Category Archives: Opportunity

No regrets

What is failure?  Among the dictionary definitions can be found the following ;

“non – performance of something due, required or expected”.

If you want to make a change, if you need to make a change, consider this.  The failure is in not acting, in not making the change, in not following through.  You follow through and things don’t quite work out as you would have wished, try again.

The failure is in not taking the leap, not the leap itself or the repercussions.  If you try something and it doesn’t work out as you wished, learn from the experience and try again.  At least you tried.  That should make you proud.

Consider this from Napoleon Hill

“All achievements, all riches earned, have their beginning in an idea.”

If you have an idea that’s really eating you up, act on it.  See it through.

Need to change your career?  Act on it.  Have an idea for a business?  Act on it.  What’s the worse thing that can happen?  That you wake up one day and think “if only”.  No regrets.  Make the change.

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Time for change

I tweet a lot.  I love it, it’s a great way to connect and engage with an enormous range of exceptionally gifted and bright people.  Yesterday I tweeted something that has stuck in my mind for quite some time,

“If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got”.

I wasn’t sure just who the quote was attributable to but those intelligent tweeters soon put me straight.  I had more than a few answers and indeed found that my quote was not entirely correct, although the sentiment certainly was.  Keep doing the same old same old and you will keep getting the same results.  For me this is no longer true.

I have been recruiting for 20 years.  I had a formula that worked for my customers ( 2 rebates in 18 years ), for job seekers and for me.  Whatever metric I apply by which to measure my success at the desk, my methods worked.  Very well.

Something changed.  My methods stopped proving so productive, frankly so lucrative.  They stopped being so rewarding.  The tried and tested, same old what I always did stopped giving me what I always got, namely lots of happy customers, a huge amount of satisfaction, a great deal of fun, a big grin some great friends and good lifestyle to boot.  No complaints.  It stopped.  So what happened?

Innovation.  Technology.  Connectivity.

The world has changed, is changing, will keep changing.   The only constant is change.  If you don’t adapt, don’t change, don’t re – invent, don’t at least move, you die.  So it’s time for a change.

In the meantime, my thanks to Mark Twain.   For it was he that said

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got”.  I am not one to disagree all that often with the great and good, but this time I must.  Time to stop doing what I always did and do something new.  It’s exciting and it’s coming.

Watch this space.


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Who really gets the top jobs?

Last night in the UK the BBC aired a Programme entitled “Who gets the Best Jobs”.  The pre – programme hype focused on the view that the plum jobs were the sole domain of a privileged few, dependent on who you parents are, where you went to school, who you know.  Nonsense.

Throughout History there have always been those born in to privilege.  I am not suggesting that is right or wrong, it just is.  Throughout history there are countless examples of those that have made ruin of just about every silver spooned opportunity that was handed to them on a silver platter.  Throughout history, there are countless examples of those who have risen from a life of abject misery to achieve great things.  The premise of this program was a nonsense, a non – story.  The only news for me was evidence that the politics of envy are alive and kicking.

I am not suggesting for one minute that who you know and importantly who knows you does not greatly enhance your chances.  If you get a great start in life, sure you are ahead of many of your peers.  However, where you want to school, who your parents are, is no barrier to opportunity, unless you believe it is.

Sure peer group is an important influence.  Sure access to opportunity is a challenge.  But you are not excluded, unless you believe you should be.

Intellect, drive, motivation, ambition, is not dictated by your surname or your ancestry.  It may well be dictated by your circumstances, your drive may stem from events that you have had to deal with.

We are not all born the same.  Some of us are more academic, some of us more practical, we are all unique, we all have different talents, circumstances, different paths, different challenges.  What matters is how you deal with them and what you do with them, how you choose to apply yourself, how you choose to live your life.

If you believe that because of your background and upbringing that opportunity in your life is restricted, then you can bet it will be.  Opportunity in life is not dictated by your postcode, we all have choices.  Your path in life is dictated by what you do with those choices.

Don’t adopt the victim mentality this program perpetrated.  Regardless of your circumstances, your life is what you make it.  Some may have to go through more, have more challenges to face, may have a longer ladder to climb to reach the top.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t get there.  We do not all start from the same place, but we all have the opportunity to get to the same place, if only we apply ourselves in the right way.

Life is what you make it.  What is a “top job” anyway?  A great job is one that leaves you fulfilled, growing, happy.  We all have that opportunity.  In the end only you can make that happen.

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Life is just not fair…….

A new report is out this week from The Equality and Human Rights Commission evidencing much that is unequal in society today, not least the gap in pay between men and women that still prevails in 2010.  A nonsense, clearly something should be done to address this.  Indeed there is much we could all do to try to ensure greater balance in terms of how people are treated.   However, for me the reaction of the Chairman of the Commission was the most frightening element of the report.  According to Trevor Phillips “there was a risk of society being divided by inequality”.

No kidding Trevor!  You needed a report to confirm this?

Inequality exists everywhere.  It is part of nature.  Some are physically strong, some are weak, some are fast, some are slow, some are incredibly intelligent, some less so.  We are all born with some advantages and some disadvantages, some more than others.  Some are physical, some are circumstantial, some are based on history, some on geography.  The list goes on.

So what do we do?  Sit around and envy the advantages of others, or seek to understand our own advantages and how we can make the best of what we are blessed with?

I am not suggesting inequality is a good thing.  Frankly it sucks.  However it exists and has done since the dawn of time.  There is a reason why the Lion is the King of the Jungle.  Yet he still co – exists with all the other animals.  To suggest in 2010 that society is at risk of being divided because of inequality is a nonsense.   Society has always been divided.  Can we do anything about it?

The truth is life is a survival of the fittest (and not necessarily the fittest physically).  We can’t all be Prime Minister, Brain Surgeons, England Centre Forward, Village Elder, King, Queen, Pope, Imam, Chairman, Carer, Nurse, Teacher.  We can’t all discover the cure for cancer, discover electricity, be Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.  We can’t all be Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi.

Sure life is not always fair.  Sure life deals some a far worse hand than others.  Life is all about making the very most of the cards that you have been dealt.  We can all think of people who have been dealt a dreadful hand and achieved incredible things.  We can also all think of someone who would appear to have had every advantage in life and screwed up.

Highlighting how unequal life can be, how “unfair” it can appear helps no – one, offers no solution, guidance, motivation.  Help people to see opportunities, not problems.  Help people to overcome challenges, don’t just tell them they exist.  We all have a place of equal value, we all have a contribution to make of equal importance.  The sooner we help people to understand that we all have a role to play the sooner we will have true equality.

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Cause for optimism

Statistics can be interpreted as we would wish them to be read, in particular if the person commissioning the report has a vested interest in the outcome.  Cynicism aside (and I am something of a glass half full kind of person) I was encouraged by the optimism (albeit cautious) evidenced by a recent survey from CareerBuilder.co.uk.  For some time I have sensed that we have been in pre-election limbo whereby nothing at all seemed to be happening, not only in terms of hiring but generally in terms of business investment.   However the CareerBuilder survey suggests that an improving global economy has seen an unexpected upturn in the hiring plans of UK Private Sector employers.

By no means does this survey evidence a return to boom from bust.  39% of UK employers reported they plan to hire full-time workers in the next 12 months.  26% plan to add part-time workers whilst 21% expect to employ contract or temporary workers.  Another significant finding from the survey, despite unemployment at its highest level in over 14 years, 28% of companies surveyed reported having vacancies for which they cannot source suitably qualified talent.  62% believe there is a national skills shortage and experience tells us the gap between Employers needs and candidates skills is widening.  This can only be resolved by increasing investment in training and changing the recruitment decision away from experience to focus on attitude, the focus of many a posting on this blog.

So where are the jobs coming?  Unsurprisingly this survey highlights companies moving away from cost cutting to focus on those areas most closely associated with revenue growth first.  Typically Sales (46% of those surveyed who expressed an intent to hire expect to hire in sales in the next 12 months).  Next comes Customer Service, IT, Administration, Accounting and Marketing.

Employment is known to be a lagging indicator.  Unemployment will continue to rise even as the economy returns to growth.  Nobody is whooping and hollering over these numbers and I certainly doubt we will see anything other than at best a slow and steady climb out of the depths for employment in the private sector in the next 12 months.  The picture in the public sector remains uncertain, perhaps the only certainty is the inevitability of job cuts.  If private sector employers can open their eyes and rid themselves of industry bias, perhaps those leaving the public sector can fill that gap in the labour market the private sector knows exists?

For more information on this report visit http://www.CareerBuilder.co.uk

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Change is inevitable. Long live change!

Like many I have spent the last seven days enthralled by the reactions of my fellow Brits to the General Election.  The first change of government in 13 years and the first coalition government in a generation.  From radio phone ins to TV chat shows, from blogs to tweets, such change has engendered an outpouring of hatred, bitterness, resentment, envy, cynicism, grief, resignation, excitement, positivity, hope, in fact just about any human emotion you can think of. All caused by change.  Its scary, uncertain, exciting, inevitable.

The one thing of which I am certain is the energy that it has brought about, both positive and negative, brings with it enormous opportunity.  Look at the outcome.  We have the chance to alter our electoral system to the extent that the way we are governed in future could fundamentally change.

I have a sense that we are living in one of the most incredible times in human history.  In many ways a modern-day industrial revolution.  Do you think back in the 18th and 19th Century when such huge advances were being made in the way we lived people took the time to reflect on the enormous changes going on around them?

The rise of China, India and Brazil as economic powerhouses, the impact of the web on how we communicate, interact, transact, the amount and pace of change in recent years is incredible.  The world is a small place for those of us fortunate to live in the developed or developing world.  Innovation is immense.   I remember an office before email and mobile phones.  Now smart phones in all their forms are business critical tools.  Google barely existed 10 years ago.  Facebook the same.  Just look at what have they achieved through embracing the opportunities presented by change.

Traditional models and thinking are being tested to the limit and the status quo is being challenged at every opportunity.  Take my own industry.  Recruitment has not changed its business model in 70 years and yet is faced with enormous threats from so many new media and tools.  Many are burying our heads and taking the view that tough economic times mean heads down survival.  I can think of many other businesses that I have had experience of recently who are bemoaning the tough climate whilst continuing to do the same thing they always did without getting what they always got.

Change is scary but it inspires.  It encourages passion and emotion, it creates pain and opportunity.  This is the stuff that keeps us alive.  Long may things continue to change.

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