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Dec
03

Design a Retirement That Excites You

When George Thorne walks into his medical practice in Austin Texas, he is greeted warmly by staff and makes friendly conversation about kids and pets. An ophthalmologist for thirty-plus years, he is quick to speak fondly of his patients, medical partners, and team. It’s clear he has loved his career. But at age 65, he recently decided to stop performing surgery and phase himself out of his practice altogether. “I’m not sure what’s on the other side of this,” he told me with a hint of anguish, “but it’s time.”

George is like many of the Baby Boomers I work with in my executive coaching practice. They’ve had high-powered careers that they’ve found fulfilling and are core to their identities. As they approach so-called retirement age, they are ready (or forced) to transition out of their longtime professions and are somewhat anxious about what’s next. Their concerns are less financial than identity- and change-related: How can I successfully reinvent myself as I leave behind my career? What does the next phase look like for me? How can I make sure I don’t get bored?

I once

 December 3rd, 2015  
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Oct
08

Not Getting Hired Maybe People Think You are Too Old

If you’re looking for work, and you’re concerned about why you’re not getting hired, read on.

There’s a new study out about how the law doesn’t matter (again). If you’re older, or disabled, or a minority, you’re probably going to be discriminated against in the workplace.

Of course, this is illegal–but this article is not about changing the world, improving people’s attitudes or proving a point. Instead, it’s about dealing with reality–and winning.

So, I reached out to about two dozen executives, job-seekers and coaches for advice. Here are 12 things older people can do to mask their ages, and increase their odds of getting hired.

1. Flat-out lie.

I’m not endorsing this, but I want to lead with it to make it clear what the competition is doing.

“Whenever I give interviews for articles in the paper and online,  I always say I’m 34,” said one woman who didn’t want her name used for reasons that are about to become obvious. That way, when prospective employers or anyone else in business Googles her, they’ll assume she’s about 15 years younger than she actually is.

2. Keep everything in the 21st Century.

If you’re old enough to remember what it was like to party like

 October 8th, 2015  
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Sep
01

Incredible Things You Never Knew About the Myers Briggs Test

mb0102Long before introvert became a fashionable way to self-identify, long before the concept of a personality “profile” became a norm for realms like online dating, there was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, otherwise known as the world’s most popular personality test.

Through the years, Inc. has devoted a lot of ink to personality tests: their pros and cons, their utility and their misapplication, how to find a personality test that’s ideal for your hiring needs. Regardless of its place in the contemporary human resources ecosystem, the Myers-Briggs indicator looms large over our entrepreneurial landscape for its brand alone: It’s the one hiring test most non-HR folks have heard of. It also put “introvert” into the mainstream as a personality category decades before Susan Cain championed it.

Against this backdrop of the test’s sociocultural significance, you might think more would be known about the inventor of the test. The histories of comparable pioneers in their particular assessment or testing categories–think of Gallup or Kaplan Test Prep–are fairly well documented. But what about the inventor of the Myers-Briggs indicator?

Her name is Isabel Briggs Myers. And thanks to the amazing work of Merve

 September 1st, 2015  
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Dec
28

Are You a High Potential

Some employees are more talented than others. That’s a fact of organizational life that few executives and HR managers would dispute. The more debatable point is how to treat the people who appear to have the highest potential. Opponents of special treatment argue that all employees are talented in some way and, therefore, all should receive equal opportunities for growth. Devoting a disproportionate amount of energy and resources to a select few, their thinking goes, might cause you to overlook the potential contributions of the many. But the disagreement doesn’t stop there. Some executives say that a company’s list of high potentials—and the process for creating it—should be a closely guarded secret. After all, why dampen motivation among the roughly 95% of employees who aren’t on the list?

For the past 15 to 20 years, we’ve been studying programs for high-potential leaders. Most recently we surveyed 45 companies worldwide about how they identify and develop these people. We then interviewed HR executives at a dozen of those companies to gain insights about the experiences they provide for high potentials and about the criteria for getting and staying on the list. Then, guided by input from HR leaders, we met with and

 December 28th, 2015  
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Dec
20

Get Ready for Your Next Assignment

When Bruce Wilkinson, an executive in World Vision Inter­national’s Zambia operation, learned that he was going to be promoted to regional director for southern Africa, he immediately started reading performance reviews of key staff members and talking to his peers, other national officers in the $2.6 billion organization. In doing so he uncovered a serious weakness: A host of critical positions in the region had gone unfilled for as long as 16 months, leading to lost contracts and deterioration in the programs WVI undertakes to empower poor communities. Human resources needed to step up its game.

But Wilkinson also saw that his appointment offered an opportunity—to both fix broken functions, such as HR, and create new ones, such as quality assurance, that could improve his region’s performance. He developed a plan of action that would involve laying off the top two tiers of managers—about 20 people—and asking them to reapply for their jobs. “You want the elements of your vision to take shape before you start,” Wilkinson explains. “In my case, I was redefining the role of the regional office as a true service center, and managers got the message.”

Most executives know what their next project or promotion will be well

 December 20th, 2015  
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Dec
16

How to Hang On to Your High Potentials

The war for talent shows no signs of letting up, even in sectors experiencing modest growth. According to a global study we conducted, only 15% of companies in North America and Asia believe that they have enough qualified successors for key positions. The picture is slightly better in Europe, but even so, fewer than 30% of European companies feel confident about the quality and amount of talent in their pipelines. Moreover, in the regions where many companies are focusing their growth strategies—emerging markets—the supply of experienced managers is the most limited, and the shortage is expected to continue for another two decades.

One popular battle strategy is to institute programs aimed at “high potentials”—the people that companies believe may become their future leaders. The appeal is clear for both sides: Promising managers are attracted to companies known for strong development opportunities, and a well-managed talent pipeline dramatically increases the odds that a company will appoint great leaders at the top.

But these programs aren’t simple to execute. The selection criteria are often confusing. Employees are frequently mystified by who’s included and who’s excluded. Company leaders have to weigh the upside of putting top performers into developmental opportunities against the downside of temporarily

 December 16th, 2015  
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Dec
10

5 Things Every Employee Should Ask Their CEO

Recently, on my YouTube show, my editor in chief Steve Unwin asked me a question that I thought was very poignant and interesting. Even more so than that, it felt daring. He wasn’t nervous to ask it. And it got me thinking about all the questions I’ve been asked as CEO of my company VaynerMedia. Some have really provoked me to think. Some have been filled with fluff. But overall, I realized that knowing what to ask if you are ever presented with the opportunity is incredibly valuable. So I thought I would put together this list of five questions I think every employee should ask their CEO in their life.

1. “What is your finish line?”

Aka, what does success look like to them? What does their finish line look like? When I tell my employees my end goal is to buy the New York Jets, it allows them to understand that my behavior is long term. It tells them I’m playing for a fifty year narrative. That means I won’t cut corners. I don’t overvalue the quick dollar. I’m playing for long term keeps. And if the employee really gets that, they’ll see that that creates interesting long term stability.

Maybe,

 December 10th, 2015  
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