Monthly ArchivesJuly 2014

Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Applied Finance standard

So you are all brushed up on your finance and you are ready to take on the CFO for your next project. WAIT! You are not quite ready yet! As I have been working on this series of posts, I’ve tried to avoid being a consultant. You know, that guy who tells you ALL OF THE THINGS, but never tell you how to practically do it! After writing the last post, I realized I did just that. There is one more piece that you need to know in order to apply your new finance knowledge. Every CFO works under a set of assumptions when he builds the financial models for the next period. She knows that she has $X amount ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Finance standard

So you are an IT guy probably because you didn’t want to be an accountant, right? Let those guys do the numbers! Wrong. One of the biggest lessons I learned at my previous employer is that if you want to advance, you have to demonstrate a working knowledge of finance. Essentially, you have to be able to talk to the folks who control the money and do it in THEIR language, and it may mean that you have to put more of your personal bonus pay at risk to get what you want. It’s the equivalent of diverting profits (personal bonus) from business operations back into the business to invest in a bigger long-term return (promotions, future bonuses, accelerators for ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Motivating Others standard

Being an employee of a company, big or small, means that you will have to convince someone to help you with your job who is not in your direct chain of command. These tend to be called cross-functional teams or task forces, or simply a favor. Who do you ask to help you out? In my last position, I learned the value of alignment. In fact, this became my word of the year for 2014 as I finished my dissertation and started working on a global strategy for my current employer. In a long paper, the front needs to align with the middle and the end. In the corporate world, the leadership team’s goals need to align with the CEO’s. ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Calendars standard

I can remember the old days when my dad kept a Daily Planner on his desk with his appointments penciled in for the day. He is incredibly efficient and one of the best at following up that I know (to this day). With teams spread across multiple floors, sites, states, or continents, the paper method does not work anymore without an army of assistants to keep it all straight. So instead, we use the calendar functions in our electronic devices to keep our day’s straight. Just like with any network-enabled system, there is some etiquette required to make it useful. If you accept a meeting, BE THERE ON TIME. If you can’t be there, let the organizer know as far ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Finding Information standard

This tip may be less for the newbies, but I’m shocked at how poor people are at using the tools around them to find information. Your first step should be taking a look at how to use Google. I mean, REALLY how to use Google. Google is great because it can cast both a wide net and be tweaked to surgically deliver a single finding. It incorporates multiple sources (for example, did you know about the treasure trove of information to be found on books.google.com or scholar.google.com?) and allows for all kinds of detailed views and alerts when it finds new things. There is an entire science in the security space on Google hacking, or leveraging Google to find information ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Using Email standard

Now that we’ve discussed how to organize your email and deal with the senders, we need to discuss the softer side of choosing your communication medium. Email is a crutch when it comes to communication. It’s easy to use, plus you can fit in all the snarky comments that you will kick yourself later for not saying. It’s so easy that it causes problems. Email is not the panacea for human communication, and I’m not just playing the part of the old guy that misses giving his paper check to Dottie, the friendly bank teller who gossips a little bit too much. Raymond A. Friedman and Steven C. Currall researched how email can actually escalate conflicts in ways that wouldn’t ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Processing Email standard

Email is one of the banes of corporate existence. Before email, we had voicemail (and still do). Before that, it was the memo basket, complete with intra-office envelopes with the little string thing to keep it closed. Email is obviously much more efficient, but it is one of the worst communication mediums when you are trying to understand more than the words on the screen (such as intent). Let’s discuss how to process email. Everyone complains that they get too much email. It’s not that they get more than anyone else, they are simply poor at managing their email. They are on too many lists, they are too disorganized to find emails when they need them, and they probably have ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Organization standard

This is not the messy desk, messy life lecture. There are thousands of books available to help with personal organization, and unfortunately only one or two will probably work for you. Don’t be discouraged. Instead, think about it this way: you need a system that will help you keep all the balls you manage in the air while coworkers and live throw more at you. However you choose to do it, find a system and make it work. I use Personal Kanban (enabled by LeanKit) in conjunction with Evernote and EndNote (free alternatives include Zotero and EasyBib) as resources to keep my life straight. Admittedly, I’m human and I still drop a ball here and there. Honesty, humility, and resolve ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals (A July 2014 Series) standard

Let’s see… You just graduated with your BBA or BS in some business concentration, and now your are ready to go pro. Hopefully you are already hired at your first company and are in the thick of learning about the business and how to succeed. Or perhaps, instead, you are an IT or IS professional that is looking to move your career forward. How do you acquire the skills needed to advance? I hate to break it to you, but your degree did not fully arm you with everything you need to face your new reality. Think of it like this. In high school (or pre-college), you learn that you have to have some level of popularity to survive and ...

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The One Where America Goes Into Drydock standard

For those of us in the States, not much is going to get done today as most of us look forward to a four day weekend. In that light, no big post here. I’ve got a few post ideas I’m working on for the month of July—one being a series on surviving corporate America. There is a set of skills I learned over the years that are never taught in business school, your company’s orientation, or on your company’s intranet (probably). I’m going to put together a list of survivability tools to help develop those non-IT/IS skills! In the meantime, enjoy a safe weekend wherever you are, and Happy 4th!

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