TLCL Podcasts - The Low Carb Leader | Our Biggest Leadership Mistakes

It’s that time of year again when many entrepreneurs, business owners, and organizational leaders begin to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments, ‘big wins’, mistakes, and failures and how they could have handled things differently. It’s no different for us!

On today’s episode, Dan and Jacob reflect on the mistakes they have made throughout their leadership careers, what they believe they should have done differently, and how you can learn from their mistakes before making them yourselves. Dan also shares his biggest leadership lesson – the importance of networking, and how to network correctly to advance your career.

It’s important to reflect on your past mistakes and failures – as well as those of others – and learn from them because that can be the key to improving your leadership skills and ability. It can help you learn and grow as a leader, a co-worker, as well as a person.

The Aspiring New Leader’s Biggest Leadership Mistakes:

  • Jacob shares that one of his biggest mistakes was not completing his Master’s degree sooner.
  • Why Dan feels that changing jobs frequently and taking less than ideal jobs was one of the biggest mistakes he has made in his career.
  • We discuss the short-term and long-term effects of making hasty decisions.
  • We discuss how one small problem unintentionally evolved into a large problem in the workplace for Dan, and what he believes he should have done differently.
  • Jacob shares why he regrets how he fired an employee the day before Thanksgiving.
  • Remember: Communication is key in leadership roles and everyone communicates differently.
  • Be sure to ask the right questions when taking on a project already in progress – not just from the person giving you the task, but also other people working on it.
  • Why Dan feels he didn’t network enough in his career and tips for networking your way to a new job.
  • Why is building your network in a way that is mutually rewarding a fundamental must for your career growth?

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose your jobs wisely.
  • Realize that moving to change jobs is a family decision as much as it is a personal decision.
  • Network properly – don’t just ask for things right away when you’re building your network.
  • Ask questions.
  • Take time to evaluate a situation and consider all possibilities before making hasty decisions.

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Read Podcast Transcript

Introduction

DAN: Welcome to The Aspiring New Leader Podcast. I’m your host, Dan Perryman. You have joined us for episode 8. Today we’re going to be talking about our biggest mistakes that we’ve made personally in leadership, so this should be quite the interesting podcast. Jacob, welcome.

JACOB: Happy to be here.

DAN: Just a little bit about what’s happening outside our window here in the Midwest, it’s snowing. It’s about 20 degrees outside, something like that.

JACOB: It’s winter and Christmas time, it’s all coming at once.

DAN: Just a few hours ago I was at a meeting in Orlando, Florida, and it was 0 degrees and I flew back to St. Louis and it was 20 degrees.

JACOB: I appreciated the pictures of palm trees and sun while I was here freezing.

DAN: It’s pretty cold. Everytime I leave somewhere warm I question why I live in the Midwest.

JACOB: Right.

DAN: I think this is the first year I actually meant it.

JACOB: Did you buy a timeshare while you were down there?

DAN: I should have. Christmas shopping, you got all your shopping done?

JACOB: I need to get some stocking stuffers but other than that, it’s pretty much done. How about you?

DAN: I just have to go to the ATM and get money.

JACOB: That’s the easy way to do it.

DAN: That’s it, Gift cards and money.

JACOB: That’s the way to Christmas shop, just gift cards and money, makes it easier for you.

DAN: Yea and since I have a daily limit that’s all I get.

[laughter]

DAN: And they have to share it.

JACOB: You get whatever you can draw out for the day.

DAN: Alright so let’s get moving. Today, we’re going to talk about mistakes we’ve made throughout our careers and what we would have done differently or we would have done anything differently?

Story #1. Jacob’s Master’s Degree

JACOB: Sure, I’ll lead it off here with a mistake. My first mistake is pretty simple when you look at it. It’s not completing my master’s degree earlier. Some of you may think well you still got it done, looking back I graduated with my undergraduate degree and I took five years before I started my master’s program. I could have just went into a part time master’s program and completed it while working but instead I decided to work because I was pretty tired of going to school and taking classes.

DAN: What did you do for the five years?

JACOB: In that five years, I worked in human resources and I actually had several different jobs in human resources. I was progressing up the career ladder but the master’s program, if I would have gone to school and completed my masters earlier I would have probably progressed a little bit quicker through the career and I would have been eligible for jobs and promotions that came up that I was unqualified for because I didn’t have that master’s degree.

DAN: Yea we always get the question about should I get a master’s degree. I think in this job market now it’s required. It has pretty much become entry level now. I think it’s pretty impossible to actually get promoted without an MBA these days or master’s degree of some sort.

JACOB: I would agree with that as you look at jobs that are opening up, the requirements are always an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree. For those students that are in their undergrad right now, don’t take the time off, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about “would you take time off before going back to school?” “would you have done it differently?” It’s hard to say as the situation I was in, I was so burnt out with school as it was, that I really needed that time off to focus. I think in this day and age you just need to get into a fellowship, get your master’s degree, and progress as quickly as you can.

DAN: I’m going to share my first mistake…

JACOB: Buckle in folks it’s a doozy.

Story #2. Dan changing jobs too frequently

DAN: It is a doozy. I would say that I may have changed my jobs too frequently and accepted jobs that weren’t ideal. To understand why I say this, I’m not going to take you through every step of my career but the major milestones. I graduated college, at that point had two small children, a daughter and son, went to a fellowship in South Dakota. The next several jobs, I knew that I didn’t want to stay in the VA, so I took a job in Kentucky and it was a great job, experience wise, but it wasn’t a location I wanted to stay in. I went into an administrator job into another location in Mississippi that wasn’t ideal. Then I went into Alabama for five years, those locations were a little bit better and then I’m back here in Illinois.

My whole point of saying this is that with little children, we made moves and it’s not so bad and then we had our third daughter when we were in Alabama. But when you’re making moves and your children are small, it is not really that impactful on them, they adapt very well. But the final move, my oldest daughter was in high school and we made a move and that was really difficult on her. Having to move into a new high school when you’re a sophomore, that was pretty difficult. It was very difficult for her to adapt to these new surroundings. I think there’s two points to this: in your career if you want to move up as an executive, you have to move but you really have to think about how it’s going to impact your children. I look back and I probably would not have made the final moves when she was that old.

What caused me to make those moves is that I was in a location that I didn’t really want to stay long term. If you go back to the beginning, I moved my first job to get out of a location that I didn’t really want to be in and then it kind of created this spiral effect of…I want to get out of this location so you accept locations that you don’t really want to be in. I think the two take aways here are: choose your jobs really wisely, just don’t pick a job that sounds great and you say, “well the location may not be ideal, but I really want to take this job” because you get into this spiral of trying to get out of that location. Then as your family continues to grow and your kids get older, I think you have to make really serious decisions about where you’re going to live and what that’s going to do to their life. A long way of saying, that I think this was probably one of the bigger mistakes that I made of moving too much with kids.

JACOB: I think that’s a great insight for me as a young leader with two small children, daughters that are three and one that’ll turn one in January. Moving is stressful on the whole family and it’s not just about your career, but it’s also about your family as you move them and making sure that they’re still going to be happy in the location that you’re going to and that you’ll be happy in the job that you’re going to.

DAN: It’s not as easy as it sounds because executive jobs, especially when you’re early in career, they don’t come up that often. Sometimes you have to take a job. My only point is just realize that it’s more of a family decision than it is a personal decision. It all worked out in the end, but sometimes it doesn’t and I just remember the days it was really stressful for my oldest daughter trying to adapt to this new high school. Just be really careful about the decisions you make because they do have long term impact.

Story #3. Jacob’s Career Decisions

JACOB: That bridges into a career decision that I made as I was in a position, was up for a promotion, and didn’t receive that promotion. I didn’t handle that very well, instead of just sucking up and being like “well maybe I wasn’t the best one for the job” I ended up getting…

DAN: This is rated E for everyone podcast, Jacob, before you say this next word…

[laughter]

JACOB: It wasn’t even going to be a word you thought of. I was upset and ended up looking for jobs outside of the company because I didn’t get that promotion. I was getting too much static and noise from other people around me telling me I should have got it, they didn’t agree with the reason that I was looked over, and looking back it wasn’t because I didn’t have that master’s degree, it was because I was young and not ready for that type of leadership role.

I ended up leaving the company and taking a role in leadership in another organization because one of the things I was told was I didn’t have leadership experience so I figured I had to get that somewhere. Looking back, I made a hasty reaction but in the end, it worked out. I was told I needed leadership experience so I got that leadership experience and if I hadn’t of made that move at this point, I probably would have never completed my master’s degree. I probably wouldn’t be sitting in a job I am now so it really lit a fire under me to achieve some things that I was putting off in my life.

DAN: You bring up a really good point about other people saying stuff because I’ve experienced this so many times, not just at work but in the last physique competition I did. I came in second, I was kind of upset because I didn’t get first. You didn’t get the job or whatever it is, sometimes you’re upset about it but you’re not too upset and then you start talking to your friends and they’re like “ooh you should have got the job, you should have won.” Then within just a few moments, you’re totally upset, you’re way more upset than you would have been.

JACOB: Your friends are there to support you so they’re going to have your back.

DAN: I think sometimes too we look for people that will support our cause. I know after this physique show I was looking for people who would absolutely agree with me that I should have one, you know? Then I take time to start thinking about it and I start to realize the reasons I didn’t.  I think that’s kind of just a tip…. if something doesn’t work out for you, you might want to pursue objective opinions instead of your closest Facebook friends who are going to support you.

JACOB: You need a person in your life that’s going to be like, “hey, hold on you really did screw up, you do need to do this…” that’s going to be honest with you. It’s hard to find that person because friends want to be your friend, they want to be there for you.

DAN: Right and then they say you shouldn’t have won and then I won’t talk to them.

JACOB: Yea exactly.

[laughter]

Story #4. Dan Reconciling Conflict

DAN: My next mistake, I started a job and within my first week I had a doctor come in and disagree with me over something that was very petty actually. It was so petty that you’re probably going to think how could this little situation create this big problem. It was a disagreement over bumper stickers on an employee’s car.

JACOB: Did you just say bumper stickers?

DAN: Bumper stickers.

JACOB: You’re aging yourself now.

DAN: Exactly, so an employee had inappropriate bumper stickers on her car and we informed her that she couldn’t park her car on our property because they were inappropriate. And this doctor disagreed and came in very agitated – this was within my first week – and this little deal turned into this major, major issue. So, major that – I was in a small hospital – that we didn’t really say a word to each other for four years, over this issue.

JACOB: It followed you for that long…

DAN: For four years.

JACOB: Wow.

DAN: And this was a small hospital, we would walk through the hallways… I took the higher road, sometimes I would try to say hi and he wouldn’t.

[laughter]

JACOB: I like that, “I took the higher road…sometimes.”

DAN: Yea I guess the lesson here is some little issue or some little conflict can turn into this major issue. I’m not exaggerating how major an issue this was because it was a small medical staff and us not getting along affected the whole medical staff at times because it was such a small medical staff. There were three different approaches I could have taken. I could have taken the first approach which didn’t work out very well. I could have just backed down and let him be aggressive but my fear there was that the previous CEO didn’t have a lot of authority because of the way the doctors acted and I didn’t want to lose my authority within the first week. I could have just taken some type of middle ground and kind of mitigated this situation right there.

But the point here is I’m looking at these three options years later. At the time, it was just arguing in my office and a pretty heated argument over this one little issue. The takeaway is sometimes in the heat of the moment, you’re going to make bad decisions but there are ways to address those issues. I think probably the best approach would have been…keep my cool during this situation, but that didn’t happen. The best approach probably would have been a day or two later, go talk to him, say, “hey we got off on the wrong foot, let’s work through this.” I’m thinking that would have been the best approach. The approach I took was four years later I sat down with him and said, “hey we got off on the wrong foot, four years ago” and that was my approach.”

[laughter]

JACOB: That’s a tough situation. Like you said you’re a new CEO in the hospital and you’re trying to set a foundation for how the medical staff will treat you, but you’re also trying to set a foundation of how you’re going to treat the medical staff. That then probably, like you said, affected your relationships with them. Did it get bad enough that other doctors were coming to you on behalf of this doctor?

DAN: Oh, constantly. They came to me but they said they know this doctor; he’s never going to admit that he was part of this issue so I should just go apologize, smooth it over. As I talk about personalities later, that doesn’t really fit into my personality too much…yea it was just one of those situations where I could have handled it a lot better but you know, looking back is always a lot easier. I probably would have just waited a few days and tried to iron it out.

JACOB: Looking back is always a lot easier and that’s something as we go through this, we’re hoping that you learn from some of our mistakes so when you’re out in these situations you don’t goof it as badly as we did.

DAN: The hardest part of this podcast was narrowing it down to 30-40 minutes of mistakes…

[laughter]

(cont.) DAN: Because I had a whole list of them. These are my top ones here. Alright Jacob, you’re up.

Story #5. Jacob’s inappropriate timing for firing an employee

JACOB: Well right around the holiday season, this mistake was made right around the holiday season. I terminated a colleague the day before Thanksgiving.

DAN: Wow.

JACOB: Reflecting back on this, the termination was warranted, there was a long string of documented issues, however it was the day before Thanksgiving and the colleagues work schedule, they were going to be off for the same amount of time I was. They weren’t going to be coming back to work until the same Monday I was coming back into work. They wouldn’t have been able to do anything else egregious over the holiday weekend when nobody was in the organization. So, I could have just let the colleague return on Monday, me return on Monday, and then done the termination at that point. That was a poor decision and timing on my part, I didn’t think through it as well as I should have in the moment and made a poor decision that I’m sure ruined somebody’s holiday.

DAN: The employee made some comment to you, right?

JACOB: The employee did make the comment that at the end of it they told me to have a happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas and I knew that it was time for me to start trying to get out of HR and dealing with employee relations issues on a daily basis when the first thought that popped into my head “I will because I still have a job.”

DAN: That’s a good time to move out of HR.

JACOB: Yea that’s pretty terrible of me. I probably needed to talk to somebody about this, it’s probably good therapy for me to air this out.

DAN: Is that why you’re lying on the couch right now?

[laughter]

DAN: You bring up a good point because in my career I’ve always wondered how HR can do it because I think HR would be one of the most difficult, miserable jobs that there is. All day long you deal with terminating employees, dealing with problems, I mean personally even 20 years later, I hate that. I hate addressing behavior issues; it’s something we have to do as executives but you always hear people say, “oh it gets better, just address the problem. It gets easier.” I still hate it, 20 years later, I still hate it.

JACOB: I don’t know if it gets easier or better, you know how to handle it better. You know what to expect from certain colleagues as it goes on. I think the worst part of it is as you deal with it day in and day out, you kind of become so hardened that you are just on the facts of it all and you don’t really take time to reflect on how it’s going to affect the person or it’s going to affect the organization. You’re just singled out into that moment. You become disconnected and I think that’s part of the worst thing from it is you become disconnected and don’t really have a feeling about it one way or another.

DAN: I think you need to find a balance though, especially in HR where you’re dealing with people’s lives. You almost have to be callous in a way, but not be too callous. Because if HR thought about how it’s going to impact everybody’s life that they terminate or lay off, it would be really hard to find HR people. We almost expect you to be calloused in a certain way but I think you bring up a good point. Where you get to a point where you are…

JACOB: …You’re jaded?

DAN: Yea, “too bad! Merry Christmas!”, that’s probably a time where a career change might be in order.

JACOB: Yea and thank goodness a career change came.

Story #6. Dan’s quick decision making

DAN: Alright that’s pretty interesting. My next one is making decisions too quickly. I remember when I first became an administrator and just as a side note – I was always told by CEOs that when you’re an assistant CEO or when you’re a senior executive but not a CEO, that there’s this big difference. They always said that and I think for those that are aspiring to become CEOs there’s a big difference between being the number 2 person and the number 1 person. I learned that because as number 2 person in the previous job, if a decision was really hard, I just turned to the CEO and said, “hey you have to make this decision” but once you become a CEO there’s really nobody to turn to, you know?

JACOB: You turn and you’re the only one standing there.

DAN: It’s a big difference; there’s a lot of people who want to become CEOs but it’s definitely a different position. So, making decisions too quickly, I became an administrator of a small hospital. Immediately this paramedic came into my office and went through this really sad situation about how she’s not paid appropriately and the whole worlds after her. I was new to my position and you know I have to say I was kind of taken in by her story, right?

JACOB: She was a good story teller, she drew you in?

DAN: She drew me in.

JACOB: I think that’s called “hook, line, and sinker.”

[laughter]

DAN: Yea that’s my point. That’s what I should have titled this. I immediately went to the business office trying to give her a raise. Like a seasoned executive.

JACOB: You threw your cape on.

DAN: Then I started getting the real story and this was not what it appeared to be. I was taken in. I think the point here is especially as a new manager, you’re going to start your position and I’m not saying people are clever or tricky or manipulative but I think you have…

JACOB: But they are.

DAN: I think you have to be careful because your new employees are going to take that opportunity to try to get on your good side, possibly manipulate you. This was clearly a manipulation that I kind of fell for. I think the takeaway is be careful. You don’t have to be cynical but be careful about your decisions and there’s nothing wrong with saying, “alright well let me get some more information, let me look into this” as opposed to, “ok, yea I’ll fix this for you.”

JACOB: I think that’s some good points to make because when you’re in a new situation somebody’s always going to try to bend your ear because it’s a new ear to bend. They talked to other people and didn’t get what they needed or what they felt they needed so they’re going to try to talk to somebody else to see where they can get to. Obviously, this woman got to you and you made a hasty decision.

DAN: You look back and you think, “I can’t believe I fell for that.” This is all about learning as a new manager or executive, you are going to make mistakes, right? This isn’t about avoiding every possible mistake, you’re going to try avoid as many as you can but you’re definitely going to make mistakes. The whole point is learning from them and looking back and actually, these are kind of funny when I look back at them and think how in the world did I fall for that…I can’t believe I went four years with not talking to this doctor. This is kind of helpful for me too in a counseling way.

JACOB: We’ve been lucky enough that we’ve been allowed to make mistakes. Some places and some people, they make a mistake and that’s the end so were lucky enough that we had people above us that understood you’re going to make mistakes and the key is to learn from them.

DAN: Try to make your mistakes small.

JACOB: Yes, do make your mistakes small.

DAN: I think of that currency trader, I can’t remember what firm he was on wall street, but he made a billion dollar mistake. Don’t do that, make little mistakes.

JACOB: And if you make a mistake of that size, hopefully you can fix it somehow.

DAN: Alright Jacob, more counseling for you…

Story #7. Jacob’s hasty decision

JACOB: Yea this is very therapeutic. A hasty decision that I made, I was a leader in a new department, so I was taking on some added colleagues through a restructuring. I let my boss at that time influence a decision on how that department should be structured and didn’t push back. As I think about this mistake that I made, it affected three colleagues, so there’s three colleagues that weren’t performing well, they wanted them gone. Coming into the role I just let that leader make the decision and I should have pushed back and said, “let me assess this situation, let me assess the structure of the department and these colleagues skills. Maybe there’s somewhere else in the department that they would fit better in, that we don’t actually have them in the right place for what their skill level or their ability is. Maybe we can restructure and there’s some other people that would benefit from moving or swapping roles with these individuals.

Story #8. Personality Types

DAN: My next one is not keeping everybody in the loop. I have to go through some personality types and I think this is kind of interesting. I asked a few people on our admin team yesterday what personality types they were. I think this highlights my whole point. My communication style says I communicate in terms of the big idea, I like to explore possibilities, innovative solutions. Kind of the big picture, not a lot around details and you’ll get a kick out of this, it says I like to be sarcastic and poke fun at you.

[laughter]

JACOB: That’s accurate. It says you like to poke fun at Jacob?

DAN: It kind of said that. A couple other people on the administrative team communications styles: This says one other person is insightful communicator as long as the subject inspires them, thoughtful, independent. They like discussing complex concepts, logical, analytical. They have a somewhat similar communication style but they’re more quiet and they only like to speak about stuff that inspire them. Jacob yours says that you communicate in a direct and straightforward way and you’re more focused on details. You have a great memory for details and facts. It also says that you don’t tolerate people who don’t think the same way as you.

JACOB: Which is pretty accurate. It’s also interesting on the detail part. A lot of times I’ll get questions from people that I almost have to interpret for your communication style.

DAN: Yea that’s a great point. Another person is more enthusiastic, collaborative, loves exploring possibilities for people, you know who I’m talking about.

JACOB: I do, I can picture all of these.

DAN: They like to be inspired. They’re highly empathetic, very optimistic, and they like to motivate others and develop others. Then the last person says she’s a hardworking traditionalist, she takes charge, she does not like anybody breaking the rules. Rule abiding, systematic, methodical, assumes control, determines what needs to be done, little patience for deviation or non-conformity. My point in sharing all of this is this is a few members of our administrative team and there’s other people that have different personality types. What I’ve learned and what I still struggle with is in my mind, I communicate the way I communicate so I got a big idea and let’s roll, I like change, and I communicate it. I throw it out there. By the time some of our admin team members have even started thinking about it, in the more methodical ways that they think, I’ve already moved onto another idea. And I can’t understand why they’re not keeping up.

JACOB: Right, this is why teams are hard. And this is why understanding what personality types complement each other.

DAN: Yea and so I work with this executive coach, Jamie. Were actually going to be interviewing her soon about authentic leadership and she does a great job. She always reminds me that I have to slow down because other people can’t keep up and I’m like, “well they should keep up” and no they shouldn’t because that’s not the way they think. And it’s the same way when they come to me. You always say when you go into a CEO’s office that you have like 10 seconds to get your idea across because they don’t have the patience to, or the personality to listen to all the details.

JACOB: I’ve experienced that before.

[laughter]

DAN: I’ve experienced that with my boss. If you look at the CEO types, CEOs are mostly in the same categories, it’s kind of how they think. Accountants are in their personality types. I think the takeaway here is you can’t just look inward and say “well my personality type is big idea, I don’t like the details, I’m not really that empathetic” because the rest of the people on the team have those traits so when I throw out an idea, especially like an introvert or an extrovert, introverts need time to really process the information and take a few days and they’re not the personality types that are going to answer right away. But mine is and so I ask a question and there is silence and I’m thinking why isn’t anybody answering the question, because some of them need days to process.

JACOB: Which is why he thinks I’m a buffoon when it comes to podcast prep.

[laughter]

DAN: Our personalities are a lot different and sometimes I’ll say something to somebody and they will actually go to Jacob and kind of get his translation because their personality types are closer.

JACOB: And people aren’t going to change, their personality is what it is. You can’t expect to say this is how my personality is, I need everybody to get in line with me. It’s not going to work and you’re just going to have more problems down the road.

DAN: Right so we have time to share one more each.

Story #9. Projects

JACOB: Alright so mine, saved the biggest for last on mine, it has to do around projects. Whenever you get handed a project that’s already in the middle or somebody else has been taking it on, you want to make sure you ask all the right questions. Otherwise you’re going to run into a situation like this if you don’t ask all the right questions. I was given a project that was being done by someone else and I was asked to manage it. And what happened was we almost overspent by around a million dollars and you talked about the traitor that made a billion dollar mistake. I didn’t make billion dollar mistake, I made a million dollar mistake so I guess in that perspective it’s a little bit better.

There were some dollars that we thought would be spent and in turn, those dollars could not be spent locally. What ended up happening is we had to back out some other requests and carry those over to the next year so that put us behind on some things that we needed to purchase or buy further on down the road. The point of this is, when you get an assignment or a task to manage you want to make sure you ask all the right questions, you don’t want just ask questions form the person handing it off to you. You also want to go out and seek input from other people that are involved in the process so you make sure you have the greater picture before you’re making decisions that could then have a potential impact later on years down the road.

DAN: That’s a good point because this mistake was seen by a few people, it wasn’t…

JACOB: It wasn’t anything you can hide, it was seen by quite a few people that would have a judgement on how I could perform.

DAN: You don’t want to become this micromanager where you don’t trust anybody but I think you make good points about, if it’s big project you have to make sure you do your due diligence. I think the amount of time spent analyzing a project and analyzing all the factors probably depends on how big the project is.

JACOB: And you will make some mistakes in a bubble that is contained in you and you can own up to those mistakes and correct them. And you’ll make some mistakes that are pretty public to higher people in the organization and it’s all about how you handle that mistake at the time, how you own up into it, and then how you work to fix it.

Story #10. Networking

DAN: My last one is, I don’t think I networked enough in my career. I did kind of get lucky through networking and that’s how I got several of my jobs but that just kind of came by pure luck. It wasn’t that I had this organized system of networking I just kind of got lucky. I came across this article titled “Networking Your Way to A New Job” by Randall Hanson, PHD. It was on livecareer.com and he just goes through the steps to successful career networking. I’m going to go through them really quick.

  1. First develop a firm grasp of job search basics.
  2. Conduct a self-assessment of are you really qualified for the job.
  3. Kind of like what you were talking about Jacob, do you have all the pieces in place to actually secure the job?
  4. Have a strong resume.
  5. Decide how to organize your network.
  6. Communicate with your network.
  7. Follow up with your network.

I think that’s the biggest mistake in networking and I see this on LinkedIn all the time. I’ll add somebody to the network and they’ll respond by saying, “oh thanks Dan, thanks for adding me to your network. By the way is your hospital ready to have a new housekeeping service? Call me.”

JACOB: That drives me crazy.

DAN: I don’t even know these people.

JACOB: Right and you’re immediately asking for something in return as opposed to getting to know each other, seeing where you can help each other.

DAN: It’s a huge ask and so I think the importance of networking is you build a network based on personal things, and business things. I think you build a network getting to know the person like you said, but it takes years to kind of build a relationship with somebody. And so, the takeaway here is start building your network, but build it in a mutually beneficial way that you can actually help the other person, they can help you and the first thing you do is not say, “hi” and then make some major ask. I think it takes a long time to build a network, they say in fundraising, you don’t ask for money for three years. And these are the experts, you build a network but it takes time to make it a mature relationship with that person.

JACOB: It’s hard to even ask at that point, it’s almost that you’re building a network on the hopes that when something does come up, they’ve gotten to know you well enough that they think “oh this is a pretty good fit for this person.”

DAN: Right that is a great point is that, if there’s a job, you want your network so mature that they will come to you and say, you are the perfect person for this job. I’m not saying don’t ask for things in your network. What I’m saying is don’t ask for them on day 1.

JACOB: Do you feel networking is more difficult now with social media? Then it was previously?

DAN: Yea that’s a good question. I think it’s easier to add people, like on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter or whatever. It seems almost 85 or 90% of the people you add, especially from the business standpoint, want something.

JACOB: They think the network is how many people they can add in their network or the overall number or just as many tentacles they can get out that touch different people. They really don’t take the time to understand that networking is really a personal approach.

DAN: Great point. I was just listening to a podcast about podcasting, because I’m a podcaster.

JACOB: Newsflash.

[laughter]

DAN: And what they were talking about was people with businesses want to get on these podcasts and what they say, their first question is how many subscribers does this podcast have because I want to be on these huge podcasts right? But the response usually is, what is your target audience? We talk about new leaders, our target audiences are new leaders so it doesn’t help us if 50 thousand people that are not interested in leadership listen to the podcast. We want to direct our podcast to those who can be helped from it or those that can learn something from it. To your point on networking, getting ten thousand followers on LinkedIn doesn’t really help you if they’re not in your industry or they are not somehow related to what you’re trying to accomplish in your network.

JACOB: It’s still marketing and you’re still looking for a target audience, you still have a product that you want to get out there so you want to have the right people that want that product.

DAN: Those are all our mistakes that we want to share with you at this time.

[laughter]

DAN: I don’t know about you, but we feel a lot better.

JACOB: I feel wonderful.

DAN: Now the snow’s glistening and I feel pretty good.

JACOB: It’s beautiful winter day.

Conclusion

DAN: This concludes our episode today.

JACOB: So, Dan, you want to tell the listeners what we have coming up on the next podcast?

DAN: Yes, I do. We are going to take a little different approach with the podcast, we’re actually going to start publishing six episodes a month, maybe seven or eight some months but we will publish an episode on the weekend like we usually do and then we will have a couple bonus midweek episodes throughout the month. The reason we’re going to start doing more episodes is because we have a lot of interviews lined up. This would be pretty cool, I’m excited about these interviews. The next episode is going to be with Marc Miller, he’s going to be talking about generational echo effects. What that’s going to focus on is how generations interact in the workplace, so how does a baby boomer, a millennial, a genXer, a traditionalist, how do they interact and why do we experience problems in the workplace/

JACOB: It’ll be very interesting.

DAN: Yea it’ll be cool. You ask what else is going on? We are very excited because our website is being reformatted, we hope this going to be up in the next couple of weeks. You should start seeing more social media posts, we’ve been posting what is hopefully helpful articles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and we’re going to have these interviews so we’re pretty excited. I want to share a milestone, I bet you didn’t know this Jacob, 85% of podcasts never make it past episode 7.

JACOB: Wow. So, we’re part of the 15%.

DAN: We are on episode 8.

JACOB: Nice.

DAN: We have made it.

JACOB: That is, I feel like there should be confetti and balloons falling from the ceiling right now.

DAN: Just wait.

[laughter]

DAN: Alright so that’s our podcast today, thank you for joining us. Please subscribe if you’ve enjoyed the podcast, we’d really appreciate you leaving a review on ITunes, if you’ve enjoyed this episode and please visit us on our social media sites. Until next week, take care and keep learning.

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