There are signs that you are about to lose your job according to Wall Street Journal writer Joanne Lublin. We find that most executives are intensely focused on their jobs to the exclusion of thinking about their career, so we are not too surprised when a new transition client says, “I was totally blind-sided. I didn’t see it coming.” This article which has quotes by Gail Meneley and Hugh Shields has some interesting thoughts for all executives to become more aware about the subtle messages that their boss may be sending when they are in jeopardy of losing their job.
A client recently told me excitedly that she had received a job offer. Her enthusiasm was infectious and I flippantly remarked that “kissing all those frogs” must have worked, remembering a comment she made to me a few months earlier when I saw her leaving the office for yet another meeting. She responded, “Actually, you were right about the importance of networking and pursuing leads. I went to the 7th level in my networking! That’s a lot of frogs!”
This executive’s situation may not be typical of all job searches, but with white collar unemployment still above pre-recession levels, typical executive job searches take nearly double what they did a few years ago (averaging over 7 months). Research indicates people tend to give up after looking for 5 months. This highlights the need to continue following the path to a new job even when you are tempted to give up due to frustration or even if you don’t know exactly where more conversations will lead.
In the Grimm fairy tale, “The Frog Prince”, a spoiled princess reluctantly befriends the Frog Prince who magically transforms into a handsome prince. In modern versions of this story the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog. The phrase, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince” is used to encourage those who seek true love, but I really like its use to describe the current job search process. For executives who are used to being pursued by recruiters, it is often very frustrating for them to think they need to work so hard and have hundreds of conversations to find a new job. I often see a shock on their face when they are told that they can’t just wait by the phone for that special call. They get frustrated that recruiters won’t return their calls, and they are not used to asking for help. But, given that over 80% of jobs result from networking, most of us need to network, network and network some more.
The right way to network is really just following a simple process. First, make a list of all the people you know who you think might be of help in your job search. Second, prioritize them by what you think are stronger to weaker relationships. Third, as you have each conversation, make it your goal to get 2 or 3 names of people that individual thinks could be of value in your search. For every conversation it’s either a discussion about a specific job or names of people that may be of help to you. Throughout these conversations, stay on point and keep working your program.
In this executive’s case it required seven levels of contacts to find the right opportunity. So, stay with it … it can take a lot of frogs before you find that special job!
Carter Elenz, a client of Shields Meneley Partners, has been appointed President of Orgain. This company is a mission based, healthy product business. Orgain is the world’s first doctor developed organic ready-to-drink meal replacement. The drinks are made with organic protein, complex carbohydrates, and organic fruits. It was founded by Dr. Andrew Abraham, a young physician and cancer survivor, who developed a healthier version of a Nutritional Shake than conventional brands because he felt he needed it for his recovery. After medical residency, instead of going into medical practice, he started this business. The products come in versions for adults, children and they have a vegan drink. They recently launched an exciting 25 g protein/3g carb organic protein powder for people with active lifestyles.
Mr. Elenz has had industry experience through President and Executive Vice-President roles in Sales and Marketing spanning traditional, lifestyle and specialty consumer products in the food/beverage, health-wellness, high-tech and household categories. Carter has expertise in corporate and shareholder value creation, change management and effective leadership in both early-stage and Fortune 500 environments. He is particularly passionate about a company’s mission and wants consumers to personally benefit from their products. Over the years he has achieved an unparalleled record of business transformation of specialty CPG businesses – Gardenburger, Stonyfield Farm and Seventh Generation – where he has helped them achieve valuations beyond expectations experiencing 100% – 500% growth. These companies became icons of successful crossover from niche into mainstream consumer markets.
Mr. Ravi Saligram, a Shields Meneley Partners client, has accepted an offer to become the new Chief Executive Officer at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. Robert Murdoch, Chairman of the Board, stated, “We are very pleased to welcome Ravi Saligram to Ritchie Bros. as CEO. Ravi is a proven leader and an experienced chief executive within the business services sector, and has an impressive track record of driving revenue and profit growth at customer-service focused organizations. Ravi’s recognized talent for cultivating strong corporate cultures and his extensive global business experience will benefit Ritchie Bros. significantly as we enter our next phase of growth.”
Ritchie Bros. is the world’s largest industrial auctioneer, which is headquartered in Vancouver, BC, Canada and has more than 1,400 full-time employees worldwide. “Ritchie Bros. leading market position, deep operational expertise in unreserved auctions and highly engaged teams committed to customer service attracted me to this role,” said Mr. Saligram. “I am excited by the opportunity to further grow the core business in both North America and internationally, and scale new e-based business models to provide comprehensive solutions to customers. I look forward to partnering with our team to make Ritchie Bros. the premier global equipment solutions company.”
Mr. Saligram’s 35-year professional career includes three years as President and Chief Executive Officer of OfficeMax and more than 20 years of general management experience at ARAMARK, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and SC Johnson. He has lived in five countries and worked in many more across five continents. Ravi is noted for his ability to lead consumer, B-to-B and digital businesses and has considerable experience running global, multi-unit service organizations and overseeing large sales teams. We are pleased for Ravi and know that he will add considerable value to Ritchie Bros.