Jamie Flora of Jamie Flora & Associates heads up a boutique executive and career coaching firm that helps corporate leaders get clear on their next dream job, get hired, and get paid more than they expect.
She’s a good friend of mine, and if you’ve been following me for a while, you may recognize her from a podcast we did together a couple years ago. It was time to bring her back on because in just a few years, the markets and industry have shifted SO much.
We covered way more territory than I can include in a single blog post…so I’m sharing all the best highlights of our convo here.
Are we in a recession? Not yet, but…
Jamie works with people who are ready to make changes, so I wanted to know: what is she hearing from the trenches right now from clients that she meets?
Jamie cut right to the chase:
“We are entering into a recession. We’ve been talking about this for a while, and I will tell you as an executive career coach who is focused on getting people jobs, I’ve already been behaving as if the recession is here.”
Jamie has for months been meeting with people who are getting laid off – and there are a lot of quiet layoffs happening. That’s where companies are strategically laying off or doing reductions in force in smaller bits, basically to stay out of the media, she explained.
For the people being laid off, she says, the feeling is kind of chaotic or “lost at sea” – in other words – “What do I do now?!”
Leadership changes are everywhere…& so is overwhelm
For those who haven’t been laid off, Jamie says they’ve faced a lot of leadership and people changes. “They’re looking around the room saying, ‘I am totally not aligned with this company and the leadership, and I’m so burned out, overwhelmed,’” she observes.
I shared that in my work with the corporations and the people within them, there’s been so much hiring over the past few years, that they’ve put people into positions who maybe weren’t quite ready or fully trained yet, and they didn’t really have a lot of support because things were moving so quickly. There’s a team struggle, a human struggle, when that happens. So the question is, “Now what?”
Jamie acknowledged that in a lot of companies, they’re moving fast, until all of a sudden they enter into triage mode. I shared how one of my corporate clients made the decision to stop with the “quick fix” band-aid approach – because there comes a time when you have to actually fix the underlying problems.
Planning isn’t sexy. But it is empowering.
Jamie called to mind a favorite phrase, “Run fast, break things” (in entrepreneur land). But, she suggests, what about, “Run fast, but take a break” instead? Sit down – even for a bit – to plan. It’s not sexy work, quips Jamie, because a lot of us don’t love the planning phase and may have the mindset of “What’s the point, if it’s all going to change anyway?”
Jamie recognizes how fast things are changing with structures, organizations and people. So, when we plan and things don’t exactly turn out they way we envisioned, it can feel like whiplash of sorts.
I added that you still make your plan and move forward, because you can make any decision along the way and there’s no wrong answer. The benefit is that you get to be empowered to make those choices for yourself. That’s the difference of feeling like everything happening to you.
“Life might throw you some curveballs and you get to those critical junctures – those are opportunities to reevaluate,” advises Jamie. If we get stuck in overwhelm, we’re apt to make a decision that doesn’t really benefit us.
Hiring someone? Looking for a new career opp? First…
It’s so important to take a step back:
- Ask yourself those uncomfortable questions maybe you’ve been avoiding, about what you really want
- Sit back, plan and strategize how you can get there (and what support you’ll need)
- Move forward with your plan
- Allow wiggle room for life to happen!
That, says Jamie, “is where I get the best success from a much less frenetic place.”
One of the most important questions I had for Jamie was, what would she advise her own clients to be aware of during an interview process, and when making decisions about where to go work? I wanted to know how she guides them so they land in the right place where there is a good alignment going forward.
Jamie emphasized getting really clear about what you want. She had this tip for everybody listening (or reading!):
Sit down & simply ask yourself:
- What do I want for my next role? Or,
- What do I want for my next direct manager?
Anyone can do this!
- Make your unique list of what you most want.
- Pick your top 5, and rank them.
- Get specific – define it.
Now comes the fun part…
What does ChatGPT have to do with your career?
Enter: ChatGPT. Haven’t played with it much? Now is the best time to start!
Let’s say you prioritized work/life balance as super important.
- Take your definition of it and enter it into ChatGPT.
- Say something like, “I define work life balance as this (paste your definition). What’s the question I could ask a hiring manager to understand if the company promotes work life balance?”
- ChatGPT will give you 5 to 10 questions that you can ask.
- Now do that for all of your top five and let ChatGPT do some of that harder brainstorming work for you.
- You can pull up the questions that you love the most and put that with your list of five things.
This is how you advocate for and empower yourself.
Are you asking for what you really want?
Truth: A lot of us aren’t used to asking for what we want. Yet it’s so empowering because you’re going to guarantee that you are now aligned with your next role and/or even your next manager.
“I train my clients to customize everything,” said Jamie. “Customize your resume for every job description, every application. Customize your interview talking points and your stories for that.”
Even though we’ve all come post-COVID where most of us were stuck home faced with all our issues which may have ultimately crystallized what we want out of life, something’s missing. A lot of people still aren’t defining their top five wants that Jamie suggested.
That’s where I couldn’t help but share my all-time most popular teaching on the six performance motivators. These identify what drives you to succeed and achieve your goals and can help you understand what motivates your team in the process.
(Psst…Have you taken the Performance Motivators Quiz yet? If not, you’re missing out! See why everyone loves it here…)
Effective hiring starts with knowing what motivates people
I am constantly training hiring managers to be able to recognize what employees are motivated by so that they can speak their language. And most importantly – so they can show them how the company can meet their emotional needs. It’s a win-win – the company gets to attract top talent, and the hires are in a position to achieve their goals.
It comes back down to authenticity. Nobody wants to work for a company that isn’t aligned with what they need in their value system. And it doesn’t work for the company either. They spend a lot of money and a lot of time to hire someone who if they gave them a sales pitch, that’s not going to work long term either. If it was just a sales pitch, there isn’t authenticity behind it.
Why waste time, effort & money on something that isn’t going to work…ever?
Hiring is a lot like…dating!
Hiring – for the manager or the person looking – is a lot like dating. It boils down to two humans coming together making sure that there’s a match – versus a hiring manager basically lording over a potential employee. The hiring manager knows the wrong person in the role ends in turmoil. That’s where humility comes in. It’s about recognizing that the other person has needs and desires and wants. But… “Is this the right role for them, or even the right company? Is this a match? Can we all just kind of be honest about that up front?!,” she asks.
Trust in hiring: the foundation of success
Jamie and I both love the philosophy of “speak their language”. She trains her people to speak the language of the employer. And she says, “I think what we’re getting at today is like, could that employer watch an individual and say, ‘Sally’s got 3 little kids. She needs flexibility. Can I speak to her about how awesome our company or even me as a manager is about that?”
Cultivating a level of trust and helping that other person feel seen is HUGE. “I feel like it’s like the number one human desire to feel known, seen and heard. So if we can do that from both seats, whether the hiring manager or the candidate, I think we’ve got Nirvana,” Jamie shares.
The hiring process (and onboarding) doesn’t have to be about drudgery. Both are about so much more than just the boring corporate “nuts and bolts.”
Really, I say that #1 is: How do you make sure people are known, seen and heard quickly and they feel like they belong? If we just start there, we’ve already accomplished so much more than what most companies attempt to do.
Listen loudly to let your authenticity shine
Jamie agreed: “It’s all about being known, seen and heard/appreciated/respected and appreciated.” This is where listening is key. Be curious, open-minded. Ask someone how they are feeling, what they need. Make it personal and let your authenticity shine. Asking open-ended questions allow a person to feel known, seen and heard.
Jamie added, “When you get both the delivery of the role and the human feeling like they are known, seen and heard…that’s when you have magical teams.”
I asked Jamie: What is the advice she would give hiring managers to help them attract and retain this great talent…who maybe have decided they want to be out and looking again because they’re still seeking the right place?
How hiring managers can attract & retain great talent
It goes back to the known, seen, heard in the interview process when you’re looking, says Jamie. Get out there and start having conversations. All it takes is one person to have that conversation and drive deeper. Jamie had a story about one of her best clients, who she says does interviews like nobody’s business:
“She is this master networker via e-mail of all things. And what she does is she listens for the first thing that people talk about. Is it their kids, their pets? Do they talk about a sport or something they’re involved in? And she always validates that.
I think hiring managers can do the same thing. I think there’s ways that, again, as a hiring manager, you can connect with that candidate and make them feel known, seen and heard.”
If you follow Strive, you know that I’m teaching constantly how important rapport building is and genuinely knowing your people, knowing each other as humans. We are all humans first, and I love that Jamie is such a proponent of that – as well with all her clients – as she guides them on their search for their next best situation.
Connect with Jamie:
See how Strive can help you navigate the rapidly changing times we’re all facing…