How Creativity Can Backfire in the Workplace

Want to get a job or want to keep your job? There, that ought to cover just about everyone between the ages of 18 and 120.
As Obama and the rest of Washington draw up job plan after job plan, let’s make sure we do our part rather than waiting on the government to do their part; it may take them a while anyway.

I love being creative and coming up with the next  ‘new thing,’ being adventurous and trying those ‘new things’ out(, and just having fun. Yet, at times, you just have to get back to basics and follow the instructions. Here are a few…

To Get a Job:
  1. Research the company. Employers often ask questions to guage your interest level in the position and the company. No research, no interest, no job. Sorry Charlie, you just shot yourself in the foot.
  2. Follow the instructions. “Please fill this out and when you’re done, let me know,” the job screener says. Then why are you sitting there waiting for someone to call your name after you filled it out? You’ll probably hear something similar to “we’ll let you know” when they snatch away the clipboard you should’ve handed to the proctor. If you can’t follow very simple instructions at an interview, here is what an employer thinks: he doesn’t listen well. She won’t follow procedures. I can’t trust that person. Let’s not waste our time.
  3. Be real. Enjoy the interview, rather than dreading it. Show genuine interest in the company and the people who are interviewing you. Rule of thumb: you will always communicate proportionate to how you feel. Feel scared? That’s the way you’ll come across. Feel under qualified? They’ll smell it with every word you speak. Be you (unless you’re a hot mess, in which case, be on the lookout for people just like you in places you spend money and try to work there. You’ll fit right in).
To Keep Your Job:
  1. Listen to your boss. Listen to what he says. What he doesn’t say. Act accordingly.
  2. Keep your promises. If you’re not going to do it, or capable of doing it, don’t do it. If you say you’re going to do it, then do it. If you don’t know how to do it, but want to do it, then learn to do it.
  3. Take responsibility. Don’t blame others for your failures, but give others credit when you succeed. Ouch, that may seem painful and humbling. It is, but heck, you’ll still have a job and people will respect you for it.

Not a lot of creativity in those tidbids. It’ll come later after you have the trust and respect of your employers. Maybe then they’ll want to listen.

Dating Advice that Will Also Help Anyone in a Sales Career

While Sarah and I enjoyed a ‘Love Boat’ of sushi tonight, we couldn’t help but listen in on the conversation of the couple behind us.First date? Probably.

Possibly a set-up? Seems likely.

Will there be a second date? Not a chance.

Sarah pondered what it would be like if we just sat down and offered some basic advice. How brazen! Though we didn’t, we sure enjoyed discussing what we’d share.

Ironically, I’d just finished training some sales reps the past week and quickly realized that the advice I would give this guy is nearly the same advice I’d toss out to sales reps.

  • 1. Ask a good question. Shut up. Listen. This guy would not. Stop. Talking. He was only interested in himself and learned nothing about his date. He’s probably going to blame his friends who set him up with such a loser of a woman because she didn’t kiss him goodnight. No dude, you don’t know how to sell. Sales application: if one is excellent at asking questions the customer will naturally want to buy your product. The salesperson then learns about what kind of person their customer is and thus, learns how they like to be treated and how they like to buy.
  •  2. What’s in it for Me? If you’re saying something (and remember, that’s probably not a good thing–see point one on asking questions) it better matter to your customer. Dude, she doesn’t care about how you can discern a truck’s gas mileage by smelling it’s fumes. Sales application: when doing your ‘pitch,’ make sure it’s something that is going to matter to your prospect. Stop spewing meaningless information. You’ll end up sounding just like Charlie Brown’s Teacher, and you’ll also end up not getting the sale.
  • 3. Differentiation. Your date, like a customer, can smell your slimy desperation breath loud and clear. How are you different from any other guy? What makes you stand out? Why would she pick you over the other guys with receding hairlines? No really… why? She would pick you because you’re the type of guy that she’s going to tell her girlfriends about.  “He’s amazing. He’s not like all the other losers. No, really Sharon. This one is different! He really listened to me. He also makes his own clothing. Now that’s a little weird, but at least he’s different.” Sales application: if you are like all the other peddlers on the street selling the same product, why would I buy it from you? I’d buy from you because you’re different. Simple rule of thumb: people do not like salespeople. Don’t be one. Be different. Be a person who likes people, finds problems, and gives advice for solutions if it’s needed.

Sadly, I don’t think these two are going to enter into a profitable relationship. She’s far too nice and he’s far too enamored of himself to show any real and genuine interest in her.

He lost the sale.