Goodbye Zig Ziglar

Posted December 11, 2012 by Paul Helm
Categories: Life Lessons, Misc, success

Tags: , , , , ,

Before the likes of Tony Robbins and other motivational speakers, there was Zig Ziglar. Most well known as an author and speaker, he has touched the lives of many individuals around the globe over the last 50 years.  Personally, I have seen him a couple times live on stage – and he was good.  Especially when he got low the the ground, even down on a knee, to make a point.

Zig Ziglar died after a battle with pneumonia late November 2012 at the age of 86.

For decades, Zig Ziglar motivated and inspired millions of people to be more successful at whatever they do for a living. Ziglar’s ideas about creating a sense of urgency are exemplified in his “Day Before Vacation” story. Watch him in action:

“According to research, a little over one hour a day is wasted in idle conversation, much of it gossip that has nothing to do with a job. An hour a day is five hours a week, that’s 250 hours a year, that’s 6 weeks of life totally gone to waste.” – Zig Ziglar

Bottom line?  Treat every day like it’s the day before your vacation and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results in your personal and professional lives. Learn more about personal and professional development from Zig Ziglar at

Move over Millenials – 50+ Workers Have More Vitality

Posted September 5, 2012 by Paul Helm
Categories: Life Lessons, Recruiting

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In an era where age discrimination can be rampant, there continues to be more data on the other side of the coin supporting the values of “more experienced” talent in the workforce.  We have to say more experienced because using any words related to age (at least in the human resources and recruiting arenas) is illegal as age is a “protected class”.  Yet, more and more studies, articles and credence is given to that vast amount of intellectual property (not to mention maturity) in those workers that have some years under their belts.

One recent study looking at the functionality of high-tech, engineering, and infrastructure executives was conducted by the University of Haifa, Israel.  The big news? In terms of vitality, “advancing age plays a significant role” according to  Dr. Shmuel Grimland, Prof. Yehuda Baruch, and Prof. Eran Vigoda-Gadot, who ran the study.

What is vitality?

vi·tal·i·ty [vahy-tal-i-tee]

noun, plural: vi·tal·i·ties
1. exuberant physical strength or mental vigor: a person of greatvitality.
2. capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningfulor purposeful existence: the vitality of an institution.
3. power to live or grow: the vitality of a language.
4. vital force  or principle.

In the professional workforce this would be defined as the ability to carry out tasks with passion, vigor, and competence, and to gain satisfaction from his or her work performance.  The study looked at 545 public and private sector management workers at all levels (project managers through senior company managers) from areas like high-tech, engineering, and infrastructure.

Basically, the study found that the older managers in their 50s have more professional vitality. For many, after turning 50 marks a time in their lives that they accomplish much more from a sense of confidence and comfort, and relying on personal knowledge versus outside resources.

While in many cases older workers are only seen as the opposite of young workers – a difficult comparison in a youth conscious-driven society.   Many older job hunters state that they are getting overlooked based on their age in preference of the younger, faster models.

The University of Haifa study goes on to say that vitality is also tied to career and life satisfaction.  With workers that have a greater level of vitality, the more steady they are on the job – and consider leaving their place of work less frequently.

For many reasons, older workers are coming back into the workplace in record numbers – call them “second lifers” or those looking for an “encore career”.  These numbers are the highest in 50 years – although some of that can be attributed to the fact that this is the largest group of retired seniors in 50 years as well.  they may be eligible for retirement, but they are living longer and feel as productive as ever.  With the impact of the recession and housing market collapse – more will continue to NEED to work to support themselves in their “retirement”.

Bottom line?  Recruiters and talent managers should not overlook the 50+ experienced workforce – because they are still full of vitality and an immense amount of intellectual property in their heads that is becoming more and more scarce.

No Free Lunch does not mean Don’t Take Lunch

Posted August 22, 2012 by Paul Helm
Categories: Life Lessons

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Do you take a lunch break from work?

Based on recent studies conducted in the last 24 months, many don’t.  Are you surprised?

I am not surprised, mostly because I know that I usually mix up a protein shake and keep on plugging away at my desk, which sort of straddles the fence on this one – eating lunch but not taking a break.

History tells of a time when employees had to fight for meal/break policies that exist today.  Not much fighting any longer, as CareerBuilder found in 2010 that 18% of workers report always eating at their desks and 16% said they skip lunch in favor of work. A third of employees said they take lunch in under a half hour (hello Tums)!  More recently in July and August of 2011, Right Management came up with similar results polling 751 North American workers asking, “Do you regularly take a break for lunch?” Results: 35% said “Yes, almost always”; 34% said “Yes, but usually stay at my desk”; and about a third said either “Only from time to time” (15%) or “Seldom, if ever” (16%).

With many corporate environments expectation that more people are expected to work more with less, workloads are higher and many people don’t feel like they can take the time to eat.  “Many of the organizations have been downsized, and as a result, folks have significantly more responsibility,” said Ron Sims, a vice president at Right Management. “They don’t want to be seen as somebody who is not fully contributing.”

What is the downside to all of this lunch skipping?  You might think that you are getting an extra hour per day, but in reality you are burning yourself out.  Nancy Rothbard, a professor of management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania said “There is support for this idea that taking these breaks can actually help you do better and focus better on your work and have new ideas.”

Now, some companies are encouraging employees to leave and eat lunch or get some exercise to promote better health and overall creativity.  Tony Schwartz, energy expert and author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, encourages workers to take back their lunch.  His web site The Energy Project has solutions, tools and tips for fueling a fully engaged workforce.

Bottom line?  Think about this before you skip lunch again – you could be robbing yourself of the the chance to refuel, recharge and to fully engage the second half of your day.

Can you pass the test?

Posted July 11, 2012 by Paul Helm
Categories: Life Lessons

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Name the 12th U.S. President (check one):
( ) Zachary Taylor ( ) Opie Taylor  ( ) Taylor Swift

Seriously, I was a bit shocked to see the results of a national survey regarding the level of knowledge regarding our own nation’s history this week.  Fifty percent of those born here in the United States of America would not pass the naturalization test if 70% (a grade of C, or 7 of 10 questions answered correctly) were the bar they needed to exceed.

Xavier University’s Center for the Study of the American Dream revealed that 33% of native-born citizens failed the civics portion of the naturalization test.  Compare this to the 97.5% pass rate among immigrants applying for citizenship.  Currently, passing requires answering six out of 10 questions correctly.

The study outlined how, if the pass rate were seven out of 10, 50% of native-born Americans would fail. The Center’s nationwide survey tested adult Americans on 10 random questions taken directly from the naturalization test.Other results:

  • 59% of survey respondents could not name one power of the federal government
  • 77% could not name one power of the states
  • 62% could not name the Governor of their state
  • 71% were unable to identify the Constitution as the “supreme law of the land”
  • 68% did not know how many justices are on the Supreme Court
  • 75% were not able to correctly answer “What does the judiciary branch do?”

Want to take the test?

I took it, and only missed two out of 60 questions attempted.  One was a stupid mistake about which war was fought when, but the other was an incorrect answer that the Constitution was written in 1776, when it was really written in 17–.  Want the answer?  Review your history book, or take the test and check your answers, or shoot me an email.

Facebook versus Traditional Personality Tests

Posted March 18, 2012 by Paul Helm
Categories: Life Lessons, Recruiting

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It’s not like Facebook is an “app” that was created for this purpose, right?  Most have seen the Facebook movie, and if you have not, the media has played the majority of it out anyway so you know the basic origins of the site.

In business, anyone in HR or recruiting (my line of work) has certainly taken a peak at a potential candidate profile here and there.  We do Google them for sure among other more formal things like reference checks.  You are doing reference checks before you hire someone, right?  Anyway, so much of this formerly non-regulated behavior is being regulated by requiring us to all have policies on what we do to rule candidates in and out and how we use social media.

Seems a half a billion people using something and everyone starts to take notice.  Go figure.  Why would it surprise you that studies are also being done.  Researchers from Northern Illinois University conducted a study finding that a brief, 5-10 minute review of a candidate’s Facebook page was actually a stronger predictor of job success than traditional personality tests.  Wow!

Well, the smart candidates went on and took off those unflattering pictures and racy comments or posts before they interviewed with that really conservative company (especially now that “timeline” is live on Facebook) long before they submitted their resumes.  However, what we once thought of as only a place to hang out and follow our friends, and “like” stuff, and share stuff about ourselves, now we apparently need to manage how others may see us.  No safe place to let your hair down anymore – and if you did, can you really get it OFF the Internet anyway.  If you posted something wild and crazy to someone’s wall other than your own, you have no ability to clean that up.

The researchers had a group of college students complete surveys of a personality measure called the International Personality Item Pool which assesses the Big Five personality traits.  These five traits are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.  The researchers then trained evaluators to review Facebook pages of the college students.  Then the evaluators rated the students on the same Big Five personality traits.  The results revealed that their ratings were consistent with the participants’ own ratings.

Following a subset of participants from the first study who were employed six months later and received performance evaluation scores from their supervisors, researchers compared the results from both groups and saw that scanning Facebook was a more accurate predictor of job performance.

They suggested that the benefits of using social media websites like Facebook may provide a more honest representation of the individual than can be gained via a traditional personality test.

I think the bottom line here is to be careful (or at least think about) how you present yourself on the Internet via social media because what you find funny now may not be to your future employer – however, being yourself is an honest portrait of who you are so if they are uptight about it you might not want to work there anyway.

Sing for your interview?

Posted February 18, 2012 by Paul Helm
Categories: Life Lessons

Tags: , , ,

Oliver may have had to sing for his supper, but have you ever had to sing for your interview?

Granted, if you are auditioning for The Voice, or America’s Got Talent, or American Idol you may just be presenting your vocal talents, but those are audition not interviews.  What would you think if you were out on an interview with a company looking to hire, and they asked YOU to sing?

Spotted on American Society of Empoyers’ everythingpeople.™ This Week! they had asked for things that were funny or interesting as far as interview questions and got a response about a request to sing.

The sing-off interview: “During a second interview where I was interviewed by a panel of about six interviewers, I was asked the question: “Will you sing Happy Birthday to all of us?” I was taken aback by the question and concerned because I am not a good singer. However, I really wanted the job, so I told them that I wasn’t a good singer, but I would sing. I started singing the song and they cut me off. They said they just wanted to know if I would sing, but they didn’t actually need me to sing. They explained that my willingness to sing told them that I was a team player, willing to do whatever it takes for the job. Despite my willingness to sing, I did not get the job. Perhaps, it was the fact that I really am a bad singer!!! ”

Now I have heard some really creative ways to determine if someone is a team player, but this is the most unique.  Who comes up with these ideas?  Makes you wonder if “Why are manhole covers round?” is not so far off base.

Bottom line?  Kudos to the candidates who actually sang!  This is not such a horrible idea depending on the company you work for.  Lot’s of jobs actually require you to sing as part of the job and some of them don’t even require a vocal “audition”.  The made me smile, what’s the harm?

Tool for Organizers

Posted August 11, 2011 by Paul Helm
Categories: Life Lessons, technology

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

As most of you who know me already know, I tend to step up and organize things for groups that I am involved in – whether participating myself or because my kids are involved.  Sometimes this can be quite the headache – it takes time, energy, organization skill, and sometimes (as we all know) the right tools.

In can be quite a chore to be the one to head something up – especially when you have to collect money from a large group of people as part of your organizer duties.

Well, there’s an APP for that!

I was thinking about this as we are starting to hear the usual chanting of “Are you ready for some football” signalling the upcoming season (as long as they are not on strike) and for many out there, it is more of a “hey, are you ready for some “fantasy” football?   Leagues form in many families, groups, companies, industries, cultures and one of America’s favorite pastimes lives on in the realm of fantasy.  Along with this comes the inevitable question: Who is going to organize this year.  While most quietly take a step back leaving one poor soul to appear to have taken the step forward to volunteer, they get stuck with the job.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to organize this easier?  There is.

A friend of mine actually owns a company that produces an APP in order to provide just this type of service.  It’s called Pay It Square.  They actually automate the entire process of collecting fees and make it so simple that you participants can pay any way that they want.  Click here to read their latest press release about the product.

Now that I think of it – I wish I had thought of using this for my own futbol (soccer) league.  Each year when the weather gets cold and threatens to snow we take our weekly games indoor where we have to RENT field space and I cannot tell you what a pain it is to collect from everyone.

Bottom line?  Check out Pay It Square – might just be the season ticket to a more simple process for the person that organizes YOUR league.



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