Category Archives: Values

Subconscious motivators – things that you “feel”, maybe in your heart or even in the pit of your stomach.

Interview Question: Do you have any questions for me?

It’s probably pretty reasonable to say that the vast majority, (I’d suggest 99.9%) of candidates know that they are going to be asked at some point in an interview if they have any questions for the interviewer.  And yet candidates often fumble their words and struggle to present themselves in a positive way.

The questions that you ask provide the interviewer with a great insight in to you, and so asking the right sorts of questions can catapult you to the top of the “to be employed” list!  Whilst poorly thought out questions and questions made up on the spot can very quickly highlight some of your deficiencies and push your application down in to the quagmire of mediocrity…….or worse.

Some of the best questions that you can ask tend to be those that have been very carefully planned and learned, but then evolve through information that comes to light during the interview.  What I mean by this is – there is no substitute for doing the research and preparation, but don’t be afraid to “tweak” one or two (or more) of the questions that you have prepared to include facts and information that you have gathered throughout the interview as it shows that you have been listening.  Often, your question can remain exactly the same, it will just be the lead-in that changes.  For example:

(Planned Question):  “What is the organisational structure of the Food & Beverage department? (and maybe something about FT vs Part Time…)“, might become:

(Tweaked Question):  “You mentioned that there are 120 staff in the F&B department.  What is the organisational structure of the department and what sort of breakdown is there between Full Time, Part Time and Casual employees?”

Oh!  And if it helps, don’t be afraid to take a notepad and pen or an iPad/Tablet in to the interview so that you can jot down notes (like the number of staff in the F&B department) as you go.  As a side-note, it is polite to ask the interviewer(s) if they mind if you take some notes during the course of the interview and sometimes, the jotting down of notes can actually buy you that valuable 4 or 5 seconds to contemplate an answer before you open your mouth (as you jot things down, generally people will wait politely for you to answer)…

For questions to really work, it comes down to RESEARCH!  And with the internet at your fingertips, there are no excuses for not being able to gather enough information to ask intelligent and pertinent questions.  To help you with the process, I have listed below a range of the sorts of questions that you could ask in an interview and with a little bit of thought and some manipulation of the details, they’ll provide you with a good foundation for the next time you are sitting across the table from an interviewer:

Ask specific questions about the venue/organisation and what your role would be there:
– What’s their vision for your position?
– In your opinion, what would make me a success in this role?
– Will the role evolve over time?
– What are the top 2 or 3 priorities that you believe would need to be addressed first?  (Let them tell you and finish telling you, then you might like to sum up briefly your ability to address those priorities)
NOTE:  In my experience, candidates often jump the gun in this circumstance.  They do the right thing and ask a good question like this, but rather than stop and wait for the WHOLE answer, they let their nerves get the better of them and jump on in with the “HOW” they can solve the problem or how they have the experience to do the job.  This means that they a) assume the remainder of the answer (it’s never good to assume), b) miss gathering further information (could be useful later on in the interview) and c) don’t show how they can listen (this can send completely the wrong message, when in fact, it’s just because they’re nervous)!
– If legislation has recently affected the industry or if there’s something pertinent in the news, try to tie this knowledge in to a question as it will show that you have done your homework!

What systems do they have in place?
– Are they adequate?  Or do they need updating?
– If they are inadequate, would it be your job to change or develop them?

Who was in this job before?
– Why did they leave?
– Will I be doing the same job as them, or has the role changed/evolved?

What is the company’s management style?

How do you measure performance and how often is it reviewed?

Do you provide any sort of professional development or training?

What is your target market?
– Is this something that you would like to expand?  If so, what are you plans for doing so?

What is the company’s policy on corporate social responsibility?

In what ways is your company involved in the local community?  (In our industry, there is generally plenty of information about this, so you might want to tailor this with something like:  “I see from your Facebook Page that you are connected with the <so-and-so charity>.  It what other ways are you involved in the local community?”).

It’s worth remembering, that to be amazing at an interview, you actually have to GET an interview and this begins with your application!  Make sure you develop a fantastic resume and that you get it in promptly via the means that they request.  And keep in mind that your research should start before you even send your resume in so that you can tailor your resume to the advert, the organisation and the role.  You should then pick up your research once again when you progress to the next stage and expand it so that it is fresh in your memory for when you get to the interview.  Oh.  And if you don’t get offered an interview, try calling to find out why (again, PLAN your questions) and see if you can gather any advice on how to improve your resume for the next time!  (Don’t forget to read my previous blog “To Call or Not To Call, That is the Question”, & if you haven’t already done so – you can click here.

When you do get offered the opportunity to attend an interview, think about the importance of making a GREAT first impression!  The interview starts the moment you step foot through the door in to the organisation and ramps up the moment you walk in to the interview room.  Dress.  Grooming.  Body Language.  Preparation.  Don’t underestimate the value of caring enough to make an effort – it goes an awfully LONG way!

Something that is all too often forgotten or done with no real thought other than because you’d heard it was the right thing to do is to follow up after an interview with a “thank you”.  There are lots of ways that you can do this with modern forms of communication – choosing the right one is the tough part.  In some (rare?) circumstances, an SMS to the interviewer is appropriate, but choose when and what you’re going to say and think carefully about whether an SMS really is the best way to go!  For example, if you know they are about to walk straight in to another interview, wait until later to send your SMS and try to choose a time when you know/think they’ll be able to receive it without the embarrassment of their phone beeping/vibrating in another interview!  Note:  I would only use SMS if the interviewer has been communicating with you via SMS, if they haven’t, then an email, phone call or even a well chosen ‘thank you’ card might be the better option.  Long story-short, don’t let your interview be the last time they hear from you!  Follow up to assist them to remember who you are and try to remind them of one of the positive aspects/events that occurred in the interview.

Similarly to  following up if you don’t get an interview, don’t forget to follow up if you don’t get offered the job and find out why so that you can use this information for your next interview.

And most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Sometimes, you can do everything right and still not be offered the job – so stay positive and upbeat as it’ll show the next time you speak to someone about a job.  And always remember – there is a great job waiting for you out ‘there’!  So keep honing your interview skills (which can be learned & improved) and stay focused.

It’s How We Lose That Shows Who We Are!

Recruiting is a funny business!

Whether being done for a small family business, a large multinational or as a Recruitment Consultant – the “recruitment process” provides an insight in to the human psyche.  And let me just tell you, it’s not always a pretty sight!

As a “glass half-full” kind-a-guy, I’d prefer not to err on the negative, unless there is something to be gained from this insight and so in this blog I thought that there would be significant value in sharing a couple of stories, thoughts and observations about what “we” see as recruiters in a niche market.

First and foremost, let me state from the outset that for the vast majority of roles that are recruited, there is only ever going to be the ONE position available.  Obvious right?  Stick with me here, because whilst this should be obvious, it would seem that there are candidates out there that forget this fact and the other closely associated fact that if there is only ONE position available and say 100 people apply, chances are that NINETY NINE of them are going to be disappointed.  It’s basic maths and yet it doesn’t stop candidates from being rude and at times, even abusive about the fact that they didn’t get the job even though (in their not-so-humble opinion), they were the best person for the job.

This leads me on to my next comment:  how can you know if you are the ‘best person for the job’ when you don’t even know who else has applied OR what the employer is actually looking for?  You’re well within your rights to believe that you’re a strong candidate because you have the necessary skills, experience and traits BUT the point is that  – YOU will NEVER know EXACTLY what an employer is looking for.  So rather than “assume” that you’re the best person for the role,  invest the time in your application to make sure that you have the best possible opportunity of getting the chance for a face-to-face interview.  Then, blow them out of the water at that interview and you might just convince them that you’re what they are looking for !

I mentioned above the competition (other candidates) and this is another point that unsuccessful candidates so often miss.  Faith and confidence in yourself is a much needed trait to be successful in the job market, but a misguided belief that your “Sh#t don’t stink” is likely to leave an impression of arrogance and prima donna tendencies.  Neither of which are an attractive proposition for a potential employer.  Remember, you may well be a great candidate, but there is always someone out there that is “better” than you.  Not a better person or even a better employee, but possibly just a better FIT.  Whilst I’m on the subject of “fit”, just quickly – always remember that a good fit goes both ways.  It has to be right for the employer AND the employee, so sometimes you’re better off missing out on a job if the fit isn’t right – it might just be a blessing in disguise!  To put the concept of competition in perspective, I recently recruited for a senior business leader role that attracted almost 70 applications.  Of the 70, there were 25 that could have done the job (admittedly to varying degrees, but they could still have “done” the job).  That’s over ONE THIRD of the candidates that applied, that by rights, could/should have been in consideration for the role!

This is where process comes in to play.  As a Recruitment Consultant, I am adamant about the fact that it is not my job to decide WHO a business chooses to employ.  Ultimately, my client is the one that will have to work with the successful candidate and not me, so later decisions are completely up to the employer (or their nominated representative(s)).  My (our) job is to make sure that we work closely with the employer (our client) and have open lines of communication (for more info on the importance of the employer-recruiter relationship see previous blog: http://blog.whitenow.com.au/2015/05/01/how-to-recruit-a-recruiter/) so that we are able to clearly identify all aspects of the ideal candidate-type in the hope that we can present our client with a range of candidates for consideration that match their requirements as closely as possible.  Obviously a lot of this is dependent on their ability to articulate what it is that they are looking for and our skills at drawing out this information and sometimes the tough conversations need to be had so that there aren’t any “elephants in the room”.  To achieve this, we run a tried and tested methodology that is linked to years of experience and because it is not an exact science, we then sprinkle all this with the tiniest pinch of fairy dust in the hope that it will bring us that magical candidate that fits in to our client’s organisation like a hand in to an old glove.  Coming back to my point specifically in relation to the role where 70 applied and 25 could do the job – as one of those 70 candidates, “YOU” would have NO IDEA what the level of competition is like both from a ‘cold-hard-facts’ perspective (the other candidates’ credentials) nor the ‘intangibles’ perspective (the competition’s alignment to the spoken [and sometimes unspoken] criteria as set out by the employer).  Surely then it is overly presumptuous to expect that you will automatically be on the short list and probably the preferred candidate for the role.

So, now that we are all a little more aware of some of the obvious, but often unconsidered facts of recruitment, why did I title this blog “It’s How We Lose That Shows Who We Are!”?  Simple:  the candidates that stick in my mind for all of the right reasons are those that are humble in defeat.  Those that thank me for my time and effort and make comment of their understanding of how tough the market it is and how difficult the decision must have been.  Then there are those that remain in my mind for all of the wrong reasons and rather than list some of the negative comments, behaviours and language here, I will simply say that their responses perhaps show their true colours when they’ve been knocked down.

Why?

Well because in business, particularly at a senior management level, it is unlikely that things are always going to be rosie!  There are going to be challenges and adversity and so if it comes to my integrity versus the integrity of someone that cannot be gracious in defeat and I am asked “can you recommend this person”, I am left with the easy decision to tell my client “No.  No I can’t recommend this person because I don’t believe that they would be good for your business or your culture”.

 

“ANYONE CAN BE A GRACIOUS WINNER BUT BEING GRACIOUS AFTER LOSING SHOWS STRENGTH OF CHARACTER” – Donald Lynn Frost

Service with a Smile

In the hectic lead up to Christmas, we missed getting our hands on one of the Aldi “Three Bird Roasts” and so in a mad panic, I called Jenny and asked her if she had any bright ideas.  Her response in an understandably matter-of-fact style was along the lines of “DERRRR, have you called Tanya and Paul at RPT Promotions?”.IMG_0155

“Ummm…..  No”, I replied somewhat flatly as my brain clicked in to gear and asked itself ‘now why didn’t I think of that in the first place, EJIT?’, (followed by a couple of expletives).

Anyhow, a call was placed to Tanya and was met with Tanya’s message bank, where I explained my predicament and went back to work.  Not even 15 minutes later, the lovely Tanya was calling me back with Season’s Greetings and instructions for how to get a hold of Paul.  Two minutes later I was dialing Paul’s number which was answered with Paul’s always happy & bubbly English accent.   Once again I explained my stupidity and with a wry laugh and an eagerness you had to hear to believe, Paul was making arrangements for one of his Turduckens to be delivered to Gladesville RSL (in close proximity to my home) for me to collect.

I thanked Paul profusely and he promised to call me back to confirm when the delivery would occur and off he went.  24 hours later he was back on the phone, as promised, to let me know that the Turducken was en-route to the RSL Club as planned.  He couldn’t have been any more obliging if he had tried.  What I didn’t realise at the time was that Paul and Tanya were in the middle of one of their BIGGEST Christmas’ ever!  They had orders stacked up to the rafters and were right in the thick of the logistical-challenge of getting everything delivered to the right place at the right time before Christmas Day!

The reason that I didn’t know just how crazy things were for P&T was because Paul made me feel like I was the only customer that he had, even though I was only after one item and it was probably (if I’m totally honest) a bit of an inconvenience.  But Paul went out of his way to ensure that I would get my Turducken with a short lead-time, so that my family could enjoy their Christmas Dinner and BOY, OH BOY did we ENJOY IT!!!…

The pictures speak for themselves, so let me just add that we all thoroughly enjoyed the Turducken, so much so that we will be placing our order with Paul and Tanya EARLY next year for Christmas 2015!

IMG_0154 IMG_0156 And let me also add that we are all extremely grateful to them both for being such a pleasure to deal with and for making our Christmas Dinner so very special this year.  Thank you both so, so much…

An Exceptional Man with an Inspirational Story

Here at White Now we are provided with opportunities to work with a range of amazing people and incredible businesses, including a large numberIMG_0835 of RSL Clubs.

After speaking with the exceptional, Geoff Evans (pictured here) who has served as a Commando in East Timor and Afghanistan, we couldn’t help but be moved by his own story and more significantly, what he is personally doing to make a difference.   So we asked Geoff if he would write an article for us as a ‘Guest Blogger’.

(To read Geoff’s personal story, click on the image above, on his name or you can click here).

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Spare a thought for the thousands of Homeless Veterans sleeping rough at this time of year.  The Australian Defence Force has deployed 67,000 troops to various conflicts since the Vietnam War.

Homelessness was a significant issue for Vietnam veterans and their families, and sadly, is endemic among younger veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the shadow of the centenary of the First World War, up to 3,000 diggers remain homeless on any given night.

What can you do to make a difference?

IMG_0825

In March of 2014, RSL LifeCare established the Contemporary Veterans Homelessness and Assistance Program (CVHAP) in Narrabeen, NSW.  Homelessness itself is a symptom of war caused mental illness, such as PTSD.  To the right of the spectrum is suicide, to the left: alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and other problems.

We currently have 24 veterans and two families enrolled in the program, but we have been reduced to accepting only the most severe cases.  This is not due to lack of accommodation, but rather through lack of funding to provide the necessary wrap around support services that make the program work.  These include everything from providing tooth paste and furniture, to transport, case management and a toy or two for the children.

Since publicising the existence of the program just a few weeks ago I have taken requests for help from right across Australia.  The common and sad refrain is that currently we can only provide housing at Narrabeen.  As younger veterans have children and other commitments they often cannot leave their locality, and so they remain living in cars and on the streets.  We have to do better.

We have also seen growth in our services to veterans and families who are at risk of homelessness.  This can occur when, for instance, a young veteran leaves the military without an illness or injury being accepted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  If they are unable to remain employed, as is often the case with mentally ill veterans, they lose their income.  Homelessness can quickly follow.  We are working to try and keep them in their homes.  Entire families are at risk, and its proving a growth industry for us, as a decade of war collides with an inadequate repatriation system.

For those of us working with these remarkable young veterans it is soul destroying toIMG_0820 watch them suffer for want of funding.  All veterans entering the program suffer from mental illness, most enter with an intense sense of shame as well.  They were our nations finest, help us help them.

If you can help, please visit the RSL Lifecare Page Here… (and scroll down).

Our Most Recent Resident: Case Study
Veteran X is 38 years old, and has served in Iraq and Afghanistan on multiple tours.  He entered the program in mid-November 2014 and is our 22nd resident.   Veteran X was still serving in the Australian military when he was admitted to hospital for treatment of PTSD and related alcohol abuse.   Whilst he was in the hospital, the Australian Defence Force medically discharged him from service.  This meant he was no longer entitled to a Defence house, and accordingly, his family was evicted while Veteran X was in hospital.

Tragically Veteran X’s relationship could not withstand the terrible strain of Veteran X’s condition and his circumstances.  Veteran X’s marriage ended and his wife and children moved into their grandmother’s house.  Sadly Veteran X no longer had access to his children.  Veteran X has described to me the sense of utter desolation and helplessness he felt.  “I just couldn’t believe this could happen to me” he said. “I devoted my entire life to serving the Nation, I was good at my job and I had a career”.  A few weeks after his marriage failed he attempted suicide.

Many months later, as Veteran X approached the date of his discharge from hospital, he literally had nowhere to go.  Like most of the young men and woman in our program he would have been living on the streets.  Fortunately he met one of the young veterans we’d previously placed in the PTSD program, who gave Veteran X our details.  Veteran X was initially quite a challenge, but we are a peer led program, and other veterans who have walked the same path took him under their wing.  He has come such a long way; he has joined our AA support group and will shortly start a training course.  A remarkable young man, like the rest, all he needed was a chance.  A testament to his hard work and the program’s success: Veteran X spent Christmas Day 2014 with his children.

Read and Recover is on Again!

White Now‘ in conjunction with Brad Sugars of ‘Action Coach’ is again running the ‘Read & Recover Program‘ in 2011 which will see us donate 1600 books to 100 hospitals across Australia!

The books have already arrived and now we need nominations for Hospitals and other Children’s organisations that will benefit from receiving these books.

This great initiative came about after ‘White Now‘  MD Jenny White spent some time in a children’s ward of a hospital with her son when he was ill and found that the only books available were few and in poor condition.  She decided she would like to help out by donating books to hospital children’s wards, so other parents and children could benefit.  Brad Sugars was calling for suggestions for his ‘Santa Brad’ project through Facebook, so Jenny told him her idea and he was happy to get on board and Read & Recover became a reality.  The initiative went from 100 books to 10 hospitals and rapidly moved to 1500 books to 100 hospitals.

So, now we have the books (and they are filling up our office) we call for nominations from the community for hospitals and children’s organisations they have either been involved with or know of, who would benefit from the donation of some books for the kids and families who the help.  We do this via Facebook and our newsletter (Click here to sign up for the newsletter) to our contacts at White Now and want to hear from YOU!

Later on we will also ask for volunteers to help us pack and deliver the books, so stay tuned!

I joined the ‘White Now’ team at the end of last year so this is my first experience of the ‘Read & Recover’ Program and I am already caught up in the excitement and can’t wait to be more involved.  It is great to receive your nominations and learn about the positive experiences people have had with our great hospitals and other organisations and know how these books will be of benefit and bring a smile!

Click here to read more about this great program and PLEASE contact us with your nominations through info@whitenow.com.au.

All the best
Sarah Watts

What to do When Attacked by ‘Aliens from Planet Hack!’

As many of you may know, www.whitenow.com.au was recently attacked, YES, attacked! – by ‘Aliens from Planet Hack.’  What this means, is the company that hosts our website and emails was externally and deliberately attacked and this effected our website and emails (along with lots of others) for about 6 days.  Not good for a web-based business!

Anyway, we are now back, the Aliens DID NOT win!

As with most experiences some good things did come out of it.  As an employee of White Now, I was really impressed with the response of those managing the company and our IT resources (Jenny White, Toby Kennett and Andrew Bassett-Smith).  There was no time wasted on ‘wringing hands’, feeling sorry for ourselves or laying blame.  Our management team was straight into ‘solution- finding’ mode and minimising the inconvenience for our clients and website users.  As soon as the problem was discovered, they were onto letting people know as best they could (via Facebook,LinkedIn and twitter initially) and setting up a temporary site so at least our current positions vacant could be seen.

It is really refreshing and inspiring to work for a company like White Now that concentrates on being positive, focused and professional and getting the ‘crisis’ resolved.

This is also a management team that regularly acknowledges the work of staff both publicly and privately – we always know we are appreciated, which makes a BIG difference!  So now its my turn to acknowledge them and say ‘you guys ROCK’ and are great to work for!

There is a definite lesson for ‘What to do When attacked by Aliens from Planet Hack’ or any other ‘crisis’ that befalls your business (or life for that matter), stay positive, focused and look for solutions.  That way you retain your power over the situation and leave the blame laying alone,  get on with the job.

Listening to Customers

listening

I recently purchased the NEW Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste that has been advertised widely.  Having sensitive teeth, the ad totally hooked me and the next time I was looking for toothpaste I decided to give it a go!

When I first went to use the product I was unable to open the ‘tamper-proof’ cap, so went to my husband for help.  In the end, we had to take to it with a knife and cut the secure cap off!  Rather extreme for toothpaste!

I thought that this was so dangerous and ridiculous that I decided to contact Colgate and let them know.  If we had this much trouble, how would someone like my 84 year old mother in law, with arthritic hands and living on her own, ever get the cap off?!  I went onto their website and found the ‘contact us’ section and sent them a polite email describing the problems I experienced.  I quickly received back an equally polite email that essentially ‘fobbed’ me off. Oh well, I thought, I won’t be buying that product again, regardless how good the toothpaste maybe, it’s just too hard to get to.

I forgot all about it and returned to another brand of toothpaste with any easy-access cap.  This week I received a parcel in the post from Colgate.  Seems I must not have been the only one to comment on the cap and they have redesigned it and sent me a tube to trial plus a questionnaire to answer.

Well today I tried the new cap which is still ‘tamper-proof’ but I am pleased to say VERY easy to open and access the toothpaste inside!

All of this really impressed on me how important it is to listen AND respond to customers.  I felt great that my comments had been heard and acted on and my further opinion was then sought.  I am sure I was one of many people who made comments about the cap, but if no one had said anything and had just never bought the product again, Colgate would have been left wondering what the problem was – the toothpaste?  the taste? packaging – WHAT?!  By receiving and acting on the feedback they have been able to make a small change and thererfore, hopefully retain customers and gain new customers, when they spread the word.

So, the moral of the story is to firstly let companies/organisations know if you find a problem with their product or service so they can take action – its then up to them.  Secondly, if you are that company/organisation receiving that comment, WELCOME it with open arms and see at as the opportunity that it is to make your service or product even better!  I will now continue to buy Sensitive Pro-Relief Colgate!

The Future of Work – Workstyle

Recently I have noticed a few articles discussing the predicted trends for the workplace and how we will work in the future and was interested to note that some of these trends already apply here at White Now!

Forecasters predict that women will account for 46 % of the workforce by 2020, more Australians will work part time, the median age will be 38 and more of our colleagues will be over 65, thanks to a growth in ‘grey power’.  Women will hold more management roles and our leadership style is expected to become more collaborative, motivational and engaged.

There is also a trend towards what is being termed as  ‘workstyle’ (rather than lifestyle) where you fit work AROUND your personal life and family commitments.  Makes sense as more and more, both partners are in the workforce and the responsibility for care of children is being shared more equally.  And who says you have to get your work done between 9am and 5pm – what about the rest of the hours in the day and night??

‘Workstyle’ allows the worker to attend school events, go to the gym or attend appointments in traditional work hours, do an intersst course and work when and where it best suits them – perhaps from home after the kids are in bed, in the early hours of the morning or on the weekend.  It means that the worker is always ‘on’ but with the ability to work around other commitments whether that be family or other interests and use ALL the time available to them.

With access to the internet and mobile communications tools, we can now work from almost anywhere and at anytime so work and life can intersect and ‘seep’ into each other.

This was one of the things that attracted me to working with White Now, having the flexibility and tools to manage my work and life and make the most of both.  I was interested and pleased to realise, when reading these articles recently, just how forward thinking this company is!

While not every job can operate this way, (hard to deliver great face to face customer service from home or when your venue is closed!)  there still may be opportunities for greater flexibility and incorporating some aspects to give ourselves or staff more of a ‘workstyle’ lifestyle.  Start the conversation with your Manager or staff and find out what could be a ‘workstyle’ for both! 

Being happy at work, having an enviable workstyle, may just be how we will measure our career ‘success’ in the future!

Out with the Old and In with the New!

The end of a year is certainly a time for reflection on what has happened this year and what we would like to do differently or how we would like to be different in the new year.  So, many of us will make New Years’ Resolutions for the year ahead and there will be plenty of articles appearing in newspapers and magazines with advice on ‘how to keep your resolutions,’ such as;  write them down, tell a friend, post them on the fridge or even register them on a website www.newyearsresolutions.com.au

Apparently 69% of Australians make at least one New Years’ resolution yet less than a quarter actually stick to achieving our goals!  One suggestion I saw recently is to only make short term resolutions (say 3 months at a time) rather than for the whole year, then review them regularly and make the next one – could work.

Along with the old year we want to get rid of the old us, our old job, our old habits and bring in new, fresh and exciting ones!  Resolutions tend to be around improving our fitness, health or appearance, becoming better people, giving up smoking and other bad habits, saving money and getting that new job.  Having worked in recruitment for a number of years I have certainly seen an increase in both ads and applications for jobs,  occuring in the ‘New Year’ and this is certianly true here at White Now.  Whether this is due to holidays and festivities finishing, people making New Years’ resolutions to get a new job, or a combination of both, I’m not sure!

For me, I am still deciding on what my New Years’ resolutions will be and how I will ensure I achieve my goals.  I’m sure straight after Christmas I will swear off food and alcohol – but I doubt that will last long!   Then all of a sudden it’s Easter and life is busy and nothing has changed and ‘what were those resolutions again?’

So good luck with any resolutions you make, may you achieve your goals and may 2011 be everything you want it to be!

STOP & THINK. Its all the Action Plan – Make DREAMS a REALITY

Formulating a dynamic Action plan to translate dreams to reality

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today”

The first step in developing an Action plan is to stop and think! Before taking any action, it is vital to understand the purpose for the action, and ensure that the steps you take are aligned with your core values and visions. It sounds like stating the obvious, yet there are many people whose daily actions are actually moving them further away from their deepest desires! The clearer you are about what is important to you, the more dynamic your action plan, and the more likely you are to be energised to take action.

There are countless ways to devise an Action plan, and here is a framework for you to adapt to suit your specific situation. Turn off your phone, put on some relaxing music, take some paper and coloured pens, and answer the following questions:

What is my current reality?

Where am I now? What decisions and habits have brought me to where I am today? What resources do I have available? What are my existing skills and strengths? What gives me energy? Which parts of my day do I truly look forward to? What support do I need right now?

Where do I want to be?

What is the main vision for my Action Plan? What do I want to achieve? What will I see, hear and feel to know that I have been successful in achieving the goal / vision? Is this vision an expression of one or more of my core values?

What perceived constraints do I have, eg time, money, or other resources?

What habits do I have that may get in the way of achieving my goal? What are my limiting beliefs about being / doing / having the desired result?  What if the opposite was true? What support do I need to release these constraints?

What are my gifts, talents and strengths?

When have I been successful at achieving something I desired? What qualities do I have that will benefit me for the future? When was I truly energised and excited about what I was doing? What was present? Is my current vision aligned with my strengths and talents?

Write my desired outcome using the SMART method – old, but good!  Make it Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-framed. Write it in the present tense as if it is happening NOW!

How do I get there?

Think of all the possible things you could do to take you closer to achieving your goal, no matter how small. Write down all actions you may need to take to achieve your goal. At this step, focus on generating and writing as many different options and ideas as possible. Take a sheet of paper and write more and more ideas, just as they come to your mind. While you are doing this, it is important not to judge or analyse. This is a brainstorm, choosing the most appropriate steps will follow!

What is the very next step I must take towards achieving this goal / vision?

Arrange the steps in a logical, chronological order and put a date by which you will start each step. Try to set yourself weekly goals: what research you will do into jobs, what skills you will concentrate on learning etc. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of planning a timetable each evening listing your steps for the next day or two.

Each action step should include the following information:

  • What actions or changes will occur;
  • Who will carry out these changes;
  • By when they will take place, and for how long;
  • What resources (i.e., support, skills) are needed to carry out these changes;
  • Which core value is being expressed by taking this action

Create a collage or metaphor of your vision, and keep it in front of you every day. It is a powerful reminder when the going gets tough.

Celebrate the milestones! Remember to acknowledge yourself and others as you accomplish each step along the way.

 “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant” –Robert Louis Stevenson

This AMAZING piece was written by our AMAZING guest blogger Karynne Courts from Values Connection.  Ph +61 2 9983 0755