Archive: March, 2014

Post from Transformation Tom- Get to Know the People You Work With: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - March 28, 2014 - Leadership, News
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get to know people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are far more people I have managed whose names I can’t
remember than people whose names I can. Besides having a poor memory
with names (I’m working on it), the key driver is the fact that I did a
poor job early in my career of getting to know the people I worked with
as real people. I knew them as employees. I knew their statistics, the way
a baseball manager might know his players. I knew their tendencies. I
knew their strengths, and their potential to improve.

As I changed teams or people came and went, I would pick up on the
statistics and begin the exercise to get to know the new numbers. I had
failed to truly get to know the people I worked with. I once had a senior
leader say, “Us being friends is merely a convenience.” He meant that our
personal relationship was not important. Since I had heard this prior to
being a manager, I took it seriously and was self-driven to find my way to
get to the next level. Once I became a manager, I steamrolled through the
people I worked with to drive them to maximize their statistics the way I
had when I was in their shoes just a few months before.

I did not get to know the people who worked for me at a personal
level. As their manager, I was missing part of each of my employees’ stories.
If I had learned the value of knowing the personal side of people
early in my manager experience, I would have known what makes a person
tick. I could have adapted my feedback to better meet their style, gain
more buy-in, and probably gain their respect. We would have had more
to talk about and I could have built up our relationship. Instead, we simply
talked statistics and I would ask, “How was your weekend?”, although
I really didn’t want a real answer to the question. I was missing a chance
to become a more effective leader and, more importantly, I was missing
a chance to get to know the people to build a lasting relationship that
would assist in everyone’s growth—mine included.

I have matured enough to learn to get to know the people I work
with better. We have personal conversations. I ask pointed questions
about their pets, kids, or spouse. I remember things better because I have
been more engaged in the conversation. I like the people better, because
I actually know them. I had gone too long being professionally driven. I
was given the unfortunate advice, “We do not have to be friends to succeed.”
I didn’t go to work to make best friends. However, we all need relationships
in our lives. If you nurture these relationships, everyone wins.
If you happen to get a good friend out of the deal, then you will be better
off. If you happen to only strengthen a working relationship, then the
organization and both individuals are still better off.

Leaders flexible enough to tailor their styles to each individual’s drivers
and motivators are an asset to any company. I am now in a much
better position to motivate the people who work with me because I
understand what inspires them to come to work each day. In fact, many
times, I simply ask the question, “Why do you come to work every day?”
There is nothing like getting straight to the point. Now, I know whether
the person is working because of family, pride, money, promotions, or
simply a pat on the back.

 

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Avoid Side Comments—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide”

Posted by tomdowd - March 21, 2014 - News
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ancillary

 

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“From Fear to Success” Audiobook= Avoid Side Comments

 

Avoid side comments that may detract from your presentation.
Any comment not specific to your message takes attention away from
what you are trying to accomplish as a speaker. To an audience member,
side comments may be seen as a potential loss of focus, attention
given to someone or something that doesn’t need it, or a lack of confidence.

Let me give some examples:
Loss of focus: Asking someone to get the lights or asking, “Is my
microphone working?” can become your unintended introduction
once everyone is settled.
Lack of preparation: Asking if everyone received the packet of
information handed out may give an indication of a lack of preparation.
Why weren’t these packets handed out before the presentation? I
have learned that people will most often ask for something if they did
not get it.
Misdirected attention: When someone comes in late and you
acknowledge that person it takes away from the guests who were there
on time.
Lack of confidence or lost credibility: Avoid telling the world that
you lack confidence and avoid giving any indication that can lose your
audience’s trust. You can instantly lose credibility by saying that you
are nervous, that you are not ready, that this isn’t your line of expertise,
that you didn’t have much time to prepare, that you are long-winded,
that the audience may be bored with a section of the presentation, and
many other comments. All of these are real examples that are heard
often, especially with less-experienced speakers. If any of the previously
mentioned excuses are accurate, rally through them and don’t
announce them. More importantly, do all of the practice and preparation
possible to avoid the need to make side comments in the first
place.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

 

Post from Transformation Tom- Surround Yourself With Pictures: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - March 14, 2014 - Leadership, News
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picture collage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I once went to a work seminar on organization. One of the suggestions
the instructor made was to not have any pictures around you. The premise
was that the pictures can cause distractions. Since this class took place
during my first few months of being a manager, I took it seriously. I even
mentioned the concept to people who had pictures on their desks and
suggested they remove them. I didn’t win a whole lot of points with these
suggestions, but I did practice what I preached. I spent years with a desk
devoid of pictures because I didn’t want to be distracted. For the most
part, I didn’t feel distracted, so I reasoned that it must be working. What
I failed to realize at the time was that I was not married, did not have any
pets, or children, so I was not actively looking to put too many pictures
on my desk anyway. I was fully dedicated to the company.

About five years later, I got married. I had the first picture dilemma.
Did I put a picture of my wife up on my desk? She was beautiful and
special, and I couldn’t resist. I was going to take the chance and see if I
truly was distracted. We got a black Lab to add to the family. One of my
favorite pictures of all time came a couple years later. It was a picture of
my first born daughter in a tide pool with our dog looking over her. My
family grew over the next few years with two more beautiful daughters
entering my life. I never stopped putting pictures up of my family and
dogs, pictures of celebrated work events, and friends.

I had motivation. I had people to work hard for and support. I could
look at their pictures and see a smile when I was having a bad day. When
I needed advice, I could look toward my wife’s picture and know exactly
what she would think and suggest (I did not, however, get to the point
of talking to my pictures). I never felt distracted once. I felt moved and
driven to push harder to make sure they all had what they needed from
me. The harder and smarter I worked, the more I could provide for them.
As the years have gone on, I see my babies growing up into young ladies.
These young ladies will grow up to become adults someday and be successful
in whatever their hearts desire. I know I can’t stop now. The pictures
show me how quickly they grow and change and keep me motivated
every day.

Although it took years for me to figure it out, pictures add a new
dimension to my work space. They bring the comfort of home, and lend
familiarity and stability when you might need it most. Surround yourself
with pictures of good times with family and friends. I was given a
digital frame and immediately loaded it with over one thousand photos.
I periodically turn around and chuckle when I see a picture flash up that
brings back great memories. The pictures don’t distract me. The pictures
motivate me because they are of the people who mean the most to me.

 

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Don’t Talk about Your Bad Day—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide”

Posted by tomdowd - March 7, 2014 - Leadership, News
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Bad day

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From Fear to Success” Audiobook= Don’t Talk About Your Bad Day

 

We have all had bad days, whether we are not feeling so hot,
didn’t sleep well, or forgot to pick up the bread our significant other
asked for (sorry, honey). These days happen. However, in the publicspeaking
forum, your audience most likely doesn’t care. In fact, you
are giving your credibility a backseat to the messages you want to send
if you start your presentation with, “Please give me sympathy, or at
least understand that I’m not giving you my ‘A’ game.” You shouldn’t
announce it or even show it in your non-verbal cues. You can’t afford
to lose your audience. Never start a speech with an apology. Make the
effort to muscle through whatever it is and set a better tone right from
the beginning. You may be surprised to find that the audience’s energy,
which you are helping to create, may just solve whatever problem you
were having anyway.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Acknowledgements: Chapter from “Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job”

Posted by tomdowd - March 7, 2014 - News
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acknowledgement

This book is a reference guide for anyone dealing with unemployment,
whether you may be out of work yourself or you know someone going
through this massive life change. One of the comments that hit home for
me was from a former colleague who said, “It’s a lot easier dispensing advice
on how to find a job when you already have one.” That may be true in many
cases, but I was writing this book as I was going through the unemployment
process. I wanted the immediate teachings to hit the paper in order
to ensure that all the mistakes I made or heard about during the process
were documented. I liked the realism of the statement above and learned
to appreciate what people sacrificed to move me ever closer to the job I
was seeking. I preferred practical advice rather than the countless times I
heard a version of, “Every time a door closes, a window opens.” I say this
not with mock contempt or a lack of appreciation for the sentiments, but
I would get an awkward feeling that people were feeling sorry for me. I
wanted movement in my pursuit of a new job—not sympathy. I wanted
and needed to take action to achieve this goal; I had no time or energy to
waste. Paradoxically, the window comments ultimately did come true. For
those who said it or thought it, thank you from the bottom of my heart for
teaching me another lesson. I wasn’t simply getting sympathy. I was getting
the support I required to move me forward on this journey.

I want to acknowledge my family, friends, and colleagues who never
lost faith or confidence; the people who believed me when I told them I
wasn’t worried. I meant that. I wasn’t worried, not even a little. As mentioned
in the introduction, it wasn’t overconfidence. It was a belief in
my ironclad network. Besides, if I couldn’t believe in myself, why should
anyone else? I want to thank Kim Mitchell, who said immediately after
I heard the news, “I’m only worried about you for the next two hours.”
Meaning, the tone and attitude for the next couple of hours would influence
decisions, next steps, and my approach for the long haul. She
was right to ensure that my head was on straight and that I was laser-focused
on my goals. I made the choice to not even leave the parking lot
before the road to my new job began. I placed a phone call to a fellow
Toastmaster member of a local club that I was coaching. I heard they
had a training manager opening. Thus, the search began. After I finished
the call in the parking lot, I moved a couple of thousand feet up the
road and walked into the office of a company managed by a former boss
where my skill set could potentially be used. As I saw it, I could wallow
in sorrow and angst, or I could make the effort to resolve this little bump
in the road.

When I got home on the evening of June 6th, I sat down with my children
and said, “My job going forward is to find a job. I promise to put as
much passion, energy, and commitment into this job as I have for the last
twenty-plus years.” I held myself accountable to make sure my kids had
as much confidence in me as I did. Thank you to my children for never
questioning those words.

I want to thank everyone who responded back to an email, phone call,
or conversation, even when they felt they weren’t helping. Some people
said that they had no openings and would keep my information on record—
and actually did, as I continued to get leads months after the fact.
Thank you for following through and giving me hope and opportunities.
My sincere appreciation goes out to the people who gave me valuable
advice that provided me with the confidence to go through this
potentially stressful situation, even if that advice came years before. I
will hold on to their wisdom forever. In no particular order since every
piece of it was valuable, thank you to: Steve Crawford, Jeff Schmidt,
Erin Dymowski, Steve Dymowski, Christine Duffy, Nichole Kelley-
Sirois, Greg Sirois, David O’Connell, Everett Berger, Frank McKelvey,
Sherry Reid, Neal Williamson, Dick Jacobs, Chip Rossi, Steven Cohen,
Dave Ciullo, Mary LaFontaine, John Brubaker, Wende Stambaugh, Joy
Bollinger, Leslie Johnson, Gregg Davis, Joe Claricurzio, Carmen (Felix)
Garte, Joe Grondin, Sandra Hachey, Beth Hennessy, Joni Lindstrom, Jim
Kokocki, Wendy Harding, Cynthia Martin, Wayne Mercer, Deb Nowak,
Nita Pital, Kishore Sashthiri, Augie Schau, Hilary Schau, Kristine Smith,
Cynthia Wheeler, Donna Tutty, Jo-Anne Walton, Jasen Wood, Lori
Wood, Adria Minevich, Jeanne Gallagher, Lynne Snow, Trevor Koenig,
Ted Dwyer, Tami Chester, Jeneen Marziani, Karen Salisbury, Anne Casey,
Amy Vitale, Navroze Eduljee, Julia Caslin, Alfred Manganiello, John
Echternach, Shelley Waite, Todd Beacham, Michael Quinn, Joan Pappas,
Patrick Strieck, Noreen Dow, Parker Chamberlin, Beth Chamberlin,
Amy Perkins, Michelle Chung, Brett Lerner, Robyn Reisinger, Kevin
Burns, Mike D’Andrade, Joe Hickey, Frank Cerullo, Maria Harris,
Robin Chacon, Kathy Bernath, Shane Flynn, Jim McGowan, Heather
Bentley, Jeff Nathan, Kristi Christman, Rich Wagenknecht, Don Danese,
Vin Contento, Marie Drouet, Gwen Ellis, Jim Kane, Monal Pathak,
Robert Hayes, Christine Channels, Eric Inkrott, Chrisine Comune, Karl
Andersen, Mary Jo Anderson, Lori Macchi, Katy Emmi, Scott Macchi,
Jarett (J) Isralow, Bill Bowlsbey, Chris Cusack, Mike Kinane, Tom Cyr,
Elizabeth Hamilton, David Hamilton, David Berez, Kim Devlin, Blanca
De La Rosa, Jeff Dobbs, Mark Pearce, Luke Donaldson, Dave Edelson,
Jenn Ehresman, Danny Bader, Chris Hogan, Nadine Stillmunks, Mike
Battagliese, Krista Wrona, John Caruccio, Jamie Danner, Jim Biniasz,
Ed Hawthorne, Dina Kanabar, Marshall Bonaquisti, Devin Farmer,
Jill Engel, Ryan Conner, Michael Curtis, Branan Cooper, Christine
Costagliola, Steve Stark, Mignona Cote, Shawn Harris, Scott Bailer, Mark
O’Donal, Karma O’Donal, Doug DeSimone, Ryan Cobb, Shawn Leger,
Kelly Cahill, Terrence Cahill, Steve Ryder, Kris Rosado, Steve Bescript,
Paul Mosley, Barry Baird, Bob Shiflet, Jessica Andrews, Bob Lamantia, Josh
Reitzes, Patrick Rockenbach, Michelle Zander-Brown, Darryl Fincher, Rob
Cochran, Brad Dunckel, Rich Coombs, Warren Butler, Tim Gayhardt,
Brian Burbage, Tewksbury Library, Lewiston (Maine) Career Center, J.V.
Fletcher Library, and to the countless others I may have inadvertently left
out.

To the people who provided recommendations when they were needed
and even when they weren’t, your words meant a lot. I am humbled
by the praise and appreciate the time and effort it took. Special thanks
to Christian Pieri, Tammy Wagenknecht, Greg Purinton-Brown, Louise
Nail, Pam Moyer, Bob Ferland, Joyce McPhetres, Dax Cummings, Jeff
Sargent, Heather Perkins, Carl Duivenvoorden, Elizabeth Cagnon, Wes
Strader, Tim Wescott, Corey Fogarty, Mark Foster, John Reddy, and
Sandy Cox.

From the very first “official” networking session with Ben Ryan, to
Ron Becker, Dan Chappell, Todd Cunningham, Ingrid Petrus, Ana Ness,
Janice McCreary, Annie Witthoefft, Pam Marsh, Jack Mahoney, John
DeSantis, Brian Gray, Sandy Wood, Russ Zusi, Mary Lynn MacKenzie,
Angel Birch, Karen Humphries, Ellen Schwartz, and many others, I am
appreciative of the invested time.

I want to send my thanks to my first set of eyes on the first version of
Displacement Day—Polly Hall, Hannah Tays, and Kathleen FitzGerald—
who turned the very rough first draft into a presentable manuscript. To
my editor Jen Blood, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Thanks for
bringing my words to life.

I’m indebted to social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn for making
the job search so much more bearable. I’m not sure how this process
was before these tools came along, but I’m thankful that I don’t have to
find out. I want to thank my old Toastmasters club in Belfast, Maine—
Dirigo—for their continuing support when I was no longer with the company,
and for my new Maine clubs in Bangor—Bangor Toastmasters—
and in Waterville and Augusta—Kennebec Valley Toastmasters—for being
so welcoming.

Finally, I want to thank the clients of Thomas Dowd Professional
Development & Coaching, LLC who could have easily questioned how
someone can teach people job-search techniques such as interviewing,
résumé writing, networking, and professional growth when he didn’t have
a job himself. You didn’t run away. Instead, you ran to me because you
knew I could empathize, and you gave me the credibility I was hoping for.
Thanks for recognizing the win-win situation.

 

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job, The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival),  From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby