• Cool Corporate dot COM takes a look at the business world from the perspective of a young manager in the making. It offers posts, articles, and news clippings that cater to that young manager, but without being overly basic, so that it is still relevant to the seasoned business professional.
  • The Jazzy Cool One (aka, some guy named J.C. Payne), is a news producer with a news/talk radio station by day, and a passionate cheerleader for business and free enterprise the rest of the time.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's Really Important At Work: Coffee

Now for something really important. Over at Dumb Little Man, they've got an article on The Pros and Cons of Coffee Drinking.

Now I can tell my doctor that my 12 cups of coffee before 9am are actually helping my Type II Diabetes, not hurting it. (DISCLAIMER: I actually wake up at 3am, so its only two cups of coffee an hour. I don't think that is unreasonable...)

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Maybe It Is Time To Break Away

So you've read my post on Deconstructing a Struggling Start-Up, and you still want to find a way to leave your boss behind, and step into the world of a business owner?

Here's an article by Sally Hogshead written for Advertising Ad Magazine on How to Know When It's Time to Strike Out on Your Own. Read that, and if you still haven't been scared away, check out more from Sally at her blog, or pick up one of the more awesome books I've come across in the last few months, Radical Careering.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Deconstructing a Struggling Start-Up

Think you're ready to tell you boss to shove it and leave the rat race of a 9-5 and take on the adventure of a start-up? Just remember, for every Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), there are thousands of ideas that are just crazy, stupid, or poorly planned.

Take some advice from Philippe, co-founder and CEO of MyCarpoolStation.com, who is now running like crazy from his own creation. Take a little time to read his story on how the start-up he created to change the world and make a little money just didn't work.

Before you step out to follow your dreams, just make sure you are ready to suffer a fair amount of unexpected consequences (maybe some good ones, probably some bad ones).

Sell excess inventory.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tired Of Fighting Other People's Fires

After a very long week, I woke up yesterday with no real plans for the day, and a few ideas that were burning to get down on paper. I sat down to my computer and sketched out a beginning to a piece I was going to post on Cool Corporate dot COM, did a quick review of the special document to be posted at Bachelor Cooking, ate breakfast, and began to get the laundry started before I sat down to continue to write.

Then the phone rang, and all that forward moment was gone. No writing done, and I barely had the mental capacity to do laundry.

That's what I've been fighting for some time now. Other people's fires. Starting a day with a solid plan, or even just a good idea of where the day should run, and some seemingly random piece of news or someone else's emergency destroys the hope for a successful day. It eats away time, energy, resources, and at times sanity.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to deal with it

DON'T DEAL WITH IT: What should be fairly obvious is the hardest to handle. Letting other people handle the messes they've gotten themselves into should be straight forward, and should end your involvement before it begins. This only works if they can't find a way to convince you that there problem will soon be your problem. Usually, you'll see realize this will soon become your problem before they even bring it up.

DEAL WITH IT JUST THIS ONCE: Put your foot down from the git go. You'll step in and assist now, but never, ever, EVER again. This usually works about as well as refusing to not assist in the first place, as you will end up stepping in to help again anyway.

TEACH/HIRE SOMEONE ELSE TO DEAL WITH IT: While convincing HR that you need someone on the payroll to sit back and wait for catastrophes to happen is feasible to the companies bottom line might be a challenge, pulling key employees away from key activities to fight other people's fires, some key, some just dumb, isn't the most effective use of there time either. And if you can't hire that backup backup who only seems to come around when trouble strikes or during corporate softball season, train some of the lower-level employees to step in and handle the dire situations. It earns you points for leaderships and earns them points for initiative. Just make sure you train people you believe have the ability to handle the situation, not just the people your bosses say have potential. That potential may be to make things even worse.

LEAVE: Not the easiest decision to make for you career or life, but sometimes, you just know things will never get better, and you will never achieve the goals you thought you were hired for because you're to busy keeping superstar employees from doing stupid things. If you can move out of your mother's basement and stop dating that hot chick who wanted to pick out china patterns on your second date, you can ask to be reassigned to another department at work, or find work elsewhere. No need to start drama either, just look for a good opportunity within your current company that your manages would be crazy not to put you into, and make sure you won't find yourself troubleshooting as much in the old position. Or just find a new job. If you're as good as you think you are, someone somewhere will see it.



Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hiring The Right Replacement

The University of Arkansas is dealing with a coaching change in the football program. After ten years, Houston Nutt is out as the head football coach of the Razorbacks, only to
take a new job the next day as the head football coach at the University of Mississippi
. But if you can separate yourself from the irrationalities of team loyalty in college football, what it all boils down to is a common personnel/HR issue (need to fill the position) that adds a few minor wrinkles of complexity (top leadership position, high paying position, and we lost the old guy to our direct competition).

At my day job, we went through a recent ‘coaching change,’ with our general manager leaving. After a few weeks of interviews from around the country, our new GM was hired from within. The General Sales Manager took the top position as a promotion, but left the same need to now fill a her vacant position.

Whether you're looking for a new CEO or parking garage attendant, filling a vacant slot is hard enough when you don’t factor in the actual reason why you have to fill the position. Sometimes a person gets promoted, moves on to a new company, gets fired, dies…and now you’ve got to put somebody in thier old position, and the more important the position, the more critical it becomes to hire the right person, and the sooner it needs to happen.

Pay close attention to all the visible workings of the hunt for replacements around your company. Do they look for the best available? The cheapest? The quickest person they can get hired? Is the search being directed internally or externally? Do they really want to do away with the empty position, but can't figure out how to divide the work that person did? Do they really want to expand the position, and can't get the proper approval?

And don't think you're helpless in the decision making process. You're going to have to live with the new boss, peer, or peon that gets hired, so if someone asks for your input, give it freely and honestly. If no one directly asks your opinion, bring up the job search in small talk conversations with those involved, with prior knowledge that you won't get the full scoop. Try to listen more for what isn't said and how the information is delivered to you.

In the end, you have to refer to the old adage, 'The only thing constant is change.' The University of Arkansas may have had the luxury of a football coach with ten years tenor, but Houston Nutt wasn't going to be there forever. Your boss will not be your boss forever. You will not be in your position forever. Eventually, they'll have to find replacements. Study up on the process while its still not your responsibility, so that when you do get the power to hire and fire, you'll have some experience in making a search process as painless as possible.


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