Pre-New Year Is A Smart Time To Forge Your Career Strategy for 2015.

You’re not happy with your job. Or you might not have a job at the moment. Most people in this position will look at the month of December as a time of rest and relaxation and tell themselves that they will begin their brand-new job search on January 1, 2015. Unfortunately, they will be far behind their competition in the marketplace who are actively looking for a job. Bottom line, you need to develop a career strategy during the month of December to know who your targeting, what you will do, where you will go, when you will do it, and how you will track your progress. We know the ‘why’ — you need to find a new position!

Now you’re probably thinking that I’m suggesting an enormous task for you to accomplish during a month filled with holidays, families visiting, school vacations, etc. You just won’t have the time to even start thinking of a strategy to help you kick off the new year. That’s where you’re wrong.

All I’m asking for is 1 hour a day, five days a week. That’s it. Instead of watching a really bad TV show every weekday night, all I’m asking for is just one hour to plan and ensure a successful job search. So what do you do?

Step One:

Find a quiet place in your home with no distractions or interruptions. This time is for you. Get a notebook to take notes and have your laptop handy to do incremental information searches on the web.

Step Two:

I want you to draw a vertical line down the center of a piece of paper. At the top of the left side write “Energize” and on the right side write “Enervate”. Under Energize, I want you to list all the elements of your last job that you really enjoyed and energized you. Under Enervate, I want you to list all the elements of your last job that you hated and de-motivated you. Now you know what to look for in a job.

Step Three:

I want you to research your industry and better understand who are the big players, where it is going, where they are going and what the future holds. This will give you a better feel for who to target in your job search.

Step Four:

I want you to pick 5-10 organizations or companies you would LOVE to work for. Not just ‘like’ or ‘it would be nice’, I want you to LOVE them. Do a little research on each one, see where they are and where they’re going, find out who are the key people in your area of the organization.

Step Five:

Housekeeping — I want you to clean up your résumé and your LinkedIn profile. Add in any additional info from your current research. These two areas must shine before you begin to look for a position. Also, check all of your current (and past) social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, etc. You need to clean them up or if you can, make them private. You need to put on a perfect face for potential opportunities.

Step Six:

Begin to plan out a schedule starting on January 1. If you’re currently employed, begin to figure out when you can allocate time to research, contact, and interview new career opportunities. If you are in transition, develop a 40-hour a week schedule that includes research, networking, visits to the library, etc. You need to be busy starting in January, the best thing you can do is be prepared with a comprehensive schedule.

This is just a short overview of what you can do, but it helps you develop a great action plan to kick off the new year with energy and focus. Good Luck!

Rich Gee is CEO of the Rich Gee Group, a career coaching practice located in Stamford, CT. You can reach Rich at and catch his 700+ articles on career success.

Why Your Good Leadership Isn't Great.

Good To Great. An incredible book by Jim Collins — relates how certain companies overcame their obstacles and pushed themselves from being just good companies to the stars of their industry. How they made the leap, what they did, and what they didn't do. How can you make the leadership leap with your team and go from just being a good leader (and that isn't bad at all) to a great leader? Here are some basic qualities most leaders use and how to kick each one up a notch to great:

Our Favorite Four-Letter Word Starts With An 'F'.

We all have some sort of fear at some level at some time in our life. It might be a very present fear staring us in the face or it might be a background fear hiding in the attic — but it's still there doing it's dirty work.

How To Better Control Your Time.

Time is the one thing you can never get back. So you need to be careful with it, don't waste it, don't hurry through it, and use it effectively. You need to CONTROL your time.

How do you do that? It's easy and it's hard — here are some tips:

Clear Your Desk.

I know . . . it's hard. But once it's done, it is so easy to focus without any distractions to instantly pull you away from the task at hand. Also there is the visual aspect of a clean desk. You FEEL better about yourself and your surroundings. It's easier to find things and important papers don't get lost.

So here's my strategy — Pile, View, Attack/File/Toss/LCB:

  1. Pile - Take everything off your desk and make a single pile of paper.
  2. View - Pick up and look at each piece of paper. You must make four piles:
  3. Attack - work on it immediately - something you can complete within a short amount of time.
  4. File - File it away for future access.
  5. Toss - Throw it away. I know it's hard - but most of your pile can go this route.
  6. LCB: Last Chance Bin - get a box and place it under your desk. If you are unsure of tossing something, put it into this bin. If you need it later, it's there. If not (after 3-6 months), toss it out. This bin works wonders.

Plan Your Day.

This is the hardest and surprisingly the easiest way to get a better handle on your time. Why?

If you go somewhere or if you're on a trip, you have a destination and a route to get there. That's called a plan.

Why is it when you get to work you don't architect the same thinking for your activities, meetings, and tasks? What needs to be done — what is it's priority — and when will you complete it?

Randy Pausch developed a very simple, yet effective template to help anyone plan their day. It's made up of four quadrants:

  • Due Soon and Not Due Soon
  • Important and Not Important

When you look at your "Attack" pile of work for the day, you usually work through it based on time in and time out. But importance flies out the window — most people aren't working on the most important and critical tasks. This tool helps them do it.

Which ones to work on first? Upper left! Which ones to work on last? Lower right! Here's a PDF template you can use.

Work On One Thing At A Time.

This is where we all fall down. We think we can 'multi-task' our work and guess what? We never get anything done or even worse, we do things in a haphazard fashion.

Take your Attack pile and your Activity List and make your way down each item. Once it's complete, check it off. Set aside time to work on your attack pile — don't answer the phone — don't let anyone bother you — don't let anything take your focus away from the task at hand until you are DONE. You can always return that phone call 15-30 minutes later or go see the person who wanted to see you.

Also — turn your email reminders OFF. You can get back to checking email when you're DONE.

At first it will be difficult. But when you start to see a clean desk, a planned out day, and REAL progress on your work. These basic behaviors will begin to kick in. Try it!




Be Proud Of Yourself.

As a coach, one of my responsibilities is to help my clients acknowledge their accomplishments. Why? Because we don't. We get so caught up in the rat-race, getting things done, moving as fast as possible — and we don't take the time to stop and review where we are and where we've come from.

A big part of my job is acknowledgement — I help my clients fully appreciate where they are in life — all the hard work, all the sweat and tears, all the long nights and early mornings — everything.

Why? It gives us perspective. It allows us to understand what it takes for us to really succeed. It also allows us to understand how hard we are on ourselves and how we forget all the hard work.

So . . . I want you to take a few minutes this morning and fully acknowledge where you are in life today:

  • Do you have a roof over your head? A lot of people don't.
  • Do you have a full stomach? A lot of people are hungry in this world.
  • Do you have a partner in life? Family? Good for you!
  • Are you employed? Nice work!
  • Do you have a car? Excellent!
  • Do you have a savings account? Good planning!

If you say yes to most of these questions — congratulations! If you have most - great job.

Be proud of yourself — who you are, what you do, who you impact, and what you leave behind. If you put yourself in the position of acknowledging your current position and what you've done — you have only one way to go — UP.




Why Leaders Can't Coach.

"All coaching is, is taking a player where he can't take himself." - Bill McCartney When executives coach, they commonly make the mistake of downplaying their role as the boss. Confusion occurs with the associate and coaching fails.

To be clear, a boss is the one who holds people accountable for results. A coach helps people increase their skills to achieve the results.

BRAG — Toot Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.

Most people can’t sell themselves.The Best Salespeople, who obliterate their numbers every year selling products and services - have a hard time developing a personal talk-track. Accomplished Executives, who are comfortable pitching in boardrooms, convincing multi-nationals to sign on the dotted line — have a hard time in interviews for a new position.

Business Owners, day-in and day-out, have the best location, web-site, media, and business card — have a hard time coming up with a simple process to close the deal.

2011: What Do You Want To Change?

Buckle Up — this is going to be a fun ride. Answer these three questions with fast, (1-2 word) specific responses . . . don't just write 'work', write 'client calls', or 'Penske Project'. Don't just write 'business', write 'BNI connecting' or 'new website', or 'product expansion'. I'm looking for you to blurt out items without a lot of introspection. I want your gut responses:

5 Tips On How To Treat New Employees.

Whew! After a phlanx of interviewees and resumes, late nights, early mornings and lost lunches, you've just hired that new team member. Now you can sit back and focus back on work. Not so fast. It's important as they're new boss to make this transition period in their life bump- and trouble-free. It will not only behoove you, but will also ensure that your new hire is happy, engaged, enthusiastic, and motivated.

Do You Have A Career "Plan B"?

You just missed the last recession, hopefully things are getting better. You're getting quite adept at dodging the executioner's axe — ducking at the last minute while watching fellow peers are summarily dismissed. Are you talented or just lucky? At my last corporate gig, I managed to have seven bosses in six years. Six LONG years.

Short Term Thinking.

ceos1What ever happened to Five Year Plans? Long Term Planning?

  • It's probably the reason why our economy is in the state it is currently in.
  • It's most likely why many companies fail to grow and just keep things the same.
  • It's the reason why your team is always questioning your decisions.
  • It's the reason why there is massive churn at the top of many companies.

What ever happened to Five Year Plans? They became dirty words over the past 10 years. Anyone who ascribed to a 3-5 year plan was not a forward thinker, someone who was not 'up with the times', or a 'Web 2.0' executive (by the way, Web 2.0 as a descriptive term has been dead for a long time).

What the business glitterati forgot is that long term planning is focused on a GOAL - and the route to that goal might change - and even the goal might change. Unfortunately, the latest fad 'state' of executive management is to come on board and throw out everything that was done before and start anew. Then your successor comes on board (after you have received a very handsome golden parachute) and throws out your plan and begins anew. And so it goes.

I charge that this cleansing of capitalism must wash away the flippant ways of past executives. We need the captains of industry to lead with bold visions and stay the course - and never waver. I hope I am right.

What long term plans do you have?