Goaling

Setting and achieving goals is one of the most misunderstood and undervalued practices in the world. Most people confuse goals with wishes. Goals have passion and motivation as their impetus and force you to develop a strategy to achieve them. A wish is simply a desire to have or do something, but you put no real skin in the game.

Anyone can say “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want that promotion” or “I want to retire early” or “I want to get out of debt” or…But how many people actually develop a plan of attainment and put actions behind their words? The answer, sadly, is very few; and thus what most people claim as their goals remain indefinitely on their wish list.

 

Here’s how to tell the difference: If you sit down to review your “goals” and don’t have the realization that you have a hell of a lot of work to do, then either:

1) These aren’t goals. They’re wishes and you’ll never achieve them until you actually develop your plan too.

2) You’ve set the bar too low. Anyone can go without eating McDonalds for a day, but can you sustainably change your eating habits for the rest of your life?

3) You’re in delusion about what it will truly take to achieve them and thus, most likely never will.(see bullet #1)

Here’s an exercise that drove this point home to me. Every year on your birthday sit down and look back at what you’ve accomplished the previous year. Then compare it to what you wanted to accomplish and where you thought you would be at this time. What’s that picture look like? If you’ve achieved or moved yourself toward your goals then celebrate and replicate. If not, then you’re another year behind… Have the tough conversation with yourself and make sure next year the situation is different.

Lastly, sometimes you sit down to develop your plan and realize you have no idea what you need to do or even where to start. Well, that means you’re at the beginning of something truly amazing. Stick with it and enjoy the ride…

No Boundaries

Just read a great post from Seth Godin on “Boundaries.” He breaks the handling of obstacles into two basic categories:

Rigid boundaries: What do you do when you hit a wall? Do you have a tantrum? Spend countless resources trying to scale the unscalable? Or do you accept reality and put your energy into something else?

No boundaries: When there’s nothing but open space, do you run? Or shrink?

The latter is an important question, as I believe its where innovation originates. I’ve always attributed the early success of Latigent to the fact that when we started, we simply didn’t know what couldn’t be done (although plenty of people tried to tell me). That meant we thought, designed, built, and fostered ideas without boundaries. I wanted to build a product and company that would fundamentally change the way people viewed “reporting” and performance management in the contact center. This required new ways to solve old problems. Not all of the ideas we came up were new or revolutionary, but the point is that they didn’t need to be because our approach was. By not limiting or confining our thinking we bypassed hurdles that our competitors continued to stumble over.

If there were No Boundaries, what would you do?

Your Resume, Your Blog, Your Personal Brand and Your Next Job

I was chatting with a friend of mine this weekend who is currently in search of a new job. He mentioned that, in addition to applying for specific positions, he has his resume posted on Monster.com in hopes that someone searching for his skill-sets will find it. Now, I can attest that this does work. That’s actually how I got my job at Caremark back in 2003. Caremark’s HR Recruiter found me on Monster and it turned out to be a great gig with a great company.

The problem though, as I see it, is that was 2003; now its almost 2009 and if I was a betting man I’d guess that there are hundreds of thousands of resumes out on Monster.com today and my friend’s is just a needle in the haystack.

This started me thinking: if I was in the market for a new job, how would I approach it? The first thing that came to mind is that in the last couple of years I’ve received a handful of unsolicited “opportunities” in my email inbox. Now, this isn’t all that uncommon once you’ve been around long enough to get into the “headhunters” databases; but what is different compared to 2003 is that they found me via my blog, not via headhunters or job websites.

Let’s compare for a minute the difference between a recruiter searching for a resume on Monster and searching for keywords related to their industry on say Google:

A resume simply boils down into highly targeted and carefully crafted bullet points what I want to relay to you about what I’ve done in my life and how I think it applies to your job posting. Assuming that experience and past accomplishments are indicators of future performance you can probably discern things like my work ethic and basic levels of competence; but what does it tell you about how well I’ll fit into your company culture, or how I would approach the responsibilities of the role? The short answer is that it doesn’t. Arguably one could uncover some of this during an interview, but even that only scratches the surface.

So what’s the answer? Well, as audacious as it sounds, If I were applying for a new job, I would probably just submit a very brief cover letter and a link to ChrisJCrosby.com with no resume. Now, why would I send them to my blog and not tailor a resume to their specific job posting? It’s not because I’m too lazy to update my resume, but rather we’ve already established the flaws in the current resume/interview process so lets rethink it…

Imagine that the person interviewing me spent a few minutes on this site; what would they unearth?

  • How I communicate: Not just grammatically, but my ability to articulate ideas (like this blog post)
  • My true areas of expertise  and INTEREST: For Example, I’ve run call center operations, call center I.T., Resource Planning and virtually everything in between; but does that really mean I’m passionate enough about any of those roles to it again?
  • How I think: Am I a negative person that complains a lot, or do I approach the world optimistically and solve problems? Do I have original ideas, or just regurgitate what I read in the Blogosphere?
  • My “Brand” impact: By the shear fact that I have a personal blog I will have an image impact to your company. Would I be an asset, or a liability? Is it tangible or not?
  • Personal data that you can’t ask in an interview but the “National Inquirer Wants to Know”: I’m married to the woman of my dreams, I’m 34, I grew-up in Ogden/Manhattan, KS, I live in Boston (but desperately miss Chicago), and have a baby Crosby on the way. And oh, by the way, I work for Cisco, not SYSCO.

The list goes on, but hopefully you get the point.

So, now that potential employers are finding and interacting with you online, what else will they find out about you?

Not that long ago, I made a religion out of managing Latigent’s online presence (If you Googled “Latigent” in May of 2002 when we founded you would have retrieved zero results; in Sept 2007, just before the acquisition, it was 34,000 results ((64k the day after the acquisition was announced, the power of Cisco :-)).One thing people don’t think about are the implications of the things they post on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and the like. One day, during our growth phase, I Googled “Latigent” and the third listing was a link to Jason’s Flicker page where he had innocently uploaded a handful of photos from our company Christmas Party and tagged them as “Latigent”. The pictures weren’t incriminating by any means, but lets just that you don’t want to walk into a sales call with a CXO after he or she has perused photos of you enjoying a few dirty martinis (Belvedere, 3 Blue Cheese Olives)…

The moral of the story is threefold:

  1. Job Searching: If you don’t have a blog, start one. If you have one, don’t blog about what you had for lunch or how many beers you consumed last night. Talk about things that the people you want to find you will find useful. Trust me, we’ll find you…
  2. In the age of Social Networks and digital pictures that can be sent from your mobile: think before you post (seriously).
  3. The more your potential employer vets you (and conversely, by blogging about your interests you are targeting and “vetting” the people that find you), the more likely you are to end up in a job you you’re not only good at but that you’re passionate about.

My departing thought: What I find rather musing is that Monster.Com correlates “Your Personal Brand” to your resume. This means the majority of job seekers in the market today are still buying into that idea (that’s the audience they’re pandering too). And right now, the majority of job seekers (your competition) is growing by the day…

So how will YOU stand out?

When Privacy and Transparency Collide

I’m sure most of you saw that Barack Obama raised a record $55 million in the month of February, so I won’t regurgitate old news here. But what I find more interesting than the jaw dropping dollar amount, is how much of the fundraising activity is happening relatively under the radar. Yesterday his campaign made the rather boastful statement:

No campaign has ever raised this much in a single month in the history of presidential primaries. But more important than the total is how we did it — more than 90% of donations were $100 or less, and more than 385,000 new donors in February pushed us past our goal of more than 1,000,000 people owning a piece of this campaign.

 

My first reaction was “Wow! Go Baby Go”! Then my second thought was, “Wow! That’s roughly 900,000 donors we can’t track…”

 

The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) regulates that a campaign has to disclose all donors contributing more than $200 to Candidate. I downloaded the most recent FEC database and found only 84K contributors to the Obama Campaign at a time when he was claiming north of 500,000k. That means the vast majority of campaign money is originating virtually anonymously.

This raises questions around current Campaign Finance laws and if they will need to be revisited or reporting limits adjusted to adapt to current trends. My sense is that inevitably they will, but whether that’s good or bad for us is its own animal.

For example, last summer I contributed a whopping $25 to the Obama campaign. Should my Name, Address and Contribution Amount have to exist in a publicly accessible database as a matter of Campaign Finance Reform? From a privacy standpoint my reaction is “Not just no, but hell no”. But as a fan of Government Transparency, shouldn’t we be able to have visibility into the money flows of these campaigns? My answer is “yes”. So then, where in lies the balance?

The gray matter that exists at the intersection of Personal Privacy and Government Transparency when you participate in “public” activity will no doubt be the subject of much debate when the dust settles on this election. My gut says the issue will be raised from which ever side looses in November.

We Are Now A Part of Cisco

Well, WE DID IT!!

As most of you know, on Sept. 27th Latigent entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Cisco Systems, Inc. (Press release here http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2007/corp_092707.html )

I’m excited to say that last night we executed the final closing documents and officially turned over the keys.

I’ve received a lot of questions over the last week about what happens next. The short answer is that we were able to place almost the entire team with Cisco. I personally will be going into a senior Business Development role inside the Contact Center Business Unit and Jason is taking on a lead role in the engineering team. Cisco will begin integrating our product line into their Contact Center offering and begin transitioning support for our current customers.

It’s a bit wild to think that what started out as an idea scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin (literally) will now be distributed in 17 different languages to virtually every corner of the planet and used by tens of thousands of people. To say that it’s been an amazing journey to get to this point would be both cliché and understated. It’s impossible to sum up in one post what I’ve learned from this experience and how it’s transformed me; so I’ll save all that for the book…

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge and thank the extraordinary people that stuck by our side through all the cheers and jeers: our alliance and channel partners, the customers who hired us and the one who fired us, industry analysts, vendors that didn’t always get paid on time, entrepreneurial mentors, and our friends and family for their daily support and inspiration.

Thank you to Jason for not just buying into the crazy idea of building the seemingly impossible, but actually building it.

Thank you to Gary, for being Gary and engineering us out of database hell; Justin, for saving my neck more times than any other guy on the planet; and Mark for hanging in there through all the uncertainty, even though you’re a SOX AND D-Backs  fan.

Most of all, thank you to the unsung hero of Latigent, my wife and confidant Amy, none of this would have been possible without your unselfish support and sacrifices, uncounted hours of behind the scenes work, and your faith that together we could do it.

Cheers everybody!

Chris Crosby

(Former) President/CEO – Latigent