Are you an initiator?

Are you an initiator?

One Behavior Separates The Successful From The Average

A certain farmer had become old and ready to pass his farm down to one of his two sons. When he brought his sons together to speak about it, he told them: The farm will go to the younger son.

The older son was furious! “What are you talking about?!” he fumed.

The father sat patiently, thinking.

“Okay,” the father said, “I need you to do something for me. We need more stocks. Will you go to Cibi’s farm and see if he has any cows for sale?”

The older son shortly returned and reported, “Father, Cibi has 6 cows for sale.”

The father graciously thanked the older son for his work. He then turned to the younger son and said, “I need you to do something for me. We need more stocks. Will you go to Cibi’s farm and see if he has any cows for sale?”

The younger son did as he was asked. A short while later, he returned and reported, “Father, Cibi has 6 cows for sale. Each cow will cost 2,000 rupees. If we are thinking about buying more than 6 cows, Cibi said he would be willing to reduce the price 100 rupees. Cibi also said they are getting special jersey cows next week if we aren’t in a hurry, it may be good to wait. However, if we need the cows urgently, Cibi said he could deliver the cows tomorrow.”

The father graciously thanked the younger son for his work. He then turned to the older son and said, “That’s why your younger brother is getting the farm.”

Successful People Initiate

Most people only do what they are asked, doing only the minimum requirement. They need specific instructions on most things they do.

Conversely, those who become successful are anxiously engaged in a good cause. They don’t need to be managed in all things. They don’t just do the job, they do it right and complete. They also influence the direction for how certain ideas and projects go.

Most importantly, those who become successful initiate. They reach out to people, ask questions, make recommendations, offer to help, and pitch their ideas.

Being successful requires being proactive and not waiting for life to come to you. It means you’re on offense, not defense. You’re active, not passive.

In every organization, there are a select few employees who would be difficult to replace. For the most part, most people are like the older son in the story. Most people could be easily replaced. Most people are passive and reactive. They require specific instructions. They need to be governed and managed in all things.

Initiation always involves some degree of risk. You’re putting yourself out there and there is a chance you could fail.

Conversely, doing only what you’re told entails no risk and carries no responsibility. It’s playing safe.

Conclusion

Are you an initiator? You absolutely can be.

But if not, one thing is for certain: Life isn’t going to wait for you.

by Benjamin P. Hardy, Read more here

For Employers.. Unlock Staff Potential

For Employers.. Unlock Staff Potential

Get Set for Success: Five Tips for Unlocking the Potential of New Hires

Your new hire has signed their contract, watched the required onboarding videos, and maybe even gotten some cool company swag. Now it’s time for you to show them to their desk.

So what’s next? Do you just walk away and leave them there to figure things out? That’s not exactly what you’d call a plan, never mind a strategy. Just how do you set your new hires up for success?

Getting onboarding right is no small thing: According to research conducted by HR consulting firm The Wynhurst Group, “New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.”

We all want to retain great talent. Let’s take a look at five tips for unlocking your new hire’s potential during those critical early days, weeks and months at your company.

1. Before they start

Onboarding doesn’t begin on the first day, it begins before your new hire even applies.

Top candidates have their pick of job opportunities, and they will compare your company to others based on what they see and read online. So communicating your employer brand and culture clearly and effectively from the start is essential if you want to attract people who’ll be a good fit.

Nowadays there are lots of ways to educate “talent in the wild” about your company. You can tell your story on your site, through social media, video or even via in-person events.

But the picture really becomes complete when you use Company Pages. Here you can combine most of those channels with the power of employee reviews, giving interested candidates the full sense of what it’s like to work at your company. The more informed your candidates are about your company before that first day, the better equipped they are to hit the ground running.

2. The first day

Everyone knows what it’s like to be the “new person.” Feeling awkward, unsure or insecure on the first day of school or work is as natural as feeling cold on the South Pole. And studies have shown that anxiety in new situations, such as starting a new job, can come in part from not feeling confident about introducing ourselves.

Research has shown that social ties at work improve productivity and keep people engaged, so empower your hires to develop them from the start. Don’t just leave them at their desks and hope for the best. Help them nix anxiety and make those connections by introducing them to colleagues and teammates.

An introductory email is a good start, but it’s also the bare minimum. Encourage team members to stop by the new hire’s desk and be the first to say, “hello”. Establish an expectation on your team that everyone is welcoming, friendly and ready to help.

team lunch on the first day isn’t a bad idea either. It’s a quick and fun way to break the ice and make new hires feel welcome (and you’ll enjoy it too).

3. The first week

Use the first week to set expectations and clear up any confusion a new hire may have about their role in the company.

Take the time to carefully define deadlines and deliverables—this will set a solid foundation for a good working relationship. People are much more easily motivated when they have clear goals to aim for.

Of course, some things can only be learned through time. Every firm has its own unique jargon not to mention all those mysterious, unwritten rules that are invisible to newcomers.

This is one reason why many Fortune 500 companies including Google, General Electric, and Time Warner Cable have implemented mentorship programs. Mentors can help answer questions surrounding the quirks of a company’s culture, while also providing constructive criticism and praise.

This is especially important if you hope to retain younger workers. According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, millennials who intend to to work at the same organization for more than five years are two times as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%).

4. The first month

So now your hire has been in the job for a month—this is a good time for a general check in to see see how they are doing and answer any lingering questions. This is important whoever you’ve hired, but if you are dealing specifically with a millennial hire, you should also plan for regular feedback sessions.

Millennials don’t just thrive with a mentor. A study conducted by SuccessFactors and Oxford Economics in 2014 found that they want feedback from their managers at least once a month, and probably more often.

The same study found that millennials want feedback 50% more often than employees in other generations. And although feedback sounds formal, many just want frequent, informal updates on their progress—and 56% of them felt that they weren’t getting enough.

So if you’re a hands-off kind of manager you may want to reconsider that for younger hires, who are always looking for ways to become better and more efficient at their jobs. Regular check-ins and coaching can help them achieve this.

That’s not all: an Indeed analysis showed that 65% of employees look for a new position within the first three months of starting a job, so regular check-ins could be vital for retaining new hires.

5. The first 6 months

Employees can leave a company for many reasons, and one of the most common ones is to advance their career.

However, although millennials are often accused of job hopping, according to an Indeed survey most report staying in a position for an average of four years. Tenure for non-millennials is around seven years.

The truth is, while a job for life may be a thing of the past in most industries, if you give employees a chance to stick around and learn from you, and to grow in their careers, then they’ll take it.

So now that your new hire has had time to settle in, encourage them to think big, and to explore long term career goals at your firm.

Once their goals are defined, make sure that you support them by informing them of any training or growth opportunities that arise and outlining actionable steps to help them get to where they aim to be.

By implementing these tips, you won’t  just set up your new hire for short-term success—you’ll be unlocking potential which could positively impact your company for years to come. And who doesn’t want that?

Written by Carmen Bryant, Director of Employer Insights at Indeed. 

Looking for a Job?

Looking for a Job?

 10 Ways The Job Search Has Changed – By Joshua Waldman, Next Avenue Contributor

 

 

Job searching has changed dramatically over the past few years. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to take a much different approach than you did previously. Here are 10 things today’s job hunters need to know:

1. Google has replaced the resumé. Recruiters are now using Google and LinkedIn searches to find talent, instead of paying for job-board or talent databases. Many companies are even mandating that every new application go through a Google screening process.

(MORE: Laid Off After 50: 5 Dos and a Don’t)

So that means the first page of your Google results matter much more during a job search than they ever did before. I’ve written an article showing how to increase your rank in Googleand attract the attention of hiring managers.

2. A summary of your work history is enough. Because there are so many candidates competing for each job, HR people (or hiring managers, if they are tasked with recruitment) often scan resumés very briefly. The average time spent on a resumé is 30 seconds.

LinkedIn gives you a way to create a summary; use it.

3. Social proof is a must. Social proof — the testimonials, endorsements and recommendations of your abilities that appear on social networks — seriously reduce the perceived risk of you as a candidate.

The most costly mistake a hiring manager can make is to give a job to the wrong person. Some say that if a new hire leaves within three months, it costs the organization one and a half times that person’s annual salary. And with the economy as tight as it is, you can understand why hiring managers are so risk averse.

If you don’t have many endorsements and recommendations in your LinkedIn profile, get some before looking for a job.

4. Resumés and cover letters aren’t read on paper anymore. Most organizations are not receiving paper resumés — and when they get them via email or their application system, they don’t print them. So expect your resumé and cover letter to be read on a computer screen.

(MORE: Create a Winning Midlife Resumé to Get Hired)

This means you have to format your resumé and other job-search documents in a way that makes screen-scanning easy. I’ve written an article that shows you how to format your resumé properly.

5. Relationships come first, resumés second. Resumés are not used as introductory documents much these days. In fact, “send me your resumé” is often an afterthought once an introduction is made.

And if an introduction is made electronically, then your online profile offers much more information than a resumé.

So shift your priorities from “I have to get my resumé done!” to “Where can I meet some more people today?”

6. Employers only care about what they want. In years past, a resumé or job application was focused on the job seeker’s needs. This is not true any more.

Now an application, resumé or cover letter must speak to what value the prospective employee can bring to the organization. So be sure to demonstrate how you can help the company and how soon it can expect to benefit.

7. Work gaps aren’t big problems. Large gaps in your resumé are not as important as they used to be.

Not only do employers today realize that millions of great and wonderful people got laid off, they also appreciate it when those candidates have showed initiative and tried to start their own thing, even if that took time and resulted in a period of unemployment.

8. Nouns are the new currency. Screening software and LinkedIn talent searches have introduced an unexpected element to the way a resumé should be written.

Because these tools rely on nouns or keywords to deliver search results to recruiters, the resumés with the right combination of nouns often win.

If you want to succeed in today’s job search, make a commitment to learn how to research keywords and use them appropriately.

9. Everyone has a personal brand – yes, everyone. Ten years ago, not many people knew what a personal brand was and having one wasn’t easy to explain. (Your personal brand is what sets you apart as a job candidate.) These days, even if you don’t know what your personal brand is, you still have one – as well as an online reputation revealing it.

And because recruiters and hiring managers are looking for red flags, inconsistencies in your image or messaging will prevent you from passing their screening.

So you have to decide, will you be in control of your image or will someone else? I think the Brand-Yourself.com video tutorial is the best tool out there to help you establish your brand.

10. Typing isn’t a skill anymore. Being able to type used to be a skill people would highlight on their resumé. No longer.

What really matters is how well you’ve prepared yourself for the job that’s available. To really shine, focus on customizing each resumé and cover letter to the position you’re trying to get.

It’s better to send off a few very targeted applications then it is to spray and pray.

A version of this article originally appeared on CareeerEnlightenment.com.

Advice & Tips

Advice & Tips

5 awkward interview moments – and how to bounce back from them

Job interviews are demanding at the best of times, and then your phone rings or you blurt out a swear word! But it’s not over when something like this happens – if you know what to do.

The truth is, awkward moments happen to everyone. The key is knowing how to acknowledge it and move on gracefully. We asked career coach Nicole Grainger-Marsh for her expert advice on how to deal with five cringe-worthy scenarios.

  1. Your mobile phone rings. This happens to the best of us. If your phone rings in the middle of your job interview, Grainger-Marsh recommends dealing with it quickly, to get the conversation back on track. “Saying ‘I’m so sorry, I thought I had switched it to silent before I came in here – it must have been a slip of the finger,’ will do the trick. It makes it clear that this isn’t your standard M.O. and that you don’t believe it’s appropriate to take calls in important meetings.”
  2. You forget a word. You’re in the middle of answering a question when you suddenly find yourself stumped. “Before you start panicking, remind yourself what you’re there for. Unless you’re interviewing for a job with Webster’s Dictionary, it’s okay to forget the odd word.” You’re only human, so just be honest. “Explain that you can’t put your finger on the exact word that you’re looking for, so instead describe to them what you’re trying to communicate. Nine times out of ten, the word will come to you as you talk.”
  3. You can’t think of an answer. You can do all the preparation in the world and still get thrown by a question. If this happens, it can be easy to go into panic mode, “which has the opposite effect of what you need; your logical brain shuts down.” Grainger-Marsh says what you need to do is “calm the panic with some deep breaths” and “acknowledge that you need some time to think.” For example: “‘That’s a really interesting question. I just need a moment to consider that.’”
  4. You accidentally swear. Sometimes you can be so jittery in an interview that you let slip a swear word. This is unlikely to go down well with any employer, so if you do this make sure you own up to it straight away. “Apologise, explain that it’s not your standard behaviour, and that because you’re so keen on this role you’re feeling more nervous than usual,” Grainger-Marsh advises. “It’s tough to explain this away as a positive, but communicating how much it means to you to win this job definitely helps.”
  5. You badmouth your previous employer. This is another example of when it’s best to move fast. “As soon as you realise you’ve badmouthed your former employer, you need to acknowledge it and put on a positive spin. For example: ‘I just realised that sounded very critical, which is not how I intended it. There were some great things about working for that company and I have taken away so much that will assist me in my next role.’”

How to bounce back from an awkward moment

  • Remind yourself that the interviewer is only human. “They might have a fancy title, but they would have experienced their fair share of awkward moments, so they’re far more likely to show you empathy than show you the door.”
  • “Set some smaller goals for the interview” – such as “to communicate succinctly, or to use body language to demonstrate your engagement” – so that you don’t psyche yourself out by only thinking about getting the job.
  • Focus on “demonstrating your fit for the role”, rather than trying to prove to the interviewer that you’re super-human.

These strategies will help you get back into the right frame of mind if you find yourself in an awkward moment, to finish your interview on a positive note.

Article written by our partner, SEEK

Thinking About Quitting Your Job?

Thinking About Quitting Your Job?

 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Quitting My Job – by Anna Lundberg, Coach, Speaker & Writer

In September 2013, I walked out of my office and into the unknown. I had resigned from my job, the first after my studies, with no concrete plans as to what I would be doing next.

It had started with a request to my boss to take a three-month sabbatical. Off I went to South America to travel from Quito, Ecuador, through to Buenos Aires, Argentina. During my travels, I devoured every personal development and career book I could find on Kindle, I chatted to people I met in hostels and listened to their very different stories about what they were doing and why, and I did a whole lot of soul searching. Then halfway through that trip, I called up HR and I officially gave my resignation.

Fast-forward to today, four years later, and I’ve been on one big rollercoaster journey! I had quit without any kind of clear plan, which has led to quite a few detours and sharp turns along the way – and, to be honest, things are still evolving.

But at no point have I ever regretted my decision.

Here are 10 reasons why…

 1. Life on the other side is not as scary as you think

As I looked out at the world from the comfort of a steady job and a regular salary, the fear of leaving that security behind was almost paralysing. My whole life I had followed the expected path, suffering from what I now call the ‘good girl syndrome’, and breaking away from that path seemed incredibly rebellious and audacious at the time. Once I had made the decision to quit and I was committed to getting off that path, however, that fear all but disappeared. I felt empowered and excited by my ability to make things happen, and I armed myself with information by reading more books about freelancing and consulting, talking to people who had set up their own businesses, going to events where I met like-minded people and, eventually, working with my a number of coaches. I also realised that the security I had felt in my previous job was an illusion: people get fired, departments are restructured, companies fold. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you in a job that makes you unhappy.

2. You have to stick to your guns

I thought I’d made The Big Decision once and for all and that was it, tada, I was forging my own path. But the truth is that I’ve had to keep questioning myself. The call of the corporate world in the first months and years after I left remained loud and alluring: recruiters called with tempting job titles and six-figure salaries, my parents worried about my pension, and corporate clients wanted me to stay on in a full-time capacity. Each time, I had to reaffirm my decision to leave that world behind and each time, I came out that bit stronger and more determined to continue to explore and create my own version of success. In the past, I had always looked to other people for reassurance and confirmation that I was making the right decision, but I know now that I’m the only one who can ever know what’s right for me. So once you’ve made that decision, run with it, trust your instincts, and don’t look back.

3. There are more options than you ever thought possible

In my previous job, I was surrounded by people with the same academic background and with the same ambitions of salary increases and promotions. We were all comfortable within that world and unsure of what lay beyond. As soon as I had left, though, I encountered people with diverse backgrounds, with much broader ambitions, and with altogether different priorities. Travelling in particular allows you to meet people with all kinds of plans, and lack of plans, and this is both reassuring and inspiring. It’s not about following someone else’s version of success, and that is something to watch out for as you meet people with exciting projects and ideas. The point is for you to discover what your version of success would look like. Open your eyes, and your heart, to the different ways of life that are out there and you may be surprised at the possibilities that are open to you.

4. You can easily live on less money than you think

With a monthly salary flowing into my bank account, I was buying clothes I didn’t need, taking taxis, and spending money with no thought of the future. Being ‘unemployed’, I became more prudent: I bought less lattes, I walked more, I cancelled Spotify Premium; and I didn’t feel at all sorry for myself. As it turns out, it’s quite painless to cut down on those little luxuries! In fact, I find that your spending adapts to your income, which means that you can reduce your spending when your income decreases without any significant impact on your wellbeing; and you can also increase your spending as your income increases, again without any real impact! So, yes, you’ll need to make what may feel like sacrifices in the short term but it won’t be as bad as you think and in the end it’s what will make your goals possible in the long term. Creating a buffer of savings will give you the added security and confidence to pursue your plans.

5. New opportunities will appear from nowhere

I left my job without knowing exactly what I was leaving for. I had thoughts of travel, starting a consultancy, taking a year off ‘to write’, taking another full-time job in an exotic location or in a not-for-profit organisation… Within the first year of leaving my job, I became involved as a mentor for two start-up incubators, I was asked to run workshops via a couple of well-established agencies, I did consulting work for several big-name brands, and I gave interviews and wrote guest posts for various blogs and websites. None of these things were even on my radar while I was in my old job. I also became aware of, and grateful for, an amazing network of people who were eager to make mutually beneficial connections and collaborations. So talk to friends and to strangers, go to events where you can meet people who can help you out, and above all remain open to unanticipated opportunities from unexpected directions.

6. It doesn’t have to be perfect from day one

I was always looking for the right job, in the right location, in the right industry – but the reality is that there is no right answer. I wanted to work at the United Nations but ‘ended up’ in consumer goods marketing, something that was far from what I was aiming for but that allowed me to develop valuable skills and knowledge while making lifelong friends among my colleagues. I hadn’t planned to move back to London but I found great opportunities there as I was first starting out. I then spent several years as a nomad, exploring ways to build my business while on the road. And today I’m working on taking my business to the next level, once again back in London and making a base for myself here. Many of the seeds that I started sowing more than a year ago, which at the time didn’t grow into anything concrete, are bearing fruit. I realised quickly that I can’t expect to be a world thought leader and best-selling author living in my dream home from day one; but with each client, each project, each article, I’m shaping the life that I want. As long as you’re progressing in the right direction, taking one step towards where you want to be, then consider it a good move.

7. Nothing lasts forever

It was a huge decision for me to leave my job. It was probably the biggest intentional and proactive change I’d ever made. I told myself, though, that the worst thing that could happen, in the event of not being able to create what I was trying to create, was that I would have to go back to a full-time job. I know people who have decided to go back to a permanent role after a period of running their own business, happy in the knowledge that it’s the right move for them. If my business isn’t doing as well in a few years’ time, if it’s no longer bringing me what I want and need, and if I decide I want to do something else, then I can always shut it down and move on to the next thing. If I don’t want to stay in London anymore, then I can always move. Nothing is set in stone, everything can be changed – if not immediately, then over time. So give it a try, and see how it goes.

8. You are not alone

It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one with doubts, the only one not feeling fulfilled – but it’s just not true. In my ‘Fearless Fridays’ interview series on my blog, and in my real-world interactions in all sorts of different settings, I’ve been talking to countless other people who have left the corporate world behind to do something less conventional, whether it was to move into a different sector, to start their own business, or to do something more creative. They all faced their own fears and challenges, and some have even returned to the corporate world in one way or another, but not one of them regrets their move. Just pull up a chair in a hostel or even in your local pub and you’re bound to meet someone on his or her own journey of self-discovery. It’s up to you to find your own way, but there are millions out there who are with you in spirit.

9. You’ll never have all the answers

I’ve been on a steep learning curve ever since I quit. As a new business owner, I had to learn about limited companies, corporation tax, VAT, PAYE, NI… I was creating proposals, contracts and invoices, I was editing the CSS of my website, and I had to take responsibility for my own personal and professional development with no boss or company to provide me with any standard training or coaching. Possibly the biggest challenge, which persists still today, has been finding the best way to balance work and income on the one side with freedom and personal life on the other; I’m still experimenting, and very much still learning! Don’t wait for the point when you have the perfect plan and you’ve answered every possible question, as you’re never going to have 100% certainty. There will always be some risk – but maybe that’s okay?

10. Not all who wander are lost

Life doesn’t have to be about having a prestigious job title, meeting The One, getting a mortgage, and having two children, a dog and a Volvo. It can be hard to watch “everyone” around you settling down; but if you don’t want to follow that path now, or maybe ever, then there’s nothing wrong with continuing to explore different paths, meeting new people, living in different cities, travelling the world… Life doesn’t have an end point – well, death, but I don’t think you should be working towards that as a goal – so why not let it be an endless journey of discovery and continuous learning? I say, bon voyage! And if you happen to see me in that bar somewhere in the world, come and join me for a drink and we’ll share our stories over a pisco sour.

A blog share we could not resist! Dream big and find the career you deserve!

Grit vs IQ

Grit vs IQ

Why Grit Is More Important Than IQ When You’re Trying To Become Successful

Article by Forbes Contributor, Lisa Quast

You attended the party of a long-time friend and ran into a lot of people from high school that you hadn’t seen in years. During chit-chat over appetizers and drinks, you could feel the friendly competition heating up.

While comparing career accomplishments, you were shocked to learn that the kid from school with the genius IQ, the one all the teachers thought would be spectacularly successful, had struggled with his career. How could this be, you wondered. This was the person everyone thought would invent something that would change the world.

It turns out that intelligence might not be the best indicator of future success. According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, the secret to outstanding achievement isn’t talent. Instead, it’s a special blend of persistence and passion that she calls “grit.”

Duckworth has spent years studying people, trying to understand what it is that makes high achievers so successful. And what she found surprised even her. It wasn’t SAT scores. It wasn’t IQ scores. It wasn’t even a degree from a top-ranking business school that turned out to be the best predictor of success. “It was this combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special,” Duckworth said. “In a word, they had grit.”

Being gritty, according to Duckworth, is the ability to persevere. It’s about being unusually resilient and hardworking, so much so that you’re willing to continue on in the face of difficulties, obstacles and even failures. It’s about being constantly driven to improve.

In addition to perseverance, being gritty is also about being passionate about something. For the highly successful, Duckworth found that the journey was just as important as the end result. “Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful, they wouldn’t dream of giving up. Their passion was enduring.”

What her research demonstrated is that it wasn’t natural talent that made the biggest difference in who was highly successful and who wasn’t – it was more about effort than IQ. Duckworth even came up with two equations she uses to explain this concept:

  • Talent x effort = skill
  • Skill x effort = achievement

“Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them,” Duckworth explained.

As you can see from the equations, effort counts twice. That’s why IQ and SAT scores aren’t a good indicator of someone’s future success. It’s because those scores are missing the most important part of the equation – the person’s effort level or what Duckworth calls their “grittiness” factor (their level of persistence and passion).

What does that mean for you? It means that it’s OK if you aren’t the smartest person in the room or the smartest person in the job. It means the effort you expend toward your goals (perseverance) and your dedication throughout your career journey (passion) are what matter more than how you scored on your SAT or an IQ test.

Why? Because grit will always trump talent. Or as Duckworth notes, “Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”

If’d you’d like to hear more from Lisa then give her a follow here, we sure have!

 

Recruitment & Growth Q&A with MadeComfy

Recruitment & Growth Q&A with MadeComfy

Article by Dynamic Business

This week we are sharing a great article written by Dynamic Business on one of our most valued clients, MadeComfy.

MadeComfy is the most trusted short term rental management company in Australia, founded in 2015 with the dream to start a customer service focused solution where hosts and guests were at the heart. Providing hosts with peace of mind while away, and opening the door of beautiful homes to travellers to enjoy an hotel experience in a home environment.

This is what they have to say about their Recruitment & Growth…

“We’re Operating in a Hot Market” Madecomfy COO on the shareconomy startup’s new hires

MadeComfy new hires
MadeComfy’s new hires: Nina Jung (CMO), Tom Jowitt (CTO) & Mike Johnson (CSO)

In the wake of their $1.1 million capital raise, property management startup MadeComfy has built out its senior team with three high-profile recruits to help sustain its growth rate in the short-term rentals market.

MadeComfy currently manages over 300 properties across Sydney and has seen its revenue increase by more than 500% over the last 12 months. According to Quirin Schwaighofer (COO), who co-founded MadeComfy with Sabrina Bethunin (CEO) in 2015, three positions – Chief Sales Officer (CSO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – were created and filled to enable the startup to meet its objective of managing 1000 properties across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane by the end of 2017.

Schwaighofer spoke to Dynamic Business about onboarding Tom Jowitt, former Head of Engineering at Expert360 as CTO; Nina Jung, ex-Delivery Hero International Marketing Director as CMO; and Mike Johnson, who served as Rackspace Sales and Marketing Director (APAC) as CSO.

DB: Can you give a sense of the recruitment process and criteria?

Schwaighofer: We wanted to find passionate and experienced leaders who are experts in their field, who are capable of building new company infrastructure and who strongly believe in MadeComfy’s values – Agility, Empowerment, Trust and Wow. Nina, Tom and Mike are all well regarded in their respective industries and have built and led successful and high performing teams in their past roles.

We screened a lot of candidates and were happy to have had incredible talent applying for the advertised roles. We also had great support from our recruitment partner TalentPool which has previously supported fast-growing startups like ZipMoney with headhunting talent. We were especially looking for people with experience working in startups as operating in a startup is a completely different situation to running an established department in a large company. We also looked for a track record of building teams, overcoming a range of challenges, and for professionals with strong passion, empathy and who would fit naturally with our values. And, of course, being fun to work with is key for the MadeComfy team.

DB: What growth will your CTO, CMO and CSO help you unlock?

Schwaighofer: Tom started at MadeComfy earlier this year and has already had his first major success with our new Home Owner platform, where our customers have full access to the past, current and future performance of their properties. This is important as financial data and transparency are so important to property investors. Tom and his team are now working on further advancing our business intelligence platform which enables us to continuously generate the highest net returns and occupancy rates. They team is also working on upgrading our operations platform to continuously increase our operational efficiency.

Nina is focusing on tailored marketing campaigns to ensure our brand and value-adding services are recognised by property investors  as well as the easy-to-use MadeComfy Short Term Rental Management solution.

Mike is building our Sales and Host Experience team here in Sydney and Melbourne to ensure we are always accessible our current and future MadeComfy property owners.

DB: Did the $1.1m raise fund the hires or were they already locked in?

Schwaighofer: It is a combination. We are already operating well in terms of revenue side which helps us to grow the business organically. Our other intention from the capital raise was to get highly successful entrepreneurs and business leaders to join and support MadeComfy in our growth. It has enabled us to welcome to MadeComfy’s advisory board Cliff Rosenberg (former Managing Director of LinkedIn), Rolf Hansen (cofounder and former CEO of Amaysim) Peter O’Connell (cofounder and former Chairman of Amaysim), Hein Vogel (Managing Director of Investec Australia) and Manfred Hasseler (early investor and advisor at Airtasker).

DB: How are you approaching competitors in the short-term rental space?

Schwaighofer: We think it’s great to have competition as it proves we’re operating in a hot market and it’s also a sign that more and more property owners are considering buying an investment property or sharing their home. We consider our main competitors to be the traditional real estate agents for property rentals and hotels for guests, as both are currently servicing the established markets we are disrupting. Looking at the other Airbnb management businesses, the essential difference is that MadeComfy offers a performance-based, end-to-end management service with the aim to maximise net returns for property owners and to provide a quality guest experience at the same time. It’s really a winning solution for both property investors and guests. We’re confident that MadeComfy’s culture and diverse, highly experienced team will continue to innovate and ultimately drive the professional short-term rental market in Australia.

Thanks for the mention guys, we have loved every minute of working with your innovative brand and vision. We are so excited about what’s next for MadeComfy!

Thanks to James Harkness at Dynamic Business for featuring this piece, what a great write up!

 

Culture

Culture

Organisational Culture by Conscious Design

Our Project’s and Change Management consultant, Ben Thompson recently followed a great blogger on LinkedIn – Stephanie Owen. Most definitely worth a follow, this is some of her recent work around one of the most popular words thrown around the workplace today…CULTURE

‘Culture’ has become the catch-all term that is the encapsulation of everything that’s right about an organisation. Or if something goes wrong, something must also be wrong about the culture. If change is too difficult to bring in, or if there is wrongdoing in an organisation, culture must be the culprit. A friend recently joined an award-winning niche professional services firm, from one of its bigger and better known competitors. The reason for his switch? Culture.

An enormous amount has been written about the importance of culture, lots about changing it, some about measuring it, but little about how you might go about defining or designing an organisation’s culture. So when a colleague recently asked for advice on how a fast-growing startup might go about shaping its culture, it prompted me to reflect, share, and invite discussion.

The starting point for designing or defining culture is to remember that culture has been with us for as long as humans have lived in groups. It is the sum total of the behaviours that the leaders (and members) of the organisation find acceptable and unacceptable, in the context of the identity, values, and aspirations of the organisation.

 

‘Culture has been with us for as long as humans have lived in groups.’

 

Organisational cultures often develop initially based on the values and aspirations of their founders or perhaps one of the leaders. IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad’s legendary frugality, Steve Job’s obsession with design and user experience, Richard Branson’s fun and risk-embracing personality – these founders’ personality traits and values form the basis of their organisations’ core values. Over time, these values and behaviours are rewarded (or condoned) by leaders, and become ‘culture’. In this light, it is not surprising that Uber’s board and investors recently decided that co-founder CEO Travis Kalanick and a core group of executives needed to be removed in order to change the culture, amid allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, theft of trade secrets and misleading government regulators.

So, the questions to ask if you were to consciously try to design an organisational culture, would include these:

  1. Who are we – what is our DNA/essence
  2. What is our place in the world, what do we believe about ourselves?
  3. What values do we collectively hold?
  4. What behaviours do we find acceptable or not – with each other? with people outside our organisation?
  5. How do we express our culture – through our office, dress code?
  6. What is our brand – in other words: what is our promise to our customers and staff, and other community stakeholders?

These are, of course, deep and searching questions. Answering them will take time and focused reflection that is difficult to accomplish in today’s fast-paced distraction-ridden world.

How would you arrive at answers to these deep and searching questions, especially if you, as founder or leader, would like to involve others in the journey so as to create buy-in and alignment?

Depending on your starting point, I believe there are three main ways to get answers to the searching questions required to define your desired culture.

      1. Informal chats – if you have an enquiring mindset, and are good at asking questions, you might be able to arrive at a collective view of culture through a series of informal chats with key people about the questions above. This method would be successful if you have already built trust in your organisation and have a culture of genuine two-way dialogue. Of course, this might also take time, depending on the size of the organisation.
      2. Facilitated conversations – a good coach (for small groups up to 4-5) or a facilitator (for larger groups of maybe up to 20, depending on the facilitator) can draw out perspectives and act as a sounding board. The main advantage is that it is easier to think aloud with an impartial listener, and a skilled facilitator can also integrate different viewpoints into coherent statements.
      3. Experiential, co-design workshops – this approach is ideal to get moderately sized groups (eg 20-150) involved concurrently in an immersive, experiential environment that collaboratively design the desired culture. Many people would consider it difficult to impossible to get larger groups (say, around 150) in an interactive workshop. However, there are specialised methodologies available that can achieve this. The advantage of getting large groups like this involved is that diverse perspectives and roles can be represented, and you save a tremendous amount of time in ‘implementation’ because you have already involved large numbers of people. Depending on the size of your organisation, the 150+ people may be your entire organisation, or you end up with some 150 change agents at the end of the exercise.

     
    No matter what the chosen approach is, the important thing to remember is that the design must also specify how the desired culture will be brought to life: do our performance management systems and processes reinforce that culture? are there monetary and non-monetary rewards for living the desired culture? how might we celebrate those who are aligned? how might we censure (or remove) those who are not? how might we express our culture through our internal and external communications? how might we make it easy (preferably automatic) for people to act in accordance with our desired culture?

     

    ‘Culture is like raising a plant: if you give it the right conditions, fertilise, water and weed, the plant will thrive.’

     

    You can’t make culture ‘happen’ directly, the way you might create an app or build a house. It is more like raising a plant: if you give it the right conditions, fertilise, water and weed, the plant will thrive. But there is a world of difference between a patch of soil overrun by weeds and a cultivated garden. The latter can only emerge when there has been conscious design and hard work. In a similar way, conscious design and focus on creating the right incentives, structures and processes that support and reinforce the right behaviours (while discouraging undesirable behaviours), will help the desired culture emerge. Combine this with daily reinforcement of acceptable versus unacceptable behaviours, an organisation can build a winning culture, one that can inspire staff and attract customers when internal and external brands align.

Read more from Stephanie here

In five years, will this matter?

In five years, will this matter?

A few wise words from Sir Richard Branson….

 

“Put every setback in perspective. Think long-term. In five years, will this matter?” This question, posed by Regina Brett in her 45 Lessons Life Taught Me list, is something we should all consider.

Far too many people spend too much time looking in the rear-view mirror, worrying about where they went wrong, and get distracted from the road ahead. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but if you spend too much time wallowing on what’s behind you, you’ll never end up where you want to be.

I’ve always preferred to keep my eyes on the road ahead. I don’t write off the past; instead I draw lessons from it to help me on my course. After all, life’s greatest teacher is failure, and those that don’t learn from it are doomed to repeat their mistakes. But don’t study them – learn and move on.

As Regina writes: “However good or bad a situation is, it will change.” If you spend too much time in the past, you’ll never move forward. Instead of constantly obsessing about the bumps in the road, or the bend coming up, look to the horizon – that way you’ll see the bigger picture.

While short-term goals are important, we should all be thinking with long-term vision in order secure the best future possible.

This is particularly true in business. Gone are the days of quick wins. All businesses and business leaders should operate with an end goal in mind that can be continuously improved on. Long-term thinking is the key to a thriving planet, and happy and healthy people.

Read more from Richard Branson’s blog page here

How Recruiters Add to the Bottom Line

How Recruiters Add to the Bottom Line

Our VIC Regional Manager, Trent Turvey told us of this excellent blog written by his former boss, Juliet Turpin. Juliet is the Regional Vice President at Randstad Canada and is most definitely worth a follow! Here’s a share from her blog back in January:

For employers who plan for growth, perfecting the candidate experience is key.

The right employee for our clients can BE the essential difference between making or breaking a deadline; or the difference between innovating a magnificent new way of doing things versus struggling to make budget. The right job for a candidate can make the difference between living a purpose driven life and simply earning a pay cheque.

Our candidates’ primary concern these days is obsolescence and for our clients’ it’s turnover. With technology and business churning so quickly, our task is to help candidates and clients stay on top of market trends by providing salient and timely market information and great career opportunities. It’s more important than ever for our recruiters and employers to build deep, intuitive and symbiotic relationships with their candidates and clients. This is to say, that we must be true career counselors and trusted advisers for our customers; independent of which side of the desk they sit on!

One of the most unique things about working in this industry is the fact that we get to change lives by making great sales! The connections that are developed move beyond the typical recruiter/candidate relationship. Each role we fill means a true life change for the recruiter as well as each of the candidates we work with and the clients who employ them.

By offering an informed, enjoyable and valuable experience where candidates and clients feel informed and helped every step of the way; we directly impact the Bottom Line every day.

Hear hear Juliet!