• Communication: I Know I Was Clear – It’s Your Problem!

    by Mary Ann Gontin

    As an executive coach, the number one issue that I am asked to address in working with clients is how to improve their5 ways to resolve communication problems in the workplace communication.


    However, rarely is that how the request is made (perhaps a problem with communicating?). I am often told that an executive is brilliant but can’t influence people to support his ideas, or she is an incredibly gifted strategic thinker but has high turnover on her staff. Teams are disconnected because they don’t support the same goals.


    These scenarios, when dissected and reviewed, are often due to lack of clarity of communication. 

    Here are five ways to improve your communication:

    1. Set and discuss expectations – overwhelmingly, this is the number one failure in communication in many organizations. This is critical not just for managers, but also for any employees who are requesting information or work from peers. Expectations require dialog, examples should be given, deadlines set and an opportunity for the other person to ask questions and provide reasons why the expectations may not be achievable. Often, this will require a follow up meeting to ensure everyone is in agreement and understanding of what is expected. Investing the time in the beginning will save time in the long run.


    2. Listen and watch – many people do spend time gathering their thoughts and preparing notes before delivering key information. However, often they overlook the importance of how the information is received. Successful communication is a two-way street. It is critical that you ask for reactions, questions and then listen. Observe body language as well as tone of voice when someone asks a question. Are you observing discomfort, silence, anxiety, negativity? Take the time to delve into their concerns or misunderstandings.


    3. Use words for the audience – many ...

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  • Building A Personal Brand to Stand Out From the Crowd

    It Takes More Than a Hat to be a Cowboy

    by Meredith Masse

    The best brands tell a story about how they solve problems. The best brands entice us because they’ve createdBuilding A Personal Brand to Stand Out from the Crowd meaning for us. 

    Your personal brand needs to do the same! And the key to building a powerful personal brand lies in understanding what you as an employee or leader -- and only you -- bring to the table and how to tell your brand story. This goes for the currently employed seeking the promotion or sweet assignment, the leader who wants people to follow and job seekers looking to land sooner rather than later. Let’s use the job seeker in this example.

    “Maketeer,” best-selling author, and creator of the world’s most popular blog Seth Godin defines “brand” in this way:

    “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”

    Translating that into personal brand for job seekers, it might read:

    Your personal brand is the set of strengths, talents, traits, skills, experiences, results, accomplishments and culture fit you hold dear that, taken together, account for your future employer’s decision to choose you over another candidate. If the hiring manager doesn’t offer another interview, tout you to other interviewers in the company or spread the word otherwise, then no brand value exists for that hiring manager.

    Consider these three elements when developing your personal brand so you’ll stand out from other candidates for the job:

    1. What You Do: Your Strengths

    What unique abilities, skills, experiences do ...

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  • Fireworks for Top Performers

    By Susan Ruhl

    Fresh off the 4th of July holiday weekend, I have had some time to reflect on the meaning of this holiday and how it appliesFireworks for Top Performers to a critical component of our great nation:  

    Top Performers. 

    Any company interested in recruiting and retaining top talent must learn the science of appreciating that talent and what it means to the organization. 


    Since the Great Recession began, workforces have experienced a high level of turmoil resulting in higher levels of disengaged employees. Who can blame them? Layoffs, increased workload, lack of career paths can leave workers thinking the grass may be greener on the other side. As a result, HR departments are faced with low productivity, negative attitudes, absenteeism and substantial turnover. 


    So how can companies keep their top performers from jumping over the fence? Top performers respond to one common ingredient: recognition. According to a 2013 study by the Aberdeen Group, 67% of Best-In-Class organizations have a formal recognition program compared to 58% in 2012. However, only 37% of all organizations have a clearly defined engagement strategy. “Best-in-Class organizations are rapidly embracing recognition as a way to fuel engagement and drive business success. What distinguishes these programs is their ability to embed recognition in the company culture by empowering every employee to recognize great performance, embrace innovative technology and consistently evaluating these efforts across the organization.”  


    According to Accelir’s 2014 study “Rewards & Recognition: 2014 Trend Report”, one of the biggest trends is “Creating a Culture of Recognition.” In order for a recognition program to bring fireworks, it should:


    1. Be tied to the company’s values. Articulating the company values doesn’t come from HR; it comes from the top.  Helping the workforce understand why the values are the values and why they are important ...

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  • Three Things Recruiters Won’t Tell You

    By Holly Ewart

    You’re deep in your job search, you’re rolling along on your own when you get a call from a recruiter about a position that you3 things recruiters won't tell you would be “perfect” for. You have considered working with a recruiter but were not sure how it would affect your search or how you would be presented to a potential employer. 

    Recruiters are well-connected in the market and have “ins” to companies that you may never be able to uncover on your own. So there is also an upside to working with them. 

    Here are three tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your experience with recruiters:

    1. The Anticipation:

    “You’re perfect for the job!” They will tell you this, but what they won’t tell you is that they are saying the same thing to the other candidates they are presenting as well. Don’t let the recruiter make you feel that you’re a shoe-in for the position. Be yourself and be confident in your skills and work history.

    2. The Interview:

    The recruiter will have company intel that the normal job seeker may not, but don’t utilize their information only. Make sure you do your own research into the company and have as much information as possible prior to the interview. If you are able to uncover information about the company that was not supplied to you by the recruiter, this will go a long way with the hiring manager. You always want to enter an interview situation over-prepared! 

    3. The Feedback:

    You may feel frustrated with the feedback you are getting from the recruiter either in response to your resume or an interview that you have gone on.  Always keep in mind that the recruiter is the middle man and the companies they work with from time ...

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The vOIce

The vOIce is written by many of the managing partners of OI Partners. Topics include our ideas on how you or your organization can be effective in areas related to career development, executive development, workforce development, career transition and more.

We welcome your comments!