Tag Archives: career. leadership
19 Oct

“If you are going to be a Bear, be a GRIZZLY”

It’s Not Where it Started…It’s Where It’s Going That Matters!

21 Sep

I had this funny feeling this morning as I was driving into work about all the random decisions that we make as individuals and how they impact those closest to us. I was turning off my street onto Central Ave (means nothing to some of you) and I noticed that it is getting cooler outside. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out….but my thought was “I can’t believe I am driving to my office”. For years I would wake up, feed Tanner eat some breakfast and work out of my home office in my PJ’s. I was void of ever having a morning car accident, fighting the morning commute or wondering what kind of mood my co-workers were going to be in. It was all I knew for years, it was great!

Then one amazing evening I sat down and met Stella for what I thought was an interview, she swears to this day she had no idea what we were doing or going to talk about. Yes, this is a concern still for me..ha ha. Even worse was the autobiography she told me was reading, feel free to ask her what book it was. It should make you wonder why I hired her.  But as it turns out it was one of my top 5 best decisions I ever made. In the grander scheme of it all Stella said yes to the job offer (thank GOD). These decisions that we made that day and continue to make have allowed us to hire a bunch of great people such as Eric, Ashley, Elena, Aaron, Michelle, LC and Vinny. They have helped us add value to others people lives because we now make our clients hiring process 10X better and have given a bunch of good people some solid jobs. Our team and their decisions everyday have made my life better. They don’t cause any problems, they get here on time and stay late. They are all usually smiling after they have some coffee. We have dogs running around, food in the fridge and we are being successful and having fun.

 My point is that I am no longer throwing out Aluminum Cans (see previous blogs) I realize how important these decisions that we make everyday are and how they impact everyone’s lives around us. I am still making a significant effort to make sure that everything I do is done with a smile realizing how much we affect everyone around us.

 The coolest part is not so much where it started but where Search Solution Group is going! Thank you to everyone who makes this possible every day

Escape from the office – enjoy TV

19 Jul

Over the years everyone is looking for some balance (thank you Mr. Miyagi). For some people  it’s the gym, sports, cooking classes or just plain walking around the neighborhood. I think I have done all the above except cooking classes just to try to have an escape from the office and the day-to-day of the work week. One of my favorite things has always been watching a good movie or a TV Show. I think this comes from my dad, For the longest time I was addicted to “Lost” and since that TV Show has gone away, my new favorite TV show is “How I Met Your Mother”. In my opinion it’s just a really well done TV show that is well told with a great cast of characters and awesome acting. The best part it’s really really funny.

 This week’s blog is dedicated to one of my favorite people to watch on this TV show – Barney Stinson. Barney you have come a long way since Doogie Howser. Here are some of Barney’s best quotes:

 10. Barney: “Plus, here’s the mini-cherry on top of the regular cherry on top of the sundae of awesomeness that is my life”

 9. First explaining to Marshall about his unique qualities: “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I’m awesome. I’m your bro—I’m Broda!”

 8. Describing the simplicity of running a marathon: “Step one, you start running. There is no step two.”

 7. Barney, reacting to Ted’s new car: “Shotgun for eternity!” 
Robin: “You can’t call shotgun for eternity.” 
Barney: “I call that I can call things.”

 6. Giving his new friend advice on meeting women: “Now remember my three beginner’s tips for picking up chicks: address her by name, isolate her from her friends, subtly put her down.

 5. Justifying his smoking habit: “I am not a smoker. I only smoke in certain situations: post-coital, when I’m with Germans (sometimes those two overlap), coital, birthdays, to annoy my mom, pre-coital, on a sailboat, the day the Mets are mathematically eliminated every year, and, of course—wait for it—’cause Lord knows I have—pregnancy scares.”

 4. When I’m sad, I stop being sad and start being awesome instead.

 3. In my body where the shame gland should be, there is a second AWESOME GLAND!

 2. It’s gonna be legen………wait for it [falls asleep]….[awakes]…..DARY!!

and #1. Barney: My life rocks! Money, suits, and sex? These are tears of joy! I could be cooped up in an apartment, changing some brat’s poopy diaper but instead I’m out in the world being awesome 24/7/365! You let me dodge a bullet, big guy. (kisses fingers & raises them in the air)

The Greatest Baseball Franchise that was‏

17 Feb
Gary Carter

Gary Carter (Photo credit: AxsDeny)

I have written a few blog posts about the lessons I learned on the baseball field in the past. I am not sure if this is a lesson or more of a memory. Gary Carter passed away the other day from a long fight with brain cancer. Gary Carter was one of the great Montreal Expos from the 1980’s. He was a catcher and the foundation of a team from 1974-1984  that had great players on it like Charlie Lea, Pete Rose, Dave Palmer, Jeff Reardon, Andre Dawson and TIM “Rock” RAINES!! I don’t think it gets any better for me at that time. I was in my little league glory, sporting my red, white and blue Expos hat and pretending to be an Expo. My parents were driving me back and forth to baseball practices for multiple leagues during our short Buffalo, NY summers. I was listening to my folks tell me stories all the while listening to the oldies on the AM stations day dreaming about being an Expo.

 Playing little league meant playing catch with mom and dad until the street lights came on, or going to the park with my friends and playing home run derby. It meant making friends with people I did not know that would eventually lead to lifelong friends and family. It taught me how to be competitive, how to work hard to get better at something. It taught  me the value of practice and what it meant to be consistently good at what I was trying to do. Little league taught me the how to lose with dignity and win with grace, thank God we won a lot more than we ever lost. It taught me to dream and have goals and allowed my parents and I to have another bond that lasts today.

 Gary Carter is my first baseball great to pass away and I will always have those childhood memories. Thank You.

Quitters Never Win

28 Oct
Cherry Coke bottle and can

Image via Wikipedia

Starting a small business and growing any kind of business is tough work. Lately between interviewing and  hiring new employees I have had to explain to them who I am and who Search Solution Group is. You would think explaining who you are after so many years on this planet would be pretty easy, but it really isn’t!

Along the same lines I have been out selling our business and explaining to potential clients why they should use our firm and who we are. So, I started getting into the mindset that I am not  a quitter. Explaining  how I do not believe in taking NO for an answer that I will continue to work hard be persistent and never quit or give up. I started talking about how I have hired some great people to work with me and  how I’m overcoming the recession.  I was I really believing what I was saying???????

Well later that night I was having dinner at my house with some friends and they were looking at me like my dog looks at me sometimes.  I was getting the confused dog look. WHY??? Because I was trying to open up a plastic bottle of Coke and it would not come off. Everyone tried and no one could get it to twist. So, I grabbed the hammer and started trying to chisel thru the top. I tried this and it wasn’t working and thought that there was a better chance that I was going to end up in the hospital. Then I tried using an industrial razor blade, nope that didn’t work either. I was imagining that I would soon be in the ER…… Then I found the pliers and started tearing off the cap bit by bit  (everyone is still watching me and now laughing at me) and sooner than later it worked. I had defeated the twist off cap and was now drinking my Coke!  I WON, I DID NOT GIVE UP.

Yea, it would have been easy to throw it out and just grab another one, but where does it stop? It is a tough economy so I’ll quit my business, my dreams and just collect unemployment or go to work for some bank. NOPE NOT ME.  I am IN IT TO WIN IT. I have no quit in me and I am going to prove it every day in everything that I do.  If you are anything like me or have any good stories post them or call me and jump on board, we are going places!

The Consistent Life

21 Oct

One of the lessons I learned in life is what it means to be consistent.  Most people probably have a little bit of a different definition of what it means to be consistent; and I am sure most people don’t obsess about things like I do, but for me consistency is soooo IMPORTANT.

 I respect and admire my father for so many reasons, one of them is because he is consistent.  He set a great example of what it means to get up every day and go to work.  He taught me how to raise a family and be a MAN.  I know my dad did not love getting up and going to a factory for work, but he did his job with pride and was consistent everyday for 20+ years before he finally retired.   I know some days were better than others but he did the little things that it took to be successful in his work environment.

 Every high school athlete has his or her story of a great game or a great play they made when they were in high school;  but the better athletes who go on to college or the pros were not just better athletes they were consistently better. Every practice, and every game they were consistent.  They got better, they improved, they worked harder and were consistently good.  That is the key to a long successful career, relationship and just about anything in life.  It is all about being consistent.

How can you be more consistent?   I can help you!!   However I am not going to tell you how that easily. When I started my recruiting career in Baltimore, MD back in 2000, I had a boss who said something to me  that has always stuck with me ” you do not have to have a great day in this business every day, but you can’t have bad days”.  He was telling me  that you have to be consistent.   I was told that over 10 years ago and I still preach that one simple bit of wisdom from a very unlikely source.

 My dad never told me to be consistent, he told me to work hard, have fun and all those other things that super dads tell their kids. As I reflect on the people who have been most important to me, they all have been consistent. To this very day my dad is the most consistent person I know. He wakes up just before noon, turns on the radio and sits at the same kitchen chair wearing his same beat up t-shirt he has worn for the last few years to bed.  He drinks his coffee and enjoys being retired!

Hockey is Life and so is Recruiting

9 Sep

Remember those shirts with the slogans that read “Hockey is Life” and “Give Blood Play Hockey”? Well I do because I was the hockey player from Buffalo, NY who bought those shirts. Why am I talking about these silly t-shirt slogans? Has anyone been watching the news lately? Over the last few months the “Hockey World” has had multiple suicides, and just yesterday a plane crash killed the majority of a Russian hockey team. All of a sudden you are on top of the world playing professional hockey living the dream, and then before you know it it’s all over. Anything can come and take your dream away, depression, a plane crash or a car crash (Rick Martin). Maybe hockey is not your life anymore. There are plenty of ex-hockey players whose skills have diminished, and are left to sit behind a desk like the rest of us grinding out a nine to five career.

I recently read Malcolm Gladwells book Outliers. The book is about success; Gladwells states that ten thousand hours of experience doing one thing can make you an expert. Most Hockey Players start playing hockey around four years of age, and they get probably two to three hours of ice time a week. If you average that over a year; that is about one hundred fifty-six hours of ice time, and that would take you about nine years to get to Gladwell’s ten-thousand hours. At the age of thirteen or fourteen you are starting to come into your own as a hockey player, and it is then that you figure out if you have a SHOT at making it or not.

In the real world if you graduate with a four-year degree you probably finish college around twenty-three years old. Maybe you stay in your job for one to three years, and then you bounce from career to career hoping to figure out what you want to do. However some of us never figure out what we want to do, so most of us out there in the work place are not experts at our careers. For example sales people, I am sure you hear it all the time “I can sell anything, just get me in front of someone.” It’s all CRAP!!

Where are all the experts? I want to meet and work with experts. I want to meet the professional who has spent the majority of their career in one industry, and is an expert in that subject. Fewer and fewer people are becoming career plumbers or electricians, but they are the people we call when we have a problem in our homes. After ten years in the search industry I am an EXPERT. I want you to call me when you have a problem at your office. I’ll be your corporate plumber and help get rid of the crap, and then I’ll be your electrician and help you see the light!

Are you ready for some…….HR??‏

26 Aug
Fantasy american football

Image via Wikipedia

YES, it is that time again for most of us. Fantasy Football.

 A bunch of years ago I would have laughed at you and thought you were more nerdy than me for wanting to participate in such a thing. BUT WOW IS IT FUN. Right now I am engaged in a dispute of how much money I owe my father and his best friend for losing to them last year. I was hoping old age would kick in and they would think that they owed me money but that isn’t the case. Another league we are starting has 10 people. Some of us know each other, others don’t. I happen to know everyone, but yet I am not the commissioner.  This one is interesting, we have no rules, no scoring system and I’m not even sure what kind of league we are having.  All of this was being battled out yesterday between some friendly hazing and a few hundred suggestions. EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION, and my inbox showed every email that was sent…agggggghhhhh

 This all reminded me of so many HR/Recruiting experiences I have had with clients over the years. The lack of organization, the lack of communication, everyone sticking in their opinions and causing more headaches than necessary. Deals not getting done on time, losing great candidates because someone else thought they were interviewing at 2pm instead of 3pm. Or I thought the offer letter was in the mail. Or, sure you can have 4 weeks of vacation, nope we only give 2 weeks. Where is the communication? Where is the leadership? Where is the process? Come on HR, you have to be better than that. You are the unofficial commissioner for your company and how it is perceived by people.

 Those 3 questions are so important, not for Fantasy Football so much, but for life and business. If you and your organization have those 3 skills locked in you are off to a good start. Get them implemented sooner than later and you have a  shot of surviving. Good recruiters and candidates can recognize a company that has all three components working together. It makes the recruiting process so much better not just for the recruiter but our mutual goal of attracting good talent.  A well run HR Group or “Fantasy Football League” has to be communicating with each other. Coordinating time, dates and what we want to get out of our interview so we can hire the best candidate for the job. It sounds easier than it really is. On a daily basis I see the good the bad and the ugly from HR.  The best ones are fun to work with and make waking up earlier than usual exciting and rewarding. The ugly and bad are not lost, they just need to recognize that things can be improved and make those changes. Search Solution Group can HELP!! Call us

 As for Fantasy Football. I predict my friends will cry at the humiliation my teams will cause them this year. I can only apologize and offer some comfort that next year is right around the corner for them. As far as my Dad and his best friend are concerned. I promise I will have the last laugh.

Lessons from the Diamond Part 2, Risk vs. Reward

22 Jul
A Little League baseball player squares around...

Image via Wikipedia

I remember it like yesterday, even though it was 25 years ago. I was standing on third base in a little league game with a one run lead. I was taking my lead off of third base when coach whispers you are stealing home on the next pitch. I was a little soldier replying with an affirmative nod. He noticed how the opposing catcher was lobbing the ball back to the pitcher. They both appeared to be very lazy and coach was ready to take a risk, a calculated risk and score an easy run. He coached me down the third base line taking small athletic steps till the catcher lobbed the ball back and I took off headed toward home plate. Sure enough I slid in safely and we went on to win the game.

Why did I share this one simple highlight with you, because we took a risk. Coach had noticed a weakness and a way to exploit another team and took advantage of it. Risk vs reward! We hear it all the time, but seldom does anyone capitalize on situations. Why? Maybe they are afraid, not prepared or all talk and no action.

I have a few very recent examples of candidates just being scared and making bad career decisions and not taking good job opportunities. I kind of laugh at them deep down, because  I know their careers are headed down a dead-end road. My co-worker has proven she is mentally tough and dedicated as she as taken the brunt of this. But I assure you Stella, it gets better and most people will prove to be smarter than these last few!

Is This You?

I know of a person who complains about their job, some of their co-workers and mostly the lack of leadership at their office.  Yet like a good little puppy dog they go to work every day, clocking in and out and getting that same boring paycheck every 2 weeks…. Shoot me!!!!

I want the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I want it all or nothing and everyday I risk it all for a chance at glory. I want to share the sense of accomplishment and achievement with my co-workers  who share the dream and passion for something better. With limited skills and in a shaky economy and at a company that offers you NO chance for greatness or at least a six figure salary, why stay? Because you are scared and have no sense of what it means to take a risk. Please stay and get your 3 percent raise every year till you get fired or land new job that gets you excited for the first 3 months, then when you pick your head up, you realize you are in the same situation just a new name on the front door. I see it everyday, it’s just a new name and new face, but the same story.

Risk…it’s not a rush you get from a roller coaster or jumping from an airplane, it’s calculated and it’s bigger than me and you. It lasts days, weeks, months and years. It keeps you up at night, and makes you want to be a winner. If you read this and ever dream of being more than you are today, I strongly urge you to take a risk once in your life and stop being boring and predictable. Call me and talk to me I’ll share my story with you, because I want to be around more people like you.

This post is dedicated to that special person in my life who can’t trust and can’t take a risk. I do it everyday and I’m just waiting patiently.

Coaching Lessons from the Diamond‏

15 Jul
Hanford Youth Baseball 2011, Cal Ripken Baseball

Image by Boyce Duprey via Flickr

My dad has always been one of my baseball coaches’ as a kid along with his friend “Neal” whom we will refer to as Coach for story telling purposes. Together they make a great team, kind of like Batman and Robin(without the spandex) or Seinfeld and George. They coached together for years until all  of the kids went off to college, but our families remained friends and continued spending time together over the holidays and for Birthdays and other events (weddings and sadly funerals).

As I grew up and started to find my way professionally I started falling back on some of the coaching techniques and psychology that they used on us as kids and maybe even on us as adults. ( I recently found out that my dad tricked me into eating spinach as a kid). Trying to  teach, train, mentor  and grow a business continues to be fun and still the most challenging thing I face every day. However, I had no experience doing it, no real life experiences!

Not having any real leadership experience, I thought back to the two people who taught me the most and were my mentors as a kid; My dad and Coach. Heck, I interact with Corp VP’s all the time and most of them have been fired from at least one job and admit that they aren’t even all that good at what they were being paid to do and for that matter don’t even like their careers. Here I had two great people and coaches who loved what they were doing and did it for free. Surely, there has to be some lessons learned that I can take back to the office with me.

Lesson #1

Not everything has to be learned from a text-book or some author with a PhD. The best lessons I learned were on the ball park or on the drive to a game. For example; they never told us that they were getting us to the baseball game an hour early to be more successful than the other team, they just told us that they wanted us to warm up and get some batting practice and fielding in. However this basic fundamental principle of being prepared to be successful was taught to me when I was eight years old and I NEVER KNEW IT!! I am convinced one of the reasons why I have been successful is because at an early age I was taught by my Dad and Coach to be prepared and more ready than my opponent. They instilled values and beliefs that they thought were applicable to the baseball team and winning, but I am not sure they ever thought that 25 years later I would be using them to run a business.