Monthly Archives: March 2013

Why So Many Companies Can’t Seem to Find the Right Candidates for Open Positions

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When asked to site the primary barrier to continued growth, most Presidents of midsized businesses do not say “access to growth financing,” “competition,” or “difficulties keeping up with advances in technology.”  As the host of the syndicated weekly peer to peer talk show, The Growth Strategist®, I have now posed that question to over 300 of my guests. The most frequent response, despite the high levels of unemployment, is “difficulty attracting top talent.”

They don’t need people who have been doing the exact same job that is available in their company.  The guests emphatically say that they can teach new employees how to do things “their way.”  Over and over again, the Presidents say that they want “people who will show up, are bright and want to keep learning.”

As of November, 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ JOLT report (JOB OPENINGS and LABOR TURNOVER) said that there were 3.6 million unfilled job openings in the United States.  BTW:  In 2009, there were 2.2 million unfilled jobs.

So, why do companies say they can’t find people to hire when the unemployment rate remains so high?

One explanation lies in how jobs are posted and resumes are screened.  We have become so technically savvy that we may have complicated the situation to our own detriment. Job postings include with so much detail that many great applicants don’t respond because they become convinced they don’t have the prerequisite skills. And when resumes do come in, computer programs sort at such a granular level that “people who would show up, are bright, and want to keep learning” are never called in for an interview.

If your company is struggling with this challenge, read WHY GOOD PEOPLE CAN’T GET JOBS : The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It by Peter Cappelli (Wharton Digital Press, 2012).

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2013 is Ambler’s 9th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr.) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.           

 

When Your Expertise Feels OBVIOUS, the Risk of Condescension Increases

Reflecting on year end strategy sessions, I recall reminding several clients that the base of your competitive advantage comes in the form of capabilities that your customers do not have but do need in order to handle something that is important to your customers.

Because our clients have long been accomplished accountants, electrical wholesalers, architects, programmers, facility managers, association executives etc. several somehow now take their expertise for granted.  So many tasks come easy to them.  The thing is, just because a task seems easy to you doesn’t mean that it is easy for everyone else; and certainly doesn’t mean that it is not important or valuable.

When there isn’t an appreciation of the capabilities of one’s own business, cues are missed during strategy formulation.

Maybe your competitive advantage is your ability to both train and learn from new employees.  Could your competitive advantage be the speed, consistency, accuracy and ease that you deliver?  Or, could your competitive advantage be that your team doesn’t make customers feel stupid?

We probably all know CPA firms that file extensions more than others, don’t explain their logic, or talk down to customers. Having CPAs on staff who can explain Dodd Frank and its implications to customers in a way that doesn’t make customers feel stupid is a stronger competitive position for a CPA firm than having one of the authors of Dodd Frank legislation on staff.  Condescension is not a great choice for competitive advantage.

One way to reduce the risk of condescending attitudes is to help your employees gain appreciation for what your customers know how to do that you and your team don’t know how to do…and vice versa. Mutual appreciation of your customers’ and your capabilities pays off.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2013 is Ambler’s 9th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr.) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.   

Speed Up Sales by Replicating Impressive Problem Solving

Look for…watch for … a complex client situation that your team somehow figured out!

The prospect had a ton of excuses but… somehow …one of your rainmakers addressed each and every excuse and objection.

Or a client was indecisive.  One minute the client’s Baby Boomer executives seemed like they were energized and enthusiastic leaders.  The next minute, those same people seemed tired and ready to retire. But …somehow …your account manager found ways to surface clarity and got things moving again.

Or a department head in the client company had become frustrated because younger employees “only want to do what they want to do.  It seems like the Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials aren’t motivated to learn, take responsibility or be promoted.  Folks used to want to become partners/shareholders” but today, the client’s department head feels the weight of the world on his/her shoulders. He/she is under-staffed, underpaid, taken for granted, and is starting to feel resentful and angry.  And yet… somehow… your project manager finds ways to keep things going, ease the pain, and represent your business well.

Whether it is your rainmakers, your account managers, or your project managers or a combination of them… if you can think of situations like this, your company has a competitive advantage in today’s economy.

As soon as your team solves a client problem that your competitors couldn’t, ask your college interns to do some research to find/identify some more organizations with similar situations as were involved in the problem your team just resolved.  We are all so completely naked when it comes to the Internet.  If you are looking for a company with a Baby Boomer Owner with one foot in and the other foot out the door, an intern could quickly find five examples. If you are looking for a company with a knowledge/responsibility/ambition gap between the generations, an intern could easily locate five examples. And, if you are looking for indecisive executives…well…they all have cause to be indecisive these days.

Replicate your successes to speed up sales results.  Sometimes your competitive advantage doesn’t come in the form of geographic territory, product packaging, or advanced technology…it comes in the form of behavior. Today’s challenges require clear thinking, can do attitudes, and follow through.

If even a few people on your team have those attribute, replicate that…for the benefit of your clients…and your own business.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2013 is Ambler’s 9th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr.) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.           

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