How to Be Happy at Work-Part 1

July 30th, 2012

If you’re unhappy at work –or anywhere else, for that matter–it’s possible you’ve made yourself unhappy without being aware of it. There’s an easy way to change that.

Credit belongs to Geoffrey James for this article who writes the“Sales Source” column on Inc.com.

Let me (Mr. James) start off with a little story.

I once knew a saleswoman–young, divorced–who got a diagnosis of breast cancer.  She had to work and raise two kids while fighting the cancer. Even so, she managed to be happy at work, noticeably happier than her co-workers.  In fact, she not only won her battle with cancer but subsequently became one of the top salespeople at Bristol Myers.

She was not, as it happens, naturally cheerful.  Quite the contrary.  When she started full-time work, she was frequently depressed.  But she turned it around, using the techniques I’m going to provide you in this column.

That saleswoman once told me: When you’re unhappy, it’s because you’ve decided to be unhappy.

Maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision; maybe it crept up on you while you weren’t looking–but it was a decision nonetheless.  And that’s good news, because you can decide instead to be happy. You just need to understand how and why you make the decisions.

What Are Your Rules?

Happiness and unhappiness (in work and in life) result entirely from the rules in your head that you use to evaluate events.  Those rules determine what’s worth focusing on, and how you react to what you focus on.

Many people have rules that make it very difficult for them to happy and very easy for them to be miserable.

I once worked with a sales guy who was always angry at the people he worked with. The moment anything didn’t go the way he thought it should go, he’d be screaming in somebody’s face.  He was making everyone around him miserable–but just as importantly, he was making himself miserable, because just about anything set him off.

For this guy, the everyday nonsense that goes on in every workplace was not just important, but crazy-making important.

I once asked him what made him happy.  His answer: “The only thing that makes this! $%$#! job worthwhile is when I win a $1 million account.”  I asked him how often that happened.  His response: “About once a year.”

In other words, this guy had internal rules that guaranteed he’d be miserable on a day-to-day basis, but only happy once a year.

One of the other sales guys at that firm had the exact opposite set of rules.  His philosophy was “every day above ground is a good day.”  When he encountered setbacks, he shrugged them off–because, according to his internal rules, they just weren’t that important.  When I asked him what made him miserable, his answer was: “Not much.”  When I pressed him for a real answer, he said: “When somebody I love dies.”

In other words, the second sales guy had rules that made it easy for him to be happy but difficult to be miserable.

I’d like to be able to write that Mr. Positivity regularly outsold Mr. Negativity, but in fact their sales results were similar.  Even so, I think Mr. Negativity was a loser, because he lived each day in a state of misery.  His colleague was always happy.  He was winning at life.  He was happy at work.

Next week we will publish Part 2 with some practical tips on making you a happier person.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691. We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

 Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:

www.racohenconsulting.com

7 LinkedIn Pitfalls to Avoid

July 23rd, 2012

Most professionals use the LinkedIn in some capacity–but one expert says they’re making a lot of mistakes that are easy to avoid.

Much of the credit for this post belongs to Tom Searcy –Inc.com

Today, LinkedIn is the No. 1 social media platform for professionals. Estimates of professional participation in LinkedIn are as high as 83%.

But when I talked to one of my friends–social media expert Alexandra Gibson from OttoPilot Media–she told me that she sees too many professionals making a lot of mistakes.

Here are the seven she sees most often:

1. Do you only use it if you need a job? I can usually tell when my friends are on the job prowl because all of a sudden, a barely existent LinkedIn profile is revived. The truth is that you’ll be much better served by keeping your profile and connections current, rather than just reaching out to people when you need something.

2. Do you have a complete profile? A bare-bones profile does not do you (or your company) any favors. Add all important companies and a description of the results you achieved in the past. Don’t forget to optimize your profile for search–creating a keyword rich profile will help people find you and your company.

3. Do you belong to the right groups? There are more groups out there than there are seconds in a day, so it can be difficult to decide which are most important. If you join no other groups, join your alumni groups (college, prep school, grad school, fraternity or sorority). Industry groups–both for your own company and your major customer market segments–are a clear next step.

4. Are you sharing valuable content? When you publish a great blog post or your company creates a valuable white paper, share it on your LinkedIn feed. Also, share content in your feed from other sources besides your own. Post in your groups to judiciously share articles and links if you feel that it would be of interest to that audience. This will help show you as a thought leader–and, if the content is on your site, it can generate quality leads directly from LinkedIn.

5. Are you building out your connections? Again, don’t wait till you need something: You should be constantly adding and accepting connections from people you know professionally or personally. I do not recommend trying to connect with people that you don’t actually know: You want this to be your real professional network, so if someone says, “Hey, I see you know Jim Smith,” you can say that you actually worked with him at a project at a previous company and not that you were just padding your connections number.

6. Are you utilizing LinkedIn Answers? The underutilized LinkedIn Answers section is another valuable place to show your expertise and provide value. People ask questions and, if you know anything about the topic, you can answer in a forum. Add links to important content that backs up your answer, especially if it’s content from your site that fits with the question. One of the best things about LinkedIn Answers is its staying power–unlike other social media sites (think Twitter), the section gets visited by people with similar questions over time, so it can generate leads even a year later. 

7. Have you brought your staff along? Sure, it might be a bit much to require your CFO to join some social media sites—however, since LinkedIn is a professional network that focuses on individual, professional connections, you should emphasize its importance to your entire team. Think of the power you could tap into if, the next time you go to pitch a company, you check LinkedIn and see that Mary Ellen in accounting is already connected to the chief marketing officer.

If we learn these lessons, we can all build our brand(s).

For more information or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691. We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

 Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 130 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

Why Some Transactions Fall Apart- Part 2

July 16th, 2012

Why Some Transactions Fall Apart- Part 2

In Part 1, we discussed two other common causes of why some transactions fall apart. Skeletons in the Closet and the Surfacing of new (and often negative) Financial Issues. Please see last week’s Blog or write to us to get a copy of Part 1.

A Personality Clash

Chemistry between buyer and seller is very important. If it is not established, or is fragile, the skeletons and roadblocks that might come up could destroy the deal. A casual dinner between buyer and seller can go a long way in working out problems along the way. There must be mutual trust typically before both sides are prepared to complete a deal. The buyer or Seller are not expected to become best friends, they are expected to maintain a professional relationship with mutual respect so whatever communication is necessary can be handled with comfort on both sides.

Lack of Flexibility in Negotiating

If either party becomes inflexible in the negotiations, the deal could crater. An unreasonable demand half-way through the deal could sink it. The seller decides midway that he wants the carry-back notes collateralized. Or the buyer wants the seller to warranty the client contracts. Major issues should be revealed prior to a letter of intent being drafted. If either side has a non-negotiable item, it should be broached initially.

Great chemistry won’t solve all problems. However, being sure you are focusing on the big picture and not getting caught up in the emotion of the negotiating process can go a long way toward getting a deal done; sometimes one party or the other has to rise about the noise and remain focused on achieving the main objectives of the sale. We urge you to think twice before issuing “ultimatum type’ challenges to the other side. Even, when resolved those ultimatums can scar a relationship going forward, which is never a good idea.

Using the services of an experienced and professional intermediary can eliminate, or at least lessen, some of these issues before the parties get too involved in the deal-making process.

For more information or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691. We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 130 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

Why Some Transactions Fall Apart- Part 1

July 10th, 2012

Skeletons in the Closet

Selling a staffing company can be a challenging task. This is why we highly recommend hiring an M & A advisor to help you with this extremely important step on your way to retirement or another career. We would like you to hire us, however you should interview a few of us and decide who you feel most comfortable with handling one of your larget assets. Ask for references and please contact them. We are sure you will make a good decision even if you choose someone else. Its most important not to go it alone.

An undisclosed material fact discovered during the due diligence phase or just before closing can crater a deal quickly. Every business has its own good, bad and uglies – items that are less than perfect, pending litigation, warranty problems, back tax issues, etc. The buyer may discover that workers comp expenses are under reported or that certain key employees are not under a non-compete agreement.

The deal could be blown if the seller discovers that the cost of replacement employees will force a reduction in the purchase price or the buyer is unwilling to invest additional funds to correct the workers comp errors. These are not hypothetical we have the scars from each of these challenges as a reminder of how important it is to reveal everything to your Advisor, an experienced Advisor will know how and when to address the issue (s) to minimize its impact.

The best way to handle skeletons in the closet is to reveal them from the very beginning of the deal. Buyers (and sellers) hate surprises. Addressing them from the beginning with a plausible explanation should eliminate this problem. Sellers should realize that the skeletons will come out of the closet somewhere along the line. Since you “can’t conceal it”, be upfront about “revealing it” and build trust.

Financial Issues Surface

A major deal breaker occurs when sales and/or earnings suddenly drop. If the buyer has been made aware of a drop – for example, decreased sales due to seasonal business – most likely, no problem. But, if there is no apparent reason, the buyer could become spooked and either lower their offering price or drop the deal all together. It is important that management continue to run the business effectively during the sales process.

 The other financial issue that may surface involves the seller getting cold feet. All of a sudden, the seller realizes that the proceeds from the sale are not what he or she expected. After paying off suppliers, bank debt, taxes, etc., the seller realizes that it really doesn’t pay to sell and the deal craters. A seller should sit down with his accountant and intermediary and go through the numbers to determine just what the real proceeds will be preferably before a decision to go on the market is taken and certainly before an LOI or Term Sheet is signed.

Part 2 will follow next week and will discuss two other common causes for M & A deals falling apart.

For more information or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691. We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 130 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

 

Characteristics of impactful M & A deals!

July 3rd, 2012

Take a Chance and find new Opportunities through Staffing M & A!

Learn about how to succeed with High Stakes: Seven Bets that Matter

A successful merger or acquisition (M&A) deal is the one that can open doors of opportunities in new markets, fill talent gaps, improve operational performance and grow shareholder value. For many organizations the M&A deal can be the most significant event in their history. And, for many leaders an M&A transaction may be the biggest opportunity of their career.

One critical factor that makes any deal go beyond stakeholder expectations is the management ability to lead the deal successfully through the transformation. That requires making effective bets each step of the way.

“This deal could be the most significant event in your company’s history— and potentially, the biggest opportunity of your career.”

Deloitte Consulting LLP’s latest paper, calls it, High stakes M&A: Seven bets that matter, discusses the below seven areas that professionals should focus upon for an effective M&A transaction:

1)    Focus on five critical activities that senior leaders can use to demonstrate leadership, create enthusiasm and build momentum.

2)    Identify three challenges that should be presented to the leadership team for delivering full potential value of a transaction.

3)    Identify people ideally from both organizations to attend a leadership summit, outline an agenda that can engage them in creating the vision of the future organization and set a date. Be careful who you leave behind, they may think you don’t see them in a future role.

4)    Develop the hypothesis for the combined organization’s operating strategy that will be presented to the leadership team.

5)    Develop a common message for everyone to hear while simultaneously customizing this message to present the opportunities available for each major audience.

6)    Select a leader to own the plan for identifying and engaging critical talent-related capabilities.

7)    Identify the three things that the leadership team should be asked to do differently to demonstrate the desired the culture.

Deloitte Consulting is quite certain of this approach, what do you think?

For more information or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691. We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 130 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:

www.racohenconsulting.com