A Wheaties – Microbrewery partnership encourages us to get out of our comfort zone in 2016

Wheaties! The breakfast of champions is now…the beer of champions.

In Fortune, “Now you can have your Wheaties all day long”, on August 12, 2015, we learn that Wheaties has partnered with a craft brew house to create Hefeweizen beer called HefeWheaties.  What do Wheaties and this beer have in common? Quite simply: wheat.  This unique arrangement brought together two uncommon partners: a multi-national consumer package goods titan and a small/medium-size brewing business.

Finding commonalities in our professional, associative and personal relationships can also generate partnerships to help us get promoted at work, advance ideas, grow practice areas and raise our profile in our industry or profession.  How can you find your “Wheaties partnership”? Let’s look at how you can be a “champion” at uncovering commonalities in your relationships and get out of your comfort zone to move yourself to the next level in 2016.

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Bring out your inner child! Ironically, Pedialyte can kick start your transition into retirement


Pedialyte! As a proud father of two little boys, it is “go-to” drink that helps re-hydrate kids when they are under the weather.

In Marketplace, “Pedialyte embraces its new customers: revelers”on May 15, 2015, we learn that Pedialtye has a whole new type of consumer: college students recovering from hang-overs. The same rehydration properties that help children get better also allow party goers an easier “day after.” Where was this when I was in college?!  In discussing this fun article with friends, I learned that long-distance runners, too, use Pedialyte for rehydration.

As an executive or mid-career professional who might be considering a retirement transition, you have your own “Pedialyte.” You have a great set of skills, interests and experiences and that you can continue to use in your next chapter. To begin to think about using your “Pedialyte” in retirement ask: Read more of this post

Just get your business started!

In my coaching work, I have the distinct pleasure of supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs as they take their growth ideas, products, services, passions, and business savy into the marketplace.  They deserve a great deal of credit as striking out on your own can be risky.

If you are thinking of putting a toe in the water, consider starting a side business. This allows you to keep all the benefits of your current employment, while testing out a concept that you think might be able to succeed.  Side businesses come in all shapes and sizes. First and foremost, you should be able to work on things that come naturally to you.  After all, these are your gifts and talents.

Here are some areas to consider as you are getting your side business off the ground: Read more of this post

Ben and Jerry’s Motivates Us to Stop Procrastinating in 2015


Since 1978, Ben and Jerry’s, have been delivering “Vermont’s Finest” ice cream like no other. My personal favorite is Phish Food, and I celebrate my birthdays with a delicious Ben and Jerry’s ice cream cake.

In Bloomberg Businessweek, “Why Ben & Jerry’s Launches New Ice Cream Flavors in the Winter” on January 13, 2015, we learn that Ben & Jerry’s actually brings new products to market in the middle of winter.  “They’re called Boom Chocolatta! Cookie Core, Peanut Buttah Cookie Core, and Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core. The center has a texture that’s kind of like cookie dough, but crunchier, says John Henry Siedlecki, senior brand manager at Ben & Jerry’s.”  The flavors sound fantastic, yet the timing seems unusual. The article mentions that peak ice cream sales take place from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  As I write this post, Washington, DC is expecting more snow this week!

Interesting enough, this winter launch approach drives ice cream sales when consumers would be considering other types of dessert.  Additionally, it gets consumers comfortable with the new product in time for peak ice cream buying months.   In 2015, Ben and Jerry’s actually launched their ice cream a month early to get ahead of the competition!

Here are some ideas to not procrastinate so your own “ice cream” can get to market early – whether it is starting a new sales strategy, new project, new business, new job or new job search: Read more of this post

Authentic relationships in the executive search community can boost your career

In your career, an executive search consultant can be a great customer.  Like anyone who buys your services, you need to build loyalty and trust.  Let’s explore how you can get to know your executive search customer!

In my work with executives, I often hear, “I need to transition quickly. Can you introduce me to any headhunters?”  I admit I used to cringe at the question, as it reflects a true misunderstanding of the executive search profession.  If executives actually reflected on the role of executive search consultants, they could find much better ways to interact with this dynamic group of professionals. To build great relationships with members of the executive search community, you need to move from a transactional approach to a long-term customer-focused strategy.

The role of the executive search consultant (too often loosely called a “headhunter”) is to satisfy the employer’s need. Indeed, a very important point! Candidates are only important if they fit the specifications of an open position for executive talent. Usually, executive search consultants are experts in their industry and/or function area. There are typically two types of executive search engagements: retained search and contingency search.  Retained search is where the executive search firm is the sole representative of that role and advises the organization from start to finish, helping identify successful qualities for the candidate in the beginning stages, and assisting with offer discussions upon completion.  Most likely, the retained search firm is paid through a mix of a retainer and a commission upon successful hire (usually termed an “uptick”). In a contingency search, the organization may not be the sole representative of that role, and they will most likely be paid when a candidate is hired successfully.   Retained search engagements tend to be more consultative with an individual employer (the role is likely more high- profile, and a high degree of confidentiality is needed) while contingency search engagements are less consultative with an employer (there are multiple openings for the same type of job description and the candidate actually might be marketed to multiple employers at the same time).

Knowing these elements is essential, because executives can truly engage retained search consultants over the long-term to benefit their career.  Here are some suggestions on building a long-term relationship with the executive search world: Read more of this post

Be Resilient in 2014 Like Sam-I-Am!

Sam I am

With two young boys, it has been a thrill to be re-acquainted with one of the best children’s books of all-time.  The famous refrain “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam-I-am!”  from Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham rings true today as much as when the book was first printed on August 12, 1960.

Sam-I-am invites his “client” to a buffet of green eggs and ham and receives a clear, resounding “NO!” In total, Sam-I-am gets rejected 69 times. 69 TIMES?!  Each rejection becomes only more emphatic than the preceding one. It is only after the grand 70th ask, that Sam-I-am convinces his “client” that green eggs and ham are exactly what he needs. Not only did Sam-I-am make the same ask 70 times over, but he also did it with flair – in boats, cars, trains, houses and even in the dark.  Each new ask on the same theme (my “client” will like green eggs and ham) was presented in so many fun and interesting ways.

2014 is a new year and a time for looking forward.  We make plans and resolutions, refine goals and think of ways to improve aspects of our professional lives.  Whether it is elevating individual or group achievements, inspiring employees, getting a promotion or more interesting work, closing more business or exploring a new career even into retirement, there is always an opportunity to aspire to.

After several weeks of working towards these new goals, it will only be natural to encounter resistance. Prospects, clients, vendors, colleagues, subordinates and supervisors may not be as excited about your efforts as you are.  The organizational dynamics, culture, social norms and ways of working may not easily accept change.  This exact moment is where I challenge you to find your inner Sam-I am.  Here are some ideas on how to find joy in resiliency, so you can achieve your goals in 2014: Read more of this post

Smucker’s Jif goes “nuts” about product innovation. Will you innovate your approach to mentors?

Smucker’s. This maker of preserves, coffees and peanut butter has been around since 1897, when JM Smucker was pulling along a horse drawn wagon with its apple butter.  Even with a great history in delivering a great American pastime (peanut butter and jelly), Smucker’s has certainly not been relaxing on a great name.

In Food Navigator, “JM Smucker: Our innovation success rate exceeds industry norms” on September 4, 2013, we learn that new products have contributed to $530M of the company’s topline sales.  Extensions of Jif into Jif Natural, Jif To Go, Jif Almond and Jif Cashew represent some of its faster growing segments.  That is something to go N-U-T-S over!

Jif’s innovative approach to broaden its nut product portfolio (the world is clearly not just peanut butter anymore) gives us a unique moment to reflect on our own career goals on how our mentor portfolio supports our professional growth.  To develop in your career, it is important to add new mentors in a variety of “flavors” to support that development.

Here are some ideas to consider as you evolve your approach to mentoring: Read more of this post


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