Jason Hanold

The hardest moment

“The hardest moment”. That is the most repeated sentence amongst ex-athletes whenever they remember the time they had to call it quits; whenever they had to give up years of training, discipline and mental, as well as physical, sacrifice. Not everyone is ready to make the overwhelming decision, as former F.C Barcelona handball goalie David Barrufet recalls. But then what? Well, Jason Hanold has previously told several stories about famous athletes and their transitions to the “normal” life: the time where a new life, away from training facilities, courts, pitches, media, fans, etc., begins. It is often heard that one of the most difficult aspects ex-athletes have to face when deciding to end their careers is the fact that they will no longer be popular nor a star. Calling it quits often is a forced decision, as it is generally preceded by being too old, or having suffered an injury, or even sickness, however, regardless of the motive, athletes must be inexorably prepared for that specific moment. Psychologists have described what athletes commonly face after retirement: a never-ending void, a feeling of everlasting isolation and sorrow. Many do not know what do to with such array of spare time, which is usually aggravated by the sheer frustration of having to pick a new profession —which could also be less tedious should they had a plan B in advance.

If there is something that ex-athletes, who have managed to succeed after retiring, seem to agree upon, is the fact that everyone, in spite of being busy pursuing a successful career in sports, should focus on developing other skills —or, better said, they should continue studying while understanding that, when the time comes, they will have to inevitably face retirement. Most athletes have no other skill than the ones required to perform at maximum intensity in their sport; moreover, once they have left the athletic lifestyle, many are inexperienced, which is why up to 94% of retired athletes seem to fondly consider remaining connected to sports, since they feel more comfortable and it is a field that becomes an extension of their natural competitive instinct. According to a recent survey, ex-athletes usually disregard any other option aside from remaining connected to sports, as they can continue developing their skills while helping others achieve their dreams. Nevertheless, there are others who decide to try unexplored fields, like politics: Arnold Schwarzenegger, for instance, ran for governor of California and went on to succeed. Politics is something that is definitely not frowned upon by athletes, since, according to the survey, having a position in politics enables them to help develop sports as something important.

Whatever the case may be, there is something that should stay the same: athletes must strive to stay active both physically and mentally. Whenever elite athletes are facing the end of their sports career, they usually struggle to accept such plot twist, and that a new life in terms of their familiar, social and economic spheres will emerge. This shift is often drastic and hard to go through, which is why, as mentioned above, the most important thing is to have a plan B and to be ready for when the time comes —which is why the psychological training and care is crucial, since many fails at accepting their fate and fall victim of their own lack of confidence and go consequently in a tailspin, as they no longer feel part of the sports environment. There are plenty of interviews where ex-athletes stress their main concerns after retirement, and, as depicted above, almost all of them are embodied in post-career identity issues: many athletes are known for their achievements, but who are they once they retire? It is something heard amongst them.

In order to cope with the struggle, those who have successfully embraced the transition have previously stressed out the importance of staying healthy and performing physical activities, since it has been proven that giving up trainings have a tremendously negative impact on the body —it is important for athletes to get rid of the accumulated tension they have gathered, consequence of their years of extreme physical activity. Additionally, retired athletes are prone to suffering cardiovascular issues and diseases such as arterial hypertension, obesity, arrhythmia, etc., which is why is recommended to keep training moderately. However, the main issue comes down to having a general outline for retirement: many have stressed the difficulties athletes face whenever they try to fit the working life, as mentioned above, and the most valuable advice is embodied in the necessity for athletes to pair the sports life with other activities that could help them develop another set of skills for when the time comes, thusly making the transition much easier and less dramatic. Overcoming the hardest moment is all about planning.

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5 keys to efficiently manage remote teams

If you run a company in which all or some of their members work from home, surely you will have experienced -more than once- difficulties in communication and coordination. This is relatively normal, many remote companies are still trying to apply the same management formulas that are used in conventional companies without considering the distance factor, and this is usually not effective.

Remote companies must apply their own strategies and find their own tools, often different from those used in traditional companies. A simple chat for companies or an effective reporting system are enough to instantly improve the coordination of the team.

Let’s take a look at a few keys to effectively manage remote teams without going through communication or coordination issues.

  1. Define a work policy

Defining a work policy is particularly useful in remote companies. Remote jobs are more flexible -generally speaking- and this makes workers take certain liberties that the company does not usually consider. We must keep in mind that each company has certain needs and workers -even those who work from home- should adapt to them.

To illustrate this situation, let’s take a look at three examples of work policies:

  • Employees should be available from 9 to 11 in the morning. Having the liberty of working from home does not always mean that you have the freedom to choose your own schedule, especially if other people depend on your work or availability.
  • A three-day-notice should be considered when a worker will be absent. Sometimes, when you work from home, you can forget about letting the rest of the team know about these situations in order for them to keep it in mind.
  • A specific tool should be used for communication and coordination. Allowing many channels of communication can lead to dispersion and difficulties to find information. Also, we should consider the fact that many tools can be dangerous communicating certain confidential information.

With a well-defined work policy, many problems can be avoided. It is important for this policy to be well explained to a possible candidate to a remote-work vacancy within the company, due to the fact that the future worker should accept the conditions as they are.

  1. Use the appropriate tools

Luckily, advances in communication technologies are making work and coordination of remote teams easier each day. There are dozens of tools that can be very useful and valuable for teams who work across different regions of the world. The fact is that technology helps make distances shorter.

It is necessary for each team to find the tools that best fit their work dynamics and their needs.

  1. Encourage a constant communication process

When a team works in the same space, communication happens in an almost automatic way. When a team works remotely instead, it’s very easy for this communication to be completely forgotten.

Team members of remote companies usually communicate when they need something from someone or when they have some sort of problem that they need to solve. The task of a manager is to encourage a constant communication beyond these needs.

A constant rhythm of communication makes companies more effective, due to the fact that this makes it possible to detect problems before they appear, it encourages innovation and improves collective creativity. One way of encouraging a constant communication is to create a series of recurring questions to which the entire team should respond, in order to allow debates and keeping track of the advances in goals.

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Image courtesy of Jeffrey Beall at Flickr.com

  1. One-on-one personalized follow-up meetings

A good leader should not only be aware of the collective needs of their team but also of the individual needs of each one of their members. This is very important in remote teams, due to the fact that since you are not seeing the members of your team directly, it’s more difficult to detect possible motivational problems.

One way of doing this personalized performance review is to establish a small, periodic video conference with each one of the members of the team. The goal of this meeting will be to know how each person feels, how are their goals advancing and to offer advice regarding their personal growth within the company.

This one-on-one conversation will help improve motivation and individual productivity. It’s a great way to make the entire team feel heard and valued within the company.

  1. Create a corporate culture

Many remote companies don’t work to create a company culture. They believe that, since members are in different locations, it is not necessary to invest time in this management strategy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A corporate culture helps create a feeling of belonging within the team. A feeling that is precisely often lost in remote teams, due to the lack of direct contact. This is the reason why you should look for the formulas that will allow you to establish a solid corporate culture even under these circumstances.

One of the recommended techniques to achieve this is to encourage personal communication beyond the work life. When members of a team talk about personal issues is where the strongest and longer-lasting bonds are created. In the daily lives of traditional companies, it’s easy for this personal communication to appear, and in remote companies, it’s not so easy because communication is quite limited.

Related content: Read Jason Hanold’s “Steps to do a proper termination interview”

How to Hire the Best Assistant for Each C-level Executive?

How to Hire the Best Assistant for Each C-level Executive?

In a company, the post of an executive assistant or secretary is one of the ones that you should pay special consideration to. We spend a lot of energy trying to hire just the right CEO or CFO or any other role in the c-suite team, but sometimes don’t understand the importance of hiring just a good as a support system for them. A c-level’s role is impacted greatly on how efficient, effective and pro-active the team is that is supporting them. And the goals are accomplished by the team, lead by the c-level executive you spent so much time hiring. Understanding the importance of this role, will make you realize, and adjust your hiring process if necessary, to ensure that this person has the role you need to bring out the best in the c-level roles. So, the same as you have to keep in mind some considerations for the CEO hiring process, which you can read more about on the Jason Hanold WordPress page, you need to do the same when hiring an executive assistant. So these are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right fit.

Setting the right environment

The c-level executives need much more than a good assistant; it’s a whole setting that has to be orchestrated to ensure that the executives have everything they need to accomplish corporate goals. Offering a space where leaders can be flexible, where they have all of the technological tools needed to store, process, protect and retrieve information, where their team is composed of managers that can direct day-to-day activities with common sense and proactivity, and in the same light communication experts that listen well and share the executive’s message to everyone else. The executive will need a complete support team that is behind him or her and that is on board with trying to accomplish unified goals that go in line with the company’s corporate values and vision.

Start off on the right foot

From the interview with a potential candidate, you should start to ask the right questions, to truly find out if this is the candidate that is fit to support your CEO or any other c-suite. One thing which is important to find out is why they got into working in this area and field in the first place. This will be essential to understanding the person’s future goals, intentions behind wanting to work at a particular time, place or even role. By understanding this, you also understand the motivations that is driving them and will drive them on a daily basis, if hired. Once you know their intentions, then you can begin to explore what they feel is their biggest success. How they can point out why they feel this is the most successful moment in their professional careers and what made it a successful moment in their careers will be very telling as to what they feel is success and how they strive to achieve it. At the same time, it will be important to find out their biggest mistake, and again how they handled the situation. No one is perfect, but knowing how to deal with delicate issues, classified information or simply holding your own under pressure and tough times will all come in handy as the top boss’s assistant. Before choosing a candidate, get a glimpse of the whole profile, what they consider to be their top assets and how they could use them to help their c-level executive succeed.

How to Hire the Best Assistant for Each C-level Executive?

Courtesy of Drew Leavy at flickr.com

Characteristics to look out for

Some characteristics are essential in any assistant, and even more so in an executive one, due to the long hours, and sometimes big work load it will most surely mean having someone flexible, but that at heart, and most importantly, is naturally aimed towards wanting to serve others. An excellent assistant will want to help their executive get everything they need done and know that if he or she is successful, so are they. They will need to personalize their service and support, to adjust to the executive’s likes, dislikes, and way of working.  This will mean being on top of the details like calendar and appointment management, anticipating needs, instinctively prioritizing personal over professional, pushing and pulling back when needed, and knowing exactly what’s on your plate and how to help you get things done. Of course, you’ll need someone you can trust, and that means maintaining a high level of confidentiality. Finally, they will need to have excellent communication skills because most times they will be your voice.

An executive assistant is an extension of their boss and will need to be someone that can reflect his or her values and can speak for them at any given moment. From the hiring process, it is essential that the hiring staff realize the great impact that the profile they select can have on the executive, and how to ensure that their personalities, working ethic and values match.

How to communicate to candidates they will not continue in the processes

In every recruitment process, there will be a time when some of the candidates will not continue. Every recruitments process has its steps and these are carefully designed in order to act as filters in which the best candidates will continue during the process and the ones that are not so good, will stay behind and at some point, they will be dismissed.

Believe it or not, the moment when a company or a recruiter decides a candidate should not continue in the recruitment process is one of the steps recruiters should pay more attention to. This is where the company’s reputation and employer branding are in stake. A company can easily go from being an organized, friendly and caring company during the entire process, by managing it professionally, in the eye of candidates, to being a sloppy, messy company that has a huge lack of coordination within its team and the way they represent themselves outside their walls.

During recruitment processes, recruiter needs to make sure candidates are always informed of their status in the process. Recruiters need to communicate the candidates effectively how they are doing, if they made it to the next step or if they didn’t. Candidates are risking many things by just applying to a job offer, and being available for the process steps is not just a physical matter, it is also mental. That is why all candidates deserve to be informed when the company or the recruiters decide they will not continue in the recruitment process. It is something that just needs to be done, not only because of the, but also because it is the best thing a company can do as a professional and socially responsible recruiter.

Here are 5 tips, from Jason Hanold, recruiters should follow, when it comes to telling candidates they will not continue in the recruitment process. These are the details they should take into account in order to do it properly, keeping in mind it is the right thing to do not only for the candidate but also for the company.

Be empathetic

The best way to give not such good news is to do it in a way any person would like to receive it. That means there should be empathy involved in the process. One good way to do it is through an email and it should not only give the candidate the news that he will no longer continue but it should also thank the person for their time and their interest. Additionally, the email should end with a short paragraph telling the candidate he will be taken into account in future recruitment processes when new opportunities arrive.

Take the time to give personalized answers

Since the news will be given through an email and that email will probably be a pre-written email with the same message for all candidates, a good detail is to personalize every message and make the candidate feel as if it was especially written for him. Make sure the name of the candidate is there when you greet him and try to close the message with a kind ending. Candidates will be very thankful with personalized messages. They will appreciate the time companies take to communicate and even more, to do it in a nice, considerate and respectful way in which the most important thing is always the person.

Do it as soon as possible

Time is money and that is a rule for everyone. Candidates are probably involved in more than one recruitment process at the same time, so the sooner the candidates are informed about their status in the process, the better. The sooner the recruiter tells them they will no longer continue in the process, the better for everyone. The company will show a good image and the candidate will know exactly what will happen, in order to make their own professional decisions in time. The longer a company takes to give this kind of information to a candidate, the more it will affect the image of the company.

Take care of your employer branding

Employer branding is then that special something every company needs to take care about if they want to continue attracting the best professionals in the market. With a good employer branding, a company will be able to show they are a great place to work and that will always be attractive for anyone who is either looking for a job or not. Companies can have a marketing department that works for showing how good their products are, but they can also have employer branding that will show how good a company is in terms of employment and how good the companies treat their employees.

Read our previous post about the “Steps to do a proper termination interview”