Once upon a time in Eastern Europe, I became the general manager of a business housed in an allegedly 500-year-old building. We were making and selling feminine care products in the local market but suffered from ancient technology and a marginal business with little critical mass. I needed to add market presence fast or we would soon be delisted and irrelevant.
Under the circumstances, acquiring a diaper business was one of the best available options, so I set to work wooing a local business that had a good local brand, reasonable products, a modern plant, and far too much debt. The courtship went on and on for months as the understandably skittish local owners (Mr. and Mrs. “Z”) were fearful that the Fortune 100 giant I represented was going to somehow take advantage of them.
Issue after issue arose during the negotiation—the value of working capital, valuing the assets, ownership of debt, continuity of the brand and protection for the employees, etc. I was largely on my own with my small but capable local staff because the regional and European HQs were very far away and unresponsive (except for my boss who did provide some backing and moral support).
Finally, we managed to address all the issues and the owners agreed to the terms. We acquired the business and then set about the considerable challenge of integrating the two and gaining synergies with the powerful retailers who controlled the distribution of our product lines.
At one of our last-ever meetings, Mr. Z smiled at me and said, “You know, there is only one reason this deal ever succeeded… Do you know what it is?” I shook my head. He grinned again and said, “In spite of all of the issues, all of the crises, all of the near failures… you never stopped smiling and as a result, I never lost faith.”
Upon reflection I realized this was true. Aside from being desperate to acquire the business, I liked the sellers and wanted to reach a fair deal for all parties, so, yes, I did choose to see the sunny side and find solutions for the frequent puddles of shade.
Many years later as a business coach I learned a smart way of describing this concept as “Self Talk.” FocalPoint’s Brian Tracy came up with a good way of explaining how this works:
“What you say to yourself when no one is listening is what all the world sees when everyone is watching…”
The idea is not merely one of whistling in the dark to inspire false confidence. It is literally to reprogram your thoughts regularly to focus on the positive outcomes you want and expect with the belief that positive thoughts bring positive outcomes. Some readers will recognize this as what has come to be known as neurolinguistic programming, but it is a very ancient skill—one that requires self-discipline and focus.
Now this level of focus may be difficult if you are facing a job search whether initiated by yourself or due to losing your job. At such times, most people go through periods of self-doubt and others can see and hear this in their manner and voice. What is really helpful under these circumstances is a reliable “mirror” that will show you how others may experience you so that you can be maximally effective when you interview or present yourself. Self-knowledge, as we have observed, is power.
At the Barrett Group, our clients benefit from a team of six or seven professionals who help them throughout their process as coach, consultant, researcher, writer, negotiator, and client concierge. We continually help the client see and hear how others will see them, whether in print based on their resumes, or in person when they interview. Our mock interviews help clients prepare for those tough questions, address those gaps in their resumes, and demonstrate the transferability of their professional experience.
Through the early-stage DISC debrief, we help clients understand how their behavioral tendencies may influence their business success, and the Clarity Program© (our initial targeting component) helps them codify unambiguous personal and professional objectives to provide focus.
These processes provide the discipline that some career changers may lack, holding them accountable to themselves while also offering a reliable mirror so that the candidate can perfect a realistic and positive Self Talk that will be understood as authentic and symptomatic of professional confidence by would-be employers and interviewers.
Here is what one recent client says about his initial Clarity Program©:
“The work with Dominic [his Clarity Coach] was outstanding, the best exercise I have done like this during my career. The tool set was very good, the DISC exercise was surprisingly accurate in its output and insights, very valu[able] to me. Additionally, the Vision-Mission-Goals exercise was challenging, and Dominic pushed me in the right way to create a high value product, which resulted from his coaching.
“I have no real suggestions, just very positive impact this work with Dominic had for me. If I had been employed, this would have been a positive exercise. As the jumping off point of beginning my search work with Barrett, this time spent working with Dominic was exceptional.” (Chip Stokes, January 2019)
So perhaps it’s time you had a good talk with yourself about your career and finally gave it the attention it deserves. And if you really want results, why not go a step further and give us a call here at the Barrett Group?