How to tell apart amateurs from the ones that know what they’re doing (Blog #43)

amateur vs professional

There I was between job #5 and #6 and I scored an interview with a local university that I was pretty excited about. Ever since completing my uni degrees I somehow thought it’d be great to work for a university. Kind of like my chance to give back. I know, old-school thinking, but this was me about 8 years ago now.

After getting that call for the interview, I remember I instantly started to feel nervous. The interview was with one of the more prestigious universities and I straight away thought, maybe I’m not good enough.

Yep, those tragic thoughts of self-doubt entered my head and in my attempt to try and overcome them I thought, I really have to try and come across as qualified as possible, as knowledgeable as possible as “marketing expert” as possible. In other words, I was going to try and appear as perfect as possible.

A mistake that only an amateur makes.

And as a result, the interview ended up looking like this…

The interviewer: “So, Mimoza, if you had a chance to have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?”

I was so focused on trying to appear like I was crazy about marketing that I thought I could only talk about marketing people and when I couldn’t come up with a marketing expert’s name I just ended up saying, “A successful marketing expert out there.” (Yep great answer, NOT!)

And the interviewer gave me another chance, “Really, no one else?” And I still couldn’t come up with anything better.

And in my attempt to appear really organised, although I can’t remember exactly what I said, I believe I somehow left the impression that I was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder badly. I still remember vividly them saying that they could picture my pantry being alphabetically organised (but it wasn’t, not even close).

Was it surprising that the comment they came back to me with was, “I don’t think you’ll be a right fit for the team”?

Definitely not.

In my attempt to appear perfect I came across as, one, completely weird and, two, like a complete amateur.

Blog Tip #43 – How can you tell the amateurs apart from the people that really know what they’re doing?

Easy!

The amateurs will try and come across as perfect and show no signs of weakness or insecurity.

The people that know what they’re doing will say with confidence what they know how to do and what they don’t know how to do. 

What did you think about blog post #43?

Have you got any similar interview stories? Ones where because you were trying too hard you never gave them a chance to see the real you. Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs TODAY and get your FREE 7-Day Mini Course – Work Culture Issues: The things that will do your head in daily and the reasons behind it.

The things companies will never speak to you about!

I’ll see you next week.

Mimoza

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6 signs of a corporate team you don’t want to be part of (Blog #42)

bad corporate team

It never seizes to amaze me how much the importance of building an effective team is down played in the corporate world.

There’s this assumption that it somehow happens on its own. It never tends to be the number one priority of a company. And way too often you’ll hear managers say “We need to focus on the work as without the work we won’t have a company.” But without a team that is totally focused on the good of the company, the amount of work brought in can almost be a bit of a lost cause.

Only once in my corporate life did I truly feel like I was part of an actual team and, as you know, that all happened in job #8. But, as you also know, my whole blogging purpose is to talk about the things you’ll experience in the corporate world – what to look out for. And the truth is that there’s a much bigger chance that the team experiences you’ll have in the corporate world, won’t be that of a true team experience. In fact, most will be a pale comparison of what it really means to be in a team and it’ll look something like this.

6 signs of a corporate team you don’t want to be part of:

  1. It’s full of politics – Basically, rarely will people say what they really think. Their words will be chosen based on the reactions they want people in the group to have. So, whatever words make the manager and the team members happy. “Sure, we can do what you’re asking for, even though I think the idea is so sh**!” The focus is on avoiding conflict instead of what’s good for the company.
  2. Vulnerability doesn’t exist – You won’t catch people saying “I need help with this” or “I made a mistake with this.” People are too busy trying to come off as perfect. Manager included!
  3. Your so called “team” is more like a collection of individuals – Rarely are things discussed out in the open as a whole team. In fact, most of the discussions happen one-on-one between a manager and a team member or between 2 team members. And people are far more interested on how well they can do individually as oppose to how well they can do as a team.
  4. There’s a strong sense of false harmony – What do I mean? Rarely is there conflict but, as a result, there’s a lot of tension. A lot of unhappy people not saying what they really want to say. The harmony is there only because people hold back and don’t say what they really feel.
  5. You’re led to believe that your “team” includes only those working directly in your area and everyone else in the company isn’t included – Basically, you’re made to feel like you need to protect yourself from other departments and their managers. This is usually the result of your manager’s influence on you and the way they deal with and talk about other managers within the company.A quick example just for you. And we flash back to job #5, which was my first stint with government. My manager on my first day told me not to make any phone calls in the presence of one my colleagues that was in another team but sat directly behind me. And would warn me about speaking with other managers and to be very careful about what I said. I WAS DOING A MARKETING JOB FOR GOD SAKES!! Nothing about it was criminal but apparently things needed to be on the hush hush. How ridiculous!
  6. There’s a major lack of commitment within the team – This is usually a result of people’s opinions not being heard and the outcome… people feeling as though they’re not part of the team. Thus, not really caring if the results come in or not.

And it can look something like this… flashing back to job #9. The whole marketing team is called in for a meeting to review the marketing plan for the year. The finalised version that is due to be presented to the Board of Directors the next day. For at least 50% of us this is the first time we are seeing this plan and we get asked “What do you think?” Like our manager even cared? If he cared about what we thought we would’ve been involved in the planning stage and not 5 minutes before it’s handed to the Board. So, how much do you think we cared if the plan was successful or not? Care factor = 0.

Blog #42 – To really get a good understanding of all things I’ve talked about with you today you should check out Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. It’s one of the books Kristen Hadeed recommended in her book “Permission To Screw Up” and provides an excellent everyday example of how all of this can take shape in the corporate world.

What did you think about blog post #42?

Can you relate to any of the things I’ve spoken about above? Is there anything else you’d add to the list?

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs TODAY and get your FREE 7-Day Mini Course – Work Culture Issues: The things that will do your head in daily and the reasons behind it. What companies will never speak to you about!

I’ll see you next week.

Mimoza

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5 reasons why Kristen Hadeed’s “Permission To Screw Up” is a must read for anyone that thinks they understand work culture (Blog #41)

Happy people

Why?

Because it will put you on the right track as it’s more than likely that your understanding of what work culture is, is nowhere near right.

If you’ve been following me for a while now you’d know that one of my main reasons for my whole work culture crusade is because throughout my 10 years and 9 jobs I’ve encountered very few people out there that, one, know what work culture is and, two, have any understanding on what actually makes a good work culture.

Like I’ve said in my past blog posts, you’ll hear you managers mention it, but it will almost always be spoken about in a very broad context. Like, “Work culture is very important” or “There are work culture issues here.” That’s it. That’s where it will stop, with this assumption that as a manager if you’re providing your people with a free lunch here and there then you’ve got it covered. WRONG!

It comes down to a lot more than that and the best thing about this book is that’s exactly what it covers, what it comes down to. It really gets into the finer detail of what was involved in developing a work culture that made Hadeed’s company thrive and stand out from the rest.

There are so many reasons why I think this book is a must read, but today I’ll sum it up in 5 main reasons for you.

Reason 1 – It proves all those people wrong that believe the work culture in their company can’t be better than what it currently is because… of the type of business, type of industry, size of the company, nature of the people or work, because what they do just isn’t glamorous enough, whatever excuse they have, etc.

Why?

Because Hadeed’s company called “Student Maid” is a CLEANING COMPANY! Do I need to say anything more?

As she mentioned herself in the book, they don’t do anything glamorous. We’re talking about scrubbing toilets for god sakes. And she was dealing with an industry where the turnover rate was over 70%. But with the right strategies and techniques in place she turned that around for her company simply by continuing to push the status quo and asking “Why” when things didn’t feel right. The key being when they didn’t feel right. Because if it didn’t feel right then they weren’t right. And not stopping until it felt right. No matter how much effort or trial and error it took. No matter what the people around her, including experts, said to her.

Which leads me to Reason 2.

Reason 2 – Developing an effective work culture doesn’t happen by ticking off a HR checklist. It’s based on how you and those around you feel and really tapping into that.

A great example that Hadeed talks about is how her hiring process, that initially started with a strict checklist, later became overpowered by the gut feeling she got about the person she was hiring. Other examples include when work that initially seemed like a great opportunity to pass up was later rejected by her because of the way it made Hadeed and her team of employees feel. Because of the effect it had on their work culture. It simple wasn’t worth it, no matter how much money the company would make. And as she highlights later in her book, work culture needed to be protected above anything else, if her company was going to have a future – another bit about the book I love.

Why?

Because it shows exactly how important her people were and are to her.

Reason 3 – Hadeed points out, very clearly, what the no. 1 focus for every company should be – It’s people!!! HELLO!

As mentioned in the book “A company is only as good as the people it hires.” But it’s not only this, Hadeed made sure that if someone was going to work for her, then she made it her mission that when the time came for them to pursue other opportunities, they’d leave the company a better person. I’m talking about leadership skills, organisational skills, team building skills, character building, you name it. She made it her mission that this was not just a cleaning job, but a place they could be proud to say they worked at and as a result be proud of the person they’d become.

Reason 4 – There’s an excellent foreword by Simon Sinek that highlights trying to be a perfectionist is nothing but a short-term strategy for both the person trying to maintain that image and the company’s work culture.

It creates a toxic environment.

Why?

Because when you’re “perfect” you simply don’t make mistakes. Responsibility never gets taken and blame gets passed on. As a result, teams breakdown as everyone is trying to take care of their own butt and prove how perfect they are.

And guess what happens if someone has a great idea or information that others don’t have?

They’re not going to share it, are they?

As the focus here is making sure you look good not the team. Managers included!!

Reason 5 – Hadeed shares what techniques made a positive difference to her work culture. And this kind of stuff I find is rare, especially coming from someone that fully believes in the difference work culture can make and made it a priority to build it, maintain it and protect it.

She really pushes the norms here and goes against what some experts advised her on, which I love. She talks about employees providing performance reviews for their manager (Bring it on! I can’t tell you how much I agree with this one and I’ll provide an example of what I would’ve said to one of my mangers given the opportunity. Get ready for that blog post).

She also talks openly about asking her employees where they see themselves in two years’ time and asking them to be completely honest no matter what the answer is. Allowing to get a good picture of what they want out of their role as well and what she needs to prepare herself for down the track. She’s even gone as far as to ask her employees what their ideal job description would be and tried to cater to it as much as possible. A true display of leaderships from beginning to end.

Blog tip #41 – Do yourself a favour and read this book NOW! It will change your whole prospective on what work culture actually is and the difference that it can make to your life and those working with you.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the book or would like to discuss it in more detail feel free to message me. I’m more than happy to get into it in more detail.

If you’ve had a chance to look at it already, let me know what you thought. What did you get out of it?

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs TODAY and get your FREE 7-Day Mini Course – Work Culture Issues: The things that will do your head in daily and the reasons behind it. What companies will never speak to you about!

I’ll see you next week.

Mimoza

Subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs TODAY and get your FREE 7-Day Mini Course and my latest blog posts weekly.

7-day mini course on work culture issues affecting your life daily and the reasons behind it. The issues companies will never talk to you about.

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