Becoming a Change Leader

One different direction in the arrow group.

Lead the change

It is essential for leaders not only to accept change but also to create it, say experts. According to a survey by Harvard Business Publishing, this requires leaders to have four capabilities:

  • to be a dynamic strategist
  • to be a courageous innovator
  • to be emotionally and culturally intelligent
  • to be a learner/teacher who develops his or her own and their teams’ strengths.

Being a dynamic strategist means that a leader is focused on the future while being flexible; fosters a culture that welcomes strategic initiative; and looks at the larger business scenario for opportunities.

Leaders also effectively communicate strategic objectives to the organization on an ongoing basis and seek to align employees’ activities to objectives. Leaders also should support innovators throughout the risk-taking process. “You really need to make sure that people understand that failure is a possibility and they know in advance how you’re going to deal with it,” says Harvard Business School Professor Howard Stevenson. Ideally, leaders are also self-aware while inspiring people through influence and example.

Leadership thinker and Author James MacGregor asserts that the key to transforming leadership is the belief that people “can be lifted into their better selves.” And as the bulk of learning takes place informally throughout the workday, leaders should serve as coaches and mentors to guide and advise their direct reports and staff across the organization.

Call a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a no cost, no obligation strategy session to learn how you can lead the change in your workplace.


The Wise Investment – Employee Training

Business seminar

Invest in your employees development

Employee training is essential to any business, but it requires planning and careful management to ensure that time and resources invested in the program are used wisely. Employee training can reduce costly errors and the loss of company reputation and consumer trust. It also boosts morale, job satisfaction, and loyalty among workers.

Training programs often include technical training and information on corporate culture, but they also must include a defined goal that produces desirable changes in employee behavior and productivity. Ideal performance or behavior should be determined first after reviewing the daily responsibilities of each position, and employees can provide feedback on what training they feel they need to improve their own performance.

However, new employees should be judged not on the ideal performance for their position but on their level of experience and educational background, allowing the worker time to grow into their position. Competency models can be used by trainers to determine how well tasks are performed and what changes to training materials are necessary.

Experts also indicate that administrative staff should be informed of technical aspects of the company’s main work. Once goals are identified, training materials need to be molded to those standards, including the use of lectures, textbooks, or other methods. Employees also should be able to provide feedback through quizzes and questionnaires, which employers can use to improve training programs.

Call a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a no cost, no obligation strategy session to learn how you can an effective, custom development program for your employees.


Handle Change By Focusing on Them

Time For Change

Time For Change

When there are changes that need to be made in your business, and you ask your people if they are afraid about the upcoming changes, would they answer “yes” or “no?”

Do you think they would tell you the truth, or would they tell you what they think you want to hear? My experience has been people will tell you what you want to hear chong qi zhang peng.

If you ask what effect the changes are likely to have on them, or even better, “How will these changes make things better for you,” do you think they would be able to articulate that? All too often, they will not have a clue.

Employees will never tell you the following:

  • I don’t understand.
  • I am afraid
  • I can’t find the “What’s in it for Me”(WIIFM) factor.

First let’s deal with that fear of change. The best thing you can do about the fear factor is to communicate clearly and often about what it is you are trying to do and the nature of the changes coming down the pipe

  1. Form a cross-functional focus group to help you navigate through the fear factor in your organization.
  2. Assemble a team of five to seven people (the focus group), led by yourself or a top executive, representing all levels and all functions of the organization, including hourly employees. If you have a union, include the top union officials. You should pick informal leaders if possible, especially from the hourly employee groups. These individuals are good at communicating and spreading the word, and they will work for you instead of against you, to eliminate the fear factor.
  3. Bring this group together and share what is happening and why it is happening, and then ask for help in anticipating sources of fear.
  4. Then ask for help with mitigating those issues. I think that you will be amazed at the good will and the reduction in fodder for the rumor mill, just from forming such a group and asking for their help. It does not take a lot of time to get tremendous benefit from this approach.

You may find that the fears have some legitimacy. In some cases, changes may result in reductions of staff or reassignment of the workforce. If so, develop a plan for how to do that in a humane way, and then share that information openly. It is very difficult to share bad news, but you are better off to get it out in the open and deal with it right up front, because fear of the unknown is more upsetting and disruptive than the ugly truth. Explain the reasons for the changes, and what you are going to do to provide a soft landing for your folks. Explain the criteria for the decisions about whom it is going to affect.

If you like the idea of the focus group, ask them to help you determine the best way to share the ugly truth with your organization. People naturally and vigorously resist changes in which they do not see benefits for themselves. Take the time to ask yourself these basic questions regarding each constituency within the organization:

  • Why should they go along with the change?
  • What are the benefits to them?
  • Is there a compelling reason to make the change from their point of view?

Communicate the change as a win/win and that everyone will benefit by adapting the changes. You can elicit help from your focus group to convince the few that might resist no matter what you do.

Call a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a free strategy session consultation to learn how create an effective change leadership program.



The Ideal Student LinkedIn Profile

Nederlands: Linked In icon

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a conversation with one of Xavier University mentees on the topic of job searching at some point I remember saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know… and who knows you.”


That is because so many job openings are filled by referrals. And not just from current employees but others outside the prospect companies. And then I related the other startling fact, that building a strong network takes time. With that in mind, students should not wait until their senior year, or after graduation to start building their network.


As the most powerful online networking tool, LinkedIn is a great place for students (and anyone for that matter) to begin networking. Before they can start however, they’ll need to build a LinkedIn profile. So here are 5 tips to start building and updating a great student profile on LinkedIn.


1. Pick an Appropriate Profile Photo


Let’s be clear. LinkedIn is not Facebook. It’s worth saying again. LinkedIn…is NOT your Facebook. Understand?


Good. So, when you’re selecting your picture—and we suggest you actually upload a photo—take the professional route. This doesn’t mean you need to go hire a professional in your community (unless you want to). It simply means you need to find a friend or family member with a digital camera to take a photo of you in front of a white wall.


Yes, it’s really that easy. Your photo serves as the first opportunity for people to see you as a real person. Make it count.


2. Brand Yourself with a Personal Headline


What do you do? Who do you do it for? Are you a student? PR Intern? Tell us…the LinkedIn community.


Think of this as your own personal branding slogan. This short headline will provide proper insight into who you are, what you do, and whom you do it for. Craft something unique to you but that is also relevant to your industry or field of study.


3. Craft a Professional Summary


This summary is an extension of your personal headline. Expand on the information you want your contacts, new and old, and those who find you via search to know about you. After all, that’s what LinkedIn is for.


Be concise and confident in your goals and capability. Communicate the value you bring to your market, customers, and clients. The fact that you’re a student changes nothing.


4. Share Your Work Experiences and/or School Projects


Why should I hire you? Why should I recommend you to a friend? Well, this is your opportunity to show me—aka the LinkedIn community—just why you’re a valuable asset. Are you a writer? Include examples of your writing. Perhaps you’re a designer and have an online portfolio.


Whatever your field of study, be linkable to your work. Include URLs and direct people through these links to your personal website, blog, or Twitter-feed (assuming you’re keeping things appropriate).


5. Be Keyword Specific in Your Profile


In your professional summary, be sure to include any keywords that are relevant to your capabilities and experiences. These are used in much the same way websites use keywords for SEO. The more searchable keywords you have in your summary, the higher you’ll appear in search results. Find people who currently hold similar positions in your desired field and see what common keywords/phrases they’re using.

Signup for FuelNation ( to get more career, management and leadership advice.







Maintaining Morale in Tough Times

this blessed release

Photo credit: the twinkling of an eye

A client of my, during our regular status meeting, wanted some ideas to help her staff maintain morale in tough times. we batted around a few concepts, about reminding people of their accomplishments and reiterating the “Big Picture” vision and objectives.  Then I asked if I could think it over and come back to this topic at our next meeting.

After I thought about it, I was not sure that “maintaining morale” is the right goal in these times. I think that maintaining authenticity  might be more appropriate.

Three potential problems with “morale” come into play:

  1. It can too easily come off as being manipulative or grandstanding
  2. It fails to address the reality of the situation
  3. Most companies have trouble pulling it off as intended – so it sounds contrived

Authenticity, however, is … well, REAL. In other words, it passes the sniff test. So I’d suggested at our next meeting this advice:

  • Have REAL respect for your employees – don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes
  • Have REAL regard for their feelings and their fears
  • Bring REAL focus on where things are today
  • Pay REAL attention to where things must go to thrive in the current economy
  • Show REAL caring for their hears and their minds
  • Display REAL interest in their hopes and dreams
  • REAL authenticity
  • REAL courageousness

That is, REAL … leadership during the tough times! So do you Agree? Disagree? Did I miss that you think is important? Leave a comment I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Call a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a free strategy session consultation to learn how you can fuel your company to the next level.




Advice to My Mentees – The Myth of the 1-Page Resume

Resume Word Cloud

This past school year I volunteer to be a mentor to two Xavier students. During our conversations I dispel many myths about job hunting. One myth is about the 1-page resume. No offense to college career advisers, book authors on the subject and new recruiters, but there is nothing more frustrating then hearing the following statements that have some from these sources:

  • The HR person at my Dad’s place of work said I should only have a one-page resume
  • Well, I read a book and it said you should have a one page resume
  • I wish I could add my volunteer experience but it would mean more than one page
  • My brother told me that people just don’t read resumes that are longer than one page

I have heard some more from season job seekers, but we can start with these classic ones.

There is plenty of research on this topic and if you read more than five articles they will contradict each other. While there no scientific answer about whether a one-page resume is right or wrong. It all depends on who you are and how much experience you have. It becomes more of an art form than a formula Britain.

What is the purpose of your resume?

Believe or not – but for a some to be graduating student the primary purpose of a resume should be to get an face-to-face interview.

If the resume gets you an interview, it can be considered to be a good resume. If the resume isn’t getting you interviews, then you should probably change it, unless you are a first year hopelessly applying to be a CEO; that’s a different conversation.

As someone who has read a hundreds resumes in my past and current roles, There is one big mistake you can make on your resume – make it hard to read.

Lots of graphics, small print, crazy fonts, borders, boxes, footnotes and really really creative designs are not a good idea these days for a couple reasons.

  • Scanners don’t like these creative elements
  • It can make the resume harder to read
  • Makes it impossible to upload into online talent search programs

You don’t know how many times, someone invites me out for coffee to review their resume and they are using an 8-point font so they could get the resume on one page. Big mistake. Hirinng managers and human resource managers do not like eyestrain. If the resume is mechanically challenging, they might just throw it aside for one that is easier on the eyes. And when I mean aside I mean ignore, delete or toss in the trashcan.

When I tell this to students I get statements like, “That’s is unfair !” And while they are right, we also dealing with reality better known as the truth. There are LOTS of resumes out there and that is part of the problem these days.

If you are a college graduate looking for your first job, a one-page resume is might be just fine depending on your work history. However don’t let it limit you. If you have had a job, you should tell the hiring manager what you DID. If a course project, internship or volunteer work is relevant then place it down.

Also, in light of the current scanning scenario, more pages is not a deterrent because someone either an intern or HR assistant who doesn’t care how long your resume is will automatically scan your “document” into the database. Or you are uploading into a recruitment management system.  Once it is in there and searchable, you have accomplished one of the goals of resume distribution.

After the dust settles, remember that the resume must tell your story. If you have a longer story, the resume needs to be longer. And please, put the experience you had with each job under a section for that employer so we can tell WHEN and for WHOM you did WHAT. Hiring managers don’t have time to guess and they won’t call to clarify. They will just move on down the line. Short resumes for people long on experience are not appropriate and the real audience for these short resumes is people with short attention spans and low IQ’s. I assure you that if the resume gets into the right hands, it will be read thoroughly. If you have omitted significant chunks of your experience, it could be assumed that you do not have the experience in the first place. Heinous, so when in doubt, TELL YOUR STORY.

Here’s an ironic twist – Guess what group collectively has the worst resumes? Recruiters and HR Experts!

Here are just a few more mistakes people make:

  • Your focus is wrong – don’t be afraid to have multiple versions of your resume.
  • You have typos in your resume – no one is perfect make sure you have as many people as you can to review your resume.  better that they catch small problems then your hiring manager.
  • Information in the header or footer – not scannable.
  • Making it about your experience and not your accomplishments
  • Using vague statements – be as specific as you can be.
  • Exaggerating or lying on your resume

Oh and by the way, another really important point… Wait! Oh NO!!!..I have to stop, it’s going to be more than one pa–

Signup for FuelNation ( to get more career, management and leadership advice.