads to effectiveness, it creates freedom for innovation, it enables relationships to flourish – it is the basis for building solid businesses.

Kotter and Cohen, authors of The Heart of Change, point to trust as a foundation for a team to see, feel and execute change.  Also, one of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team is the absence of trust. Even though many people see it as foundational, it seems as though trust slips away from us through the inevitabilities of business life:  layoffs, restructuring, lack of funding, poor investments, poor hires, there are too many to name.

At the Catalyst Conference, Andy Stanley presented about trust as a foundation of organizational culture.  He provided a functional way for how you and I can begin to establish trust in our organizations.  I reproduce them here so you won’t miss out on these great ways to lead others to establish trust:

“To develop a culture of trust, leaders must be trustworthy. Worthy of trust does not mean perfect. It means when I create a gap where your expectations don’t line up with the experience I give you, I talk to you about it.

5 Essential Commitments of Trust

  1. I will believe the best.
  2. When other people assume the worst about you, I will come to your defense.
  3. If what I experience begins to erode my trust, I will come directly to you to talk about it.
  4. When I am convinced I will not be able to deliver on a promise, I will come to you ahead of time.
  5. When you confront me about the gaps I’ve created, I will tell you the truth.

The gaps are the opportunities… the gaps are the litmus test… for you to choose what culture you will have.

Questions to Ask

  1. Are there people in your organization you have a hard time trusting.
  2. Is it your issue or is it theirs? (if you have never chosen to trust it is still your issue)
  3. What can you do about your part?
  4. What do you need to address with them about their part?
  5. Who do you sense having a difficult time trusting you?
  6. Why?
  7. What can you do about it?

If you choose to trust, you will create an organization that is more nimble and effective.”

Its not easy to create this trust, but it sure does challenge me and push me to the next level.  I’ll be asking  myself these questions to become more intentional about building trust.  What do you do to develop trust in your relationships?  Buy people coffee?  Take them to the doctor when they need their wisdom teeth pulled?

I’d love to hear how you intentionally build trust into your relationships, leave a comment and lets get the ideas flowing.

Good Customer Service Enables Structured Thinking

by Joe on September 4, 2009

chick-fil-aRecently, my wife and I have been having discussions about critical thinking and the ability to chose words and responses.  Our discussions started after a dinner at Chick-fil-A.  We noticed all employees at this fast food restaurant respond to a customer’s “thank you” in the same way by saying “My pleasure.”

“My pleasure” is a response that doesn’t elicit a feeling of favor from the receiver.  This makes all the difference in customer service and enables their employees to learn why it is so important to chose words carefully.  Now people who learn this may not understand immediately, but having the knowledge that it is possible and justified to spend time thinking about what words to chose provides the ground work for structuring the thinking of a person.

Then this morning, I woke up to find an email from a co-worker with the following quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

The first time I heard the words “structure” and “thinking” in the same sentence was via a finance professor who provided two semesters worth of my education at Miami University.  Thus, with my collegiate experience and this quote, I couldnt agree more with the purpose Dr. King provides for education.

My experiences and discussions with friends and coworkers are continually challenging me to structure my thinking – because as I have learned, it is just as valuable to learn how others think as it is to learn what others think.

Sharpen the Saw – A Challenge to Implement Change

by Joe on August 16, 2009

Recently a popular tech blogger, Robert Scoble learned about owning the time between stimulus and response.  Owning that space in your life is relationship changing and life transforming.  That’s why its one of the main points and continuous goals I have coming off of the Stephen Covey training.  But as I have espoused here before, listing your goals out on paper is a great way to start on the path to achieving them.  Obviously one of my first goals with this blog I failed to achieve (post once a week) especially in the last month.   So in an effort to Sharpen the Saw Covey style, I’ll let you all in on a few of the goals I set for myself at the covey training.

At the end of the covey training, you set goals in four dimensions as a way to achieve Habit Seven, Sharpen the Saw.

  • Physical
  • Social/Emotional
  • Mental
  • Spiritual

I’ll take you through my Mental and Social/Emotional areas of my goals.


Mentally, Covey pushed us to renew ourselves mentally by encouraging writing, reading, collecting quotes, and developing a hobby.  My goal was to further purge my daily reading to expand/widen the scope of what I read online.   The first thing I did was to remove the standard social media and tech guard out of my feed reader.  I was sick of reading the same piece of news from 4 blogs.  I picked one and am going to stick to it.  I also subscribed to other blogs.  Oh and my wife and I started laughing our bottoms off while reading “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris.  Its outside of my comfort zone and its an absolute riot and well written book.


In this area I wanted to focus on three of the suggestions from the covey training in this area.

  1. Widen your circle of friends.
  2. Let go of the damaging competitive feelings you may have towards others.
  3. Practice Empathic Listening regularly with the people who are important to you.

My execution plan on this goal was to invite folks over for dinner – simple yet revolutionary.  With just two of us, its easy to have leftovers – but investing those leftovers in relationships is a revolution.   Now that we are moving into a new neighborhood, my wife and I have started to plan a block party.  Its important that we spend time developing those friends and actively being interested in them and their stories.  I plan to work hard to make my home a open place where people feel free to be themselves and free to be loved.

Next week I will outline a few things that the Stephen Covey training walked us through so that by my listing them here, you might be propelled to think a new thought.  We all know it is a challenge to implement change as we learn new things.  I use this blog as a real way to mark my progress and hopefully we can implement together as we learn together.

Best Quote from this topic:  “Sharpening the Saw actually saves time.”

How have you saved time by reviewing your goals and implementing change in your life?

Gen Y is Irresponsible

by Joe on July 14, 2009

There are so many people out there who think Gen-Y is the best thing since sliced bread.  I am a Gen-Y’er and I believe it most days, but today I am here to say that Gen Y is the most irresponsible generation.  Bold, I know.  At my session of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Course, there were three things that stood out to me as issues where Gen-Y is irresponsible.

For Reasons Gen-Y is Irresponsible

1. Gen-Y (or their parents on their behalf) talks its way out of bad behavior.

The 7 Habits course had a great quote that was a great explanation of one of the top struggles of us Gen-Y’ers:

“You can’t talk yourself out of problems you behave your self into.”

How many times have you seen Gen Y’ers get themselves in a pickle only to talk themselves right out of a consequence?  Granted there are good ways to talk your way out of bad news.  But owning our actions and the associated consequences enable us to deepen and build lasting relationships.

2. Gen-Y spends time only on what they enjoy, not what is important.

One of the videos we watched in the Covey class said something to the effect that unsuccessful people only spend time on what they enjoy, not what is important.  Gen-Y, the generation full of passion and the ability to choose to work on or for something they are passionate about sometimes confuses passion with enjoyment.  Passion leads you to work towards something.  And sometimes the work on the path towards that goal is not enjoyable.  Most Gen-Y’ers find themselves in the struggle define their personal boundary between enjoyment and passion.

3. Gen-Y was taught to treat others as you want to be treated.

This is great advice if we lived alone on our own individual Walden Ponds.  Too bad we dont.  How I want to be treated doesn’t mean that someone else wants to be treated that same way.  If I enjoy direct feedback no matter what(my friends and I call it (No Grace Period), that doesn’t mean your coworker wants to be told that he comes to work in dress that is only appropriate for a picnic.  We really should be saying treat others as they want to be treated since relationships are about empathizing.

So, these are three areas where Gen-Y fails the responsible generation test as defined by the 7 habits of highly effective people.  Gen-Y has an awesome chance to act on our ideals and achieve supreme success, but not without tackling these responsiblity issues first.