David Manchee

A Routine of Good Habits

One of my favorite people, even though we’ve never met, is Doris Kearns Goodwin. She’s a history wiz, a brilliant writer and, in this fake news galaxy, knows how to give a fair and honest interview by sticking to the facts and alerting her audience when expressing an opinion. I read a short piece in Fast Company about how she manages her day and the good habits that contribute to her success and happiness. So I thought I share because who wouldn’t like a better day of good habits built on a simple routine?
Ms. Goodwin rises early – around 5:00 AM – just like most Navy Seals, and uses the time to write and take notes. No TV, no email, and no distractions. Around 9:00 AM she takes a simple breakfast with her husband before checking email and making for a productive day. In the evening she follows FDR’s WWII, “no talk of war cocktail hour” infused with trivia, or live music – anything to refresh and recharge. Before bed she spends a few minutes reading mysteries which help clear her mind and relax.
If she’s on a plane or train it’s, in her thinking, a wonderful, uninterrupted time to “get things done”. And she does. For her, as it was for Teddy Roosevelt, procrastination is a mortal sin. If she starts to put things off she simply thinks of Teddy. I’m adopting this!
I’ll end with her note taking routine – she states Abraham Lincoln was a tireless note-taker who attributed much of his Gettysburg Address to a collection of notes gathered from his roll-top desk.
So, what’s my point? I’m not suggesting everyone should follow Ms. Goodwin’s routine. Perhaps adopting note taking, or early morning uninterrupted creative time might work for you? The point is if you feel a little out of kilter perhaps a simple routine adjustment will make things right. Let me know how it works.

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Money Well Spent?

When I got into the media business (sales) ad agencies were known for hiring youth, paying meager wages, providing minimal training and offering limited advancement. Long hours were common and I’m pretty sure late night pizza delivery was common several times a week.

That was 45 years ago! Over the last couple of decades agencies have pivoted, reimagined, reinvented and hacked themselves promising to be the agency of the future.

But wait, there’s more. Back then it was common for an agency to have 10 employees grinding on just 1 Million dollars in billings. Over time technologies introduced some new efficiencies and, of course, salaries exploded with inflation and the ratio declined to one person working on $1 Million. Today, I’m told, a single agency employee works on several million dollars’ worth of billings.

So, have those millions of dollars clients spent supporting the agency of the future built a place of well-trained, highly experienced, highly compensated individuals with multiple choices for early and frequent advancement?

I’m guilty of generalizing because there are some great shops, foundries, farms, or whatever that are doing their clients proud. For the rest keep disrupting until you get it right!

Are You Catering Your Hiring Process to the Talent Pool?

I read a terrific piece by Mike Daly – The Knights Ghost (see below) on LinkedIn today that calls for two additional observations.
First, empty desks represent a loss of revenue not savings due to an unattached salary. Second, in addition to revenue loss the company also suffers a reputation blow not just from the candidate but, as an influencer, among her/his circle of friends and associates. Some lost revenue is recoverable. Reputation dings add up quickly potentially destroying years of reputation building.
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Offer declined – Candidate accepted another offer.
Manager – Why? How did that happen?
Me- We took too long.
Manager – It’s been only 3 weeks since I talked to her.
Me- 2 weeks too long, she was on the market for 3 weeks when you talked to her.
Manager – Did you know about the offer?
Me- Yes and no. She did not tell me she has an offer pending but it’s a fact, any talented person will have multiple offers within a period of time, I would say 2 to 4 weeks they are off the market.
Manager – So how do we overcome this challenge?
Me- The issue starts with the hiring process. If it’s a lengthy and boring process that does not cater to the talent pool. We will lose every time.
Manager- How do we refine the process to retain top talent?
Me- Treat talent the way they want to be treated. Do not set high walls for them to climb, shorten the hiring process with prompt feedback and collaboration between departments, create job descriptions that make sense, promote your environment and the product or project they will be a part of.
Finally, ask for feedback on the hiring process from new hires and tend to their feedback.
The hiring process has to be exciting and innovative to attract and cater to top talent. “Birds of the same feather flock together”
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What are you doing to avoid losing a star to the competition?

DIGITAL TRADITIONAL FORK IN THE ROAD

Seems like every other day I receive a referral for a solid seller who successfully transitioned from traditional media to digital. They self-educated themselves, earned digital certifications and, when asked, conveyed relevant insights from decades of sales and people experience with colleagues. They practiced consultative selling before the phrase was coined, bring well-tune listening skills to the table and succinctly communicate internally building solutions that answer client needs.
They consistently win contests, receive awards and earn the respect of former managers. Exceeding goals, conducting themselves professionally and earning respect by giving respect is their mantra.
When we speak they are anxious to contribute, to be part of successful team, to again pay income taxes and to contribute to a culture that values fun alongside of working hard (and smart) while recognizing the organization’s success is a function of maintaining work – life equilibrium. They’ll assume a leadership role and it isn’t necessary to include a management title.
Of late I’ve been wondering if these fine folks shouldn’t return to their traditional roots armed with the skills to sell cross-platform and the knowledge of where traditional media fits within the broader media landscape. Or, should they continue pushing forward for a place in the digital ecosystem?
Help me out. And help those at the digital/traditional fork-in-the-road.
What are your thoughts?

Better than When We Found It

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As a boy scout I was taught to always leave a camp site “better than we found it” which, in simple terms, meant scouring the ground for anything that wasn’t part of nature. When camping and in many instances, in life, returning to the natural state is highly desirable. I believe the concept is applicable to each generation and its responsibility to following generations. So, over the next few months I’ll do my best to tackle a pertinent subject from the current national conversation stating with fake news.
The too frequent fake news stories are more than troubling. We can agree it’s a problem, right? And, it’s a big problem when a misguided, gun-toting “fixer” arrives at a pizza joint to free young hostages and an even bigger problem when fake news is influencing free speech and the election process.
Since my career history and my current profession broadly encompasses marketing communications I’m going to address the meteoric rise in paid content (native) and, depending on how it’s presented, where it fits in the fake news universe.
Paid content, or if you prefer, native advertising is not new. Google “Advertorial”. Back in the day advertorials were clearly identified as advertisements. Today’s paid content? Not so much and therein lies the problem. Consider, The New York Times’ content group T Brand Studio, which employs 110 people and Magazine publisher Time Inc. now employs 125 people at its content group, the Foundry.
No advertiser and no reputable media wants to be found guilty of fake news. In the past editor’s managed a thin demarcation line separating edit from advertising. Today the line seems to encourage paid content osmosis.
I’m suggesting the media clean-up its “camp site” rebuilding the wall between editorial (news) and advertising clearly identifying what’s not news. As real news regains clearer visibility the media will recapture its authority and trust while fake news (propaganda) fades back into the shadows where it belongs.
In the end the media, the reader/viewer and our democracy will greatly benefit.

Ad Agency Quandary

loyalty

I recently spoke with a senior media person who has over a decade of solid career growth with a major agency. While discussing her career she confided that she loved and respected her boss but, has no loyalty to the agency. I was shocked as it’s an agency everyone, once upon a time, wanted to work for and many did after toiling as un-paid interns.
What happened? She reflected on the job parts that were once fun – mentoring, teaching and helping others advance their careers. But, that’s before the agency “over-tightened” their financial belts due, perhaps, to razor-thin compensation agreements, overly aggressive demands from corporate HQ to “send more dollars home” or, simply management more concerned about making their yearly bonus at the expense of filling a couple of seats to relieve the pressure of those clocking in more than 8 hours a day.
It seems management forgot work-life balance is real. Family first is a fact. And, when loyalty leaves the building clients are sure to follow regardless of “great fee” arrangements.
Has the time arrived for management to go on an internal listening tour?

What Makes Us Different?

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Good Executive Search firms follow process. Great Executive Search firms tweak processes. PointClear Search finds way to reinvent processes, not just because we are expected to…but because we can’t help ourselves.

Brands Need Good Leadership

Leadership 1.0

Brands. There’s a lot of talk about brands, branding and the importance brands evolving.
Take Taylor Swift. Hugely successful ingénue country singer who successfully pivoted her brand to main stream vocal Phenom. Like Ms. Swift generations have names and identities and are brands that evolve.
For example, Baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values. As a group, baby boomers were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to the era in which they arrived, and were among the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.
Let’s look at today’s punching bag generation – Millennials. I know some, some are my children and in the course of my work – recruiting, I’ve interviewed my share. Most don’t deserve to be defined with the negatively charged commentary commonly described by the press.
In my opinion the Millennial generation is at a brand cross-road. One direction leaves them on the current controversial path. The other path amplifies all that’s good about a generation that trusts, believes in giving back and cares deeply for family. What’s missing, I submit, is leadership of substance to stabilize the generation’s brand and take it to its rightful place.
So, Millennials what are you waiting for?

Don’t Fear Good Executive Recruiters

Fear

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Good recruiters aren’t dangerous, likely to cause pain nor do they pose a threat. So, why are so many hiring managers reluctant to engage the services of recruiters?

Is it the “fear” of admitting they can’t do everything by themselves?

I’m convinced it has more to do with time and money. They don’t take the time to consider how much recruiters add to the bottom line focusing only on the recruiter’s fee – something they and their management view as a cost or expense. But, if one does the math it’s money well spent.

Take, for example, the revenue lost while the job remains unfilled. Add the cost of the hiring manager’s time devoted to filling the position – time taken away from attending to her/his primary responsibilities. The sum is considerably more than a simple fee and grows dramatically with each day the job remains open. One might factor in the cost of morale as others are tasked with picking up the organizational slack and its impact on current customers.

So, come on hiring managers, quit dragging your feet because some bean counter says recruiters are an expense and call us! No fear. We promise.

Managing a Most Precious Commodity – TIME

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Last week Roger’s blog examined how some companies’ inattention to moving the hiring process along with serious deliberation opens the door for quicker moving, decisive hiring managers to snap up superior talent. And, in today’s tight market every open head means lost revenue.

This week let’s examine the process as a doctor would a patient to determine what’s contributing to the long hiring cycle. Let’s consider the real cause too many layers of interviews and the extended cycle the symptom.

Consider one major time suck – the interview panel – that sometimes awkward series of back-to-back interviews populated by junior and highly experienced individuals. We know assembling the panel requires days if not weeks to organize. And then there’s the question of the members influence on the final outcome. Should panel members be afforded equal “votes”? Has the company adequately trained each of the interviewers? Are they checking off the boxes in the correct order – intelligence, cultural fit and skills?

There’s a special excitement for candidates after meeting with well-trained panels. Unfortunately momentum somehow falls into a black hole when management fails to act on panel feedback further causing the process to drag on.

If over-interviewing is crippling your quest to hire great talent are you prepared to avoid the time trap in 2016?