By Glen Blickenstaff | @glenblickenstaf
Look for ways to make a difference.
I saw job descriptions as the “had to do” list not as a limit. Throughout my career I created opportunities. I think that’s a big part of what entrepreneurs do. They identify opportunities and apply themselves, frequently without invitation to do so.
Follow that overwhelming desire to take action.
At one point I used the regular hours of my job to teach as an adjunct professor, which lead to an appointment on the Boards of Retail Advisors at the University of Florida and Cornell University. Entrepreneurs seem to have a voracious appetite for learning and teaching. We also feed on multiple tasks or projects, which lead to increased productivity.
Exert your influence as much as possible.
I resigned from one job in frustration over major differences in direction. Within two years they were bankrupt. I saw this as a failure on my part for not influencing the organization. An entrepreneur can go from the trenches to the big picture and assess cause and effect. The protagonist in this story is influence. Without it we are frustratingly adrift.
Help other would-be entrepreneurs.
It was an entrepreneur that I worked for that saw something in me and gave me a helping hand. He told me I needed to go into business for myself and help struggling companies. Four months later I left and he provided a generous severance to get me started.
Someone once asked me what it was like going out on my own as an entrepreneur. I told them it was like jumping out of an airplane with all the materials needed to build a parachute. An entrepreneur must be willing to take a risk.
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WORKPLACE SOCIAL MEDIA
Maria Ogneva is the head of community at Yammer, where she is in charge of social media, community programs, internal education and engagement. You can follow her on Twitter, her blog, and via Yammer’s Twitter account and company blog.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably witnessed (or maybe even been a part of) office communication mishaps that have ranged from mildly embarrassing to career-ending. Early in my career, I witnessed a rogue email chain which spoke of a client in offensive terms. The email accidentally got forwarded to said client. Oops!
No matter how sophisticated our use of social media, we must always be aware of its breadth. It’s easy to feel anxiety over saying the wrong thing, but if you know how to use it well, social media in the office can and should benefit your career.
Therefore, adapt the golden rule to the digital era: Think before you post, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. To make sure you are putting your best digital foot forward, follow these easy steps.
1. Understand Company Policy, Best Practices and Culture
If your office hosts an internal social network or digital collaboration space, understand what types of interactions are considered valuable (helping a coworker, for example), vs. actions that would be frowned upon (posting pictures of LOLcats all day). And always stay away from violations of your company policy (like harassment). Make sure you understand not only the written policy, but also the company culture – each company has its own stated and unspoken rules of conduct.
Global consultancy firm Capgemini talks about its use of Yammer, my company’s social network. “Yammer is shared with colleagues in the company — not just your close colleagues — but potentially EVERYONE, from your manager all the way up to the CEO…Our company values are: Honesty, Freedom, Trust, Boldness, Team Spirit, Modesty, and FUN.”
2. Company Communities Evolve Best Practices and Policies
Policy and culture aren’t static — they grow and develop organically, through a community-wide effort. Kate Dobbertin, community manager of one global company’s Yammer network, notes, “I look to the community to foster an open, caring community together. It’s not something I can control alone — the entire community must set the standards for what is or isn’t acceptable.”
In global companies, the definitions of etiquette are tougher to pin down. Ed Krebs, IT architect for Ford Motor Company, shared, “By allowing the community to define, and continually redefine how to communicate, those global differences that were barriers now become points to reshape together. The community gently informs each other about the nuances of language and the alternate interpretation of slang. We needed no new policy, respect is a key ingredient in our corporate code of conduct.”
3. Mixing Personal and Professional
When communicating over your company’s digital channels, your focus should be on getting your work done and helping your colleagues get their work done. On the other hand, mixing a bit of your own “flavor” is always a good thing – humans want to connect with other humans. But remember that you can easily cross the line from approachable to overly personal to the point of discomfort. Ask yourself, “Could this make someone feel uncomfortable?”
4. Public vs. Private Spaces
Take a few minutes to understand the boundary between public and private spaces. Having a clear goal will help you select the right medium and audience. Are you sharing something brilliant that can help others in general, or starting a discussion that will specifically benefit your company? Is it a message that should be public, but benefits a niche audience? Post it to a group. If it’s an action you want just a few people to take, send a private message or an email. Remember the key difference: Emails and IMs are disruptive, while streams provide “ambient awareness.” Don’t be that guy who CCs 20 colleagues with something irrelevant.
5. Be Mindful in Private
A quick word of caution: Just because you post to a private space or send a note to someone’s inbox, doesn’t mean it won’t find its way into the hands of someone else later. If you trash someone in an email, there’s always a chance that this person may see it – whether accidentally or on purpose. It’s always best to protect your reputation by abstaining whenever possible.
6. The New York Times Test
Before writing anything to anyone — publicly or privately — ask yourself if you’d mind seeing it on the front page of the New York Times. That’s exactly what Erin Grotts, director of internal communications at Supervalu tells her colleagues. “We tell people not to post anything that would embarrass you or the company…Would you be comfortable if it ran on the front page of the New York Times?”
Beldner encourages her colleagues to ask, “Would I say this to my company’s president and deputy general counsel in front of 1,000+ other employees?”
7. Become an Expert
If you want to be perceived as an expert, you need to contribute to the conversation. When someone asks a question that you can answer — go for it! Proactively share things that are interesting and ask thought-provoking questions. Remember, though, that quantity doesn’t mean quality.
Maximize your exposure by allowing others to find you. When posting to a public space, anyone can see your message, but there’s always a chance that the right people won’t. To maximize your visibility, post to the right groups and use the right taxonomy, such as hashtags, topics, and public @mentions.
8. Respect Privacy
Just because someone told you something in another channel, doesn’t give you the license to repost it automatically, unless it was posted in a public space like Twitter, which is indexable by Google. If you’d like to repost something, make sure that the original author has approved. Exercise the same caution when adding new participants to an existing email thread or a private group – make sure that existing participants feel comfortable that this new person will be able to see what’s already been written.
9. Remember the Golden Rule
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Treat your colleagues the way you’d want to be treated at work. Ask yourself, “Would I want to do a project with myself? What about grab lunch?” Don’t be the employee who publicly shames a co-worker to coerce him into action. Don’t go directly to someone’s boss instead of addressing that employee first. Never write something out of anger, spite or personal vendetta. Basically, don’t overstep your boundaries.
A great reminder from the folks at Capgemini: “In the same way that we moderate our conversations in the office, so we should apply similar moderation to our posts in Yammer…Be polite; try to be constructive; don’t be offensive.”
Back to you, reader! How do you observe etiquette at work, while still retaining your uniqueness? What kinds of guidelines does your company have for work-related social networks?
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Mobile phones seem like an essential part of an American’s life. I don’t know anyone without one and I’d say most people even have a smart phone. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia have a weird distribution of cellphones per people. I guess having multiple phones is popular in those places.
As our society relies more and more on cellular devices for our everyday needs we will become even more helpless when we lose our phones. I drowned two phones this summer. One in a hottub and one in my pool. I lost my iPhone in the hottub and going 6 months without my GPS, contacts, email, news, twitter, internet was horrible.
I did research over every single smartphone on the market and finally decided on the Samsung Galaxy II S. This phone is awesome. Voice control, huge screen and Swype for texting is like magic. I know when the iPhone 5 comes out it could take back my top spot, but I’ll have to make some carful comparisons.
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Here are some suggestions for your first post.
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Taken from THE SUN
I WANT to leave college and get a job where they’ll train me up while I’m working, but my mum says I’m ruining my life.
I’m a 17-year-old boy and started college in September. I recently decided that college wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the course and hated being back at what felt the same as school.
I talked to my tutor and he suggested I look for an apprenticeship or something like that. The college have been very helpful.
I told my parents and my dad has been great. He has helped me with my CV and taken me round different companies to give them out.
But all my mum does is shout at me. I have agreed with her that it’s hard to find a job, especially with no A levels, but I got good GCSEs, all As and Bs.
She doesn’t seem to realise how difficult things are now. When she was my age going to university was the way ahead, but it isn’t like that now and she won’t accept it.
How can I find a job with prospects and how can I get my mum off my back?
Good for you that you know what you want to do. You are far less likely to do well when you are doing a course you don’t like.
Apprenticeships can be a great way to start a successful career and you can earn while you’re training and gaining qualifications.
Contact the National Apprenticeships Service who have around 8,000 jobs on apprenticeship vacancies at any one time.
They run a vacancy-matching service and offer advice to young people and their parents. Check out their website for more information (www.apprenticeships.org.uk).
I hope that your mum will see that you are serious about this and give you a break. Your father understands how you feel, so ask him to talk to her about it.
My leaflet for job hunters has practical tips on giving yourself the best chances in of landing a job or an apprenticeship.
Solid advice from
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Also…. See earlier Zenos Article 👍
More than 40 colleges and training providers are being investigated as part of the review into short duration apprenticeships.
“We are working with the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to consider the outcomes of each review of short provision,” a National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) spokesperson said.
“Action is already in hand to investigate cases where there is cause for concern, with 45 different colleges and private training providers being closely reviewed.”
The investigation follows an initial review which judged all apprenticeship provision against the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) and Delivery Model Guidance.
Teresa Frith, senior skills policy manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “It should be noted that there are 45 provider organisations being investigated – this does not necessarily indicate that all 45 cannot justify their delivery models.
“Indeed three existing frameworks are recommended by Sector Skills Councils as needing less than 12 months for completion, so there is a likelihood that at least some will come through their investigation in a positive fashion.”
A spokesperson for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) added: “AELP will support action by the NAS that addresses cases of poor quality provision whether it is relation to a college or an independent provider.
“However, we note there are 45 cases out of a total cohort of some 1,000 skills providers and we shouldn’t rush to judgement on the extent of the overall problem before we know the outcome of each case review.”
The 157 Group says these colleges and training providers are likely to be under review because of the confusion surrounding best apprenticeship practise.
“Although 45 different colleges and private training providers are being closely reviewed, this does not necessarily mean that they are culpable of any wrong-doing,” a spokesperson for the 157 Group said.
“If anything, in a time of policy upheavals, changes and challenges, this number is most likely to be reflective of the inevitable current confusion around best apprenticeship practise.”
The review into quality and short duration apprenticeships has led to a number of new measures which were announced by John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, in the House of Commons last month.
The new measures include a minimum duration of 12 months for all apprentices aged 16 to 18, as well as a requirement for every apprenticeship programme to deliver “significant new learning”, rather than accrediting existing knowledge and experience.
Mr Hayes said: “If the standards are sufficiently stretching and the expectations of competence high, I believe that a course should naturally extend over at least 12 months. That will be the expectation first for 16 to 18 year-old apprentices from August 2012, as new contracts to training providers are issued.”
The new measures are part of a Quality Action Plan which will allow the NAS to tighten contracts and immediately withdraw public money from apprenticeship providers who are failing to meet the appropriate standards of quality.
“The review of short provision provided some of the content and direction for our Quality Action Plan,” a NAS spokesperson said.
“During 2012, we will work with the Skills Funding Agency, Sector Skills Councils, and other partners across the sector to implement each of the recommendations in the Quality Action Plan, including those on short duration Apprenticeships.”
The spokesperson added that apprenticeship programmes which do not meet the relevant standards, but still offer “valuable support to young people” will be referred to other agencies such as the SFA for consideration.
The De Vere Academy of Hospitality is one provider which has already announced a new apprenticeship programme following the review by NAS, which be launched on February 1 and last at least 12 months.
— Post From My Amazing Wandering iPhone
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Big cash boost for jobs
Published: 06 January 2012
County Hall bosses have unveiled plans to plough £50m into helping get people working
Lancashire County Council bosses have made a series of savings and investments in Government gilts which has enabled major investment in jobs and training.
County Council leader Geoff Driver said: “Young people are at the heart of our proposals because they are the future.
“We want them to stay and prosper in Lancashire when they leave education and we recognise the difficult economic climate is making that particularly hard to do at the present time.
“As well as helping them into employment, these proposals will give more young people across the county access to activities, information and guidance through the expansion of our Youth Zone programme.
“We also plan to direct some of this investment into providing the right infrastructure and other conditions that make Lancashire a good place to do business, so that employers want to relocate or expand their operations here and create jobs for local people.”
Among the plans is a £10m apprenticeships programme to help young people into work, supporting employers to take on apprentices and creating professional apprenticeships within the county council.
Plans have also been unveiled to invest £5m over five years to support the cost of young people travelling to education, employment and training.
There will be a £10m investment in a programme of measures to promote economic development, aimed at encouraging businesses to take on new staff.
A total of £6m is to be used for the extension of the Youth Zone programme to provide young people with more activities and opportunities to access information.
A £3m pot has been earmarked to employ armed forces veterans to mentor young people in secondary schools and £1m for refurbishing libraries.
The remaining £15m will be used for transport projects across the county
– Post From My Amazing Wandering iPhone
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Progress: you may have been getting away with this, but it doesn’t make it right! Hopefully this will make other providers think about their learners and not just their bank balance.
Apprenticeship course postponed for hundreds
By Louisa Peacock, Jobs editor
Last Updated: 7:05PM GMT 06/01/2012
Hundreds of people due to start an apprenticeship on Monday have been told not to bother turning up, it has emerged.
IT training provider Zenos, owned by Pearson, the FTSE 100 education and publishing group, has written to 300 candidates aged 19 or over telling them their scheduled placement for 2012 will not begin as planned on January 9. The company runs thousands of apprenticeship programmes each year.
The Skills Funding Agency, a Department for Business body, is understood to have asked Zenos to review its apprenticeship scheme because those enrolled on the course have no guarantee of employment with another organisation once the programme has finished.
Critics have long argued that apprenticeships of this kind, with no employers involved, lead to “ghost jobs” with candidates being turfed out into the labour market upon finishing their course, raising questions over value-for-money of the state-backed scheme.
Last month the Government promised a crackdown on training programmes that failed to meet quality standards. Skills minister John Hayes warned BIS would withdraw money from providers where there was evidence public money had been “over-claimed”.
Under the previous arrangements, Zenos would have paid all 300 apprenticeship candidates a wage, effectively making them employees of the training provider. But it could not guarantee work for them once they had finished the course.
It is now working to devise a new training programme which it hopes to start in the next few weeks, although it will not officially be called an apprenticeship.
A spokesman said the company did not yet know whether the new programme would pay participants of the course. The new “wage” may just involve expenses, a company statement said.
Jason Moss, managing director of Zenos, said: “Due to recent changes in the Government policy on apprenticeships, we are now working hard to ensure that the Zenos provision is fully aligned to the latest policy and that our learners continue to receive the best programme.
“All of the existing affected candidates will be starting a relevant programme imminently that will support their aspirations to gain an apprenticeship within the original time frame.
“We have consistently adapted our programme over the last 18 months to reflect the Government guidelines and we have a flexible and dynamic operation that can respond to these changes.”
The news has hit many would-be learners hard, with some claiming they had turned down job offers elsewhere thinking they had secured an apprenticeship scheme with Zenos.
The training provider’s own Facebook page has been littered with comments over the past 24 hours.
However, the news appears to have been a shock to the training provider, too, with a statement on its Facebook page saying it only found out about the course changes “24 hours” ago.
The statement said: “Within the past 24 hours, the funding agencies have told us that anyone starting an apprenticeship now needs an employer and a specific job identified, prior to starting on the programme. This is out of our control and we can understand that this may cause you uncertainty, which we can only apologise for.
“We are working very hard on your behalf to ensure that you have a successful career in the IT sector and at present we anticipate that although the start of the training may differ slightly that overall you are on the programme for the same amount of time.”
Zenos also claims 91pc of its learners find a job after completing one of their apprenticeships.
Employers offering apprenticeships to people aged between 19 and 24 can claim about half of the cost of the course from the state. Those hiring 16 to 18 year-old apprentices are eligible for 100pc funding.
— Post From My Amazing Wandering iPhone
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