Career Building: What’s in Your Value Journal?

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If you’re looking to build a resume or even a career, you might find it helpful to start a Value Journal. You may be puzzled and ask next, “What’s a Value Journal?” If you’re familiar with a Gratitude Journal for keeping daily reminders of what you appreciate most, you’ve got the concept down. The Value Journal serves a similar role to remind you of the value you bring to your job and employer.

When I work with clients, who are choosing a career path or looking for a new job, their resume is usually filled with a list of roles and responsibilities. Employers are less interested in what you’ve been assigned to do and more eager to know what you did, what impact you had, and what value you brought. They anticipate you will bring that same mindset and competencies, which will add value in the job they’re wanting to fill. Start a Value Journal and capture the rich examples of why a company should hire you.

Some may say this concept might work for professional jobs but not for hourly paid positions. I’ve seen it successfully applied to any job, because employers are looking for employee value at every level. Below are hypothetical, yet realistic, examples that you might find written in the Value Journal of a Denny’s Restaurant server:

  • Greeted 100 customers with a smile and asked how their day was going. Five people commented how wonderful the service was and how their day was brightened by my smile and cheerful attitude.
  • Stayed beyond my scheduled shift to cover for a sick coworker, which relieved stress on management and other servers—creating a more pleasant customer and employee experience.
  • Learned the process of closing out/balancing the cash register which expanded my skills and made me more versatile.
  • Showed up 15 minutes before my scheduled shift and punched in early at my supervisor’s request as the restaurant was short-handed. He said my ongoing dependability was recognized and appreciated by management.

Some clients have difficulty pulling out this type of information and concisely wording their competencies and value on a resume. Many find it difficult to think in the value dimension. How do you get your mind to think in terms of value? Start a My Value Journal. Spend 10 minutes every day listing the value you contributed to someone or a business through your decisions and actions.

Not only will you have data and concrete examples to create a stellar resume, you’ll have a more confident mindset for job interviewing. If you’re looking to create a powerful resume or LinkedIn profile, sign up for a Best Practices session or an individual Value Extraction session to pull out the powerful content for your resume or business social media platform.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

What Role Do Men Have in Women’s Movements?

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Today’s business world flutters with the buzzword of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). Based on my career experience as a female chemical engineer coming of age in the early 1980’s, I have a few thoughts on this topic. Today’s D&I movement is gaining momentum, likely due to the MeToo movement, and I’m thankful some attention has been directed toward this issue. D&I affects everyone—men, women, and people of all ages and ethnicities; however, I’m not convinced we’re solving the problem, because we’re not including the right people in the conversation.

What I see in many male-dominated industries is the formation of all-female groups chartered to bring awareness, support, and advancement of more qualified women at all levels. This single approach appears not to fully embrace diversity and inclusion, because its gender stratification creates silos of women within a predominantly male population. I believe these all-women groups have the best intentions and do provide internal support for its members, yet likely they have minimal impact in changing the status quo.

Human studies show people don’t care as much or are as committed to a cause if they aren’t invited to participate and included in the dialogue. Men are a vital part of growing D&I in male-dominated industries, because they can be called upon to make changes through their decisions as opposed to watching all-female groups from the sidelines who are grappling with this initiative.

If you’re part of an all-female group wanting to hold greater presence and power in a predominantly all-male industry, I encourage you to invite men into your organization. Ask for their support. Ask men to contribute in measurable ways. Challenge them to be part of the change. Don’t hold one more meeting without experiencing what men can and want to contribute to your cause.

What happens when you turn away men’s support? I share a male colleague’s story regarding his experience with D&I. Joe [not his real name] works in a male-dominated industry. Sanctioned by the national industry association, a local women’s chapter was formed with the purpose of advancing and promoting women in his industry. Joe learned of an upcoming chapter lunch and assumed anyone was welcome. He re-scheduled a few meetings to attend this lunch. At the last minute, he asked for the location details and was told he was not allowed to attend, because it was for women only. This women’s group lost out, because Joe’s stature in the industry would have given its charter credibility and influence. Joe was turned away.

How successful do you believe this women’s chapter will be in advancing its charter? My guess is it will struggle to get traction and may eventually morph into a women’s social networking group as opposed as to a force to create change. I encourage women’s groups to practice inclusion and diversity in order to live out what they seek out.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Are You Living Your Authentic Life and Loving It?

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What concerns me as a life coach is how many people value themselves based on the world’s definition of success. They pursue careers and jobs hoping for status, approval, and wealth, as if these rewards will fulfill them and make them happy. I also know people who married into wealth instead of pursuing purpose—easy access to the world’s envy.

People join the “right” clubs, pursue the “in” thing, climb the social register, and support the prevailing majority, even if their beliefs and desires aren’t aligned with their choices. Understandably, certain pursuits aren’t necessarily free choice but the result of coercion—relenting to the pressure of well-meaning family and social groups. However, I’ve found the happiest people are those who live authentic lives that align with their core values and what they enjoy the most, even when it goes against the world’s definition of success.

Forewarned, happiness doesn’t come without its struggles and sacrifices. Everyone has to wrestle with the definition of success that was culturized since birth. The happiest people tend to value comfort in their own skin over what the world defines as success. In many ways, you might consider them pioneers of a fulfilled life. They tell the world to go on without them as they are forging their own path through the wilderness.

I’ve not been immune to the pressures of this world, and I wouldn’t be on the pioneer path without my earlier life experiences. As I climbed the corporate ladder, I got a calling on my life to help others be successful—hence my role as a leadership coach. Although I make a fraction of what I earned as a vice president in a chemical company, I love what I do and just smile at friends and family who don’t understand how I could give up the status and income.

And then there’s my daughter with whom I’m most proud. As a parent, I can honestly admit my concern about a few decisions she made such as only pursuing an associate degree in veterinarian technology. I wanted her to go to a 4-year college and make decisions that aligned more with the traditional definition of success. I eventually realized she is the author of her own life story and appreciate her somewhat unconventional spirit. She struggles like the rest of us, and I applaud that she is real and purposefully pursuing use of her gifts while she makes her way in the adult world.

Life can be overwhelmingly hard at times. Even when you’re hating what you are going through, you can love that you’re living it authentically. Are you living your authentic life and loving it? If so, you are a pioneer of a life well lived!


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, and financial coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Sales Negotiation: How to Close the Deal

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If you’ve read Sales Negotiation: Set Yourself Up for Success and Sales Negotiation: Action Strategies, you should have some powerful tools to successfully negotiate your next contract or purchase. However, the best negotiators don’t stop when the handshake closes the deal. They leave the other party feeling like he or she was a strong negotiator who got the best deal out of you.

Have you ever negotiated for a souvenir in a third world market and wondered whether the seller would have taken less than you paid even though you were comfortable with the price you paid? People want validation that they made a wise decision regardless of its price. It doesn’t matter whether the item was a trinket or a car. This human need drives many people to continue comparison shopping after they’ve agreed to a deal and can’t back out.

As a best-in-class negotiator, you want the other party to believe he or she struck a good deal and that you wouldn’t have settled for anything less. Why should this be a priority? You never know when you might have to negotiate with them again, and besides, it’s just the right thing to do—leaving them with peace and confidence in the outcome. Below are a few remarks you can share when you ink the deal.

  • I’m glad we could strike a deal. I have to say that you’re one of the toughest negotiators I’ve dealt with in a long time.
  • You negotiated well. I wasn’t planning on giving away so much.
  • You drove a hard bargain. I hope I don’t have to negotiate with you again.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Sales Negotiation: Action Strategies

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Few want to play a game they have no chance of winning, and the same concept holds true for negotiating. Most people dread situations that require them to negotiate for a salary or even a purchase; hence, the opportunity for the likes of Saturn, the car manufacturer, to successfully enter the car market by offering a firm sticker price.

For those who find themselves unable to avoid negotiation, don’t fret, because you can improve their negotiation skills—perhaps to the point you believe negotiating is fun. I share some strategies for when you find yourself in the thick of it.

Key Negotiation Strategies

In the business world, negotiation is about finding common ground that is acceptable to both parties. I have a lawyer friend who once said, “A good deal is when both parties strike a deal in which each is just mildly disgruntled with the outcome.” I interpreted this to mean both got most of what they wanted but wished they’d gotten more. If you want to strike a deal and get more, keep these strategies in mind.

  1. Check your bravado and intelligence at the door. This is code for play dumb, so the other party underestimates you and comes to the negotiating table less prepared. Have you read Sales Negotiation: Set Yourself Up for Success?
  2. Always agree with people. Agreement always keeps the negotiation moving and allows you the opportunity to redirect the discussion toward what you want. For example, you are a new car salesman and have explicit instructions not to sell a car for less than $30,000. You have an interested buyer who tells you he can’t pay a penny more than $28,000. What do you say? Instead of responding, “Sorry, but I couldn’t possibly sell it for less than $30,000,” you might consider saying, “Since you are interested in the car, I’m motivated to find a way to get you into the car today at a price you are comfortable and can afford.” This can be followed with a series of questions that allows one to understand why the limit and how to work around it with other options such as lease, car trade-in, extended payment terms, etc. You want to avoid putting the other party on the defensive.
  3. Flinch at the first offer. When people are put into the position of making the first offer, they are attuned to watch for a reaction as a means of gauging whether their offer was good or not so good. Regardless of whether the offer meets your expectations, make sure you flinch—indicating that it is far from what you expected. This signal of your body language will notify the other party he or she must come lower if you’re going to make a deal.
  4. Position yourself to account to a higher authority. Most salespeople want permission to negotiate a deal from beginning to end without having to check back with management. Although you may have the skills to negotiate the best deal, you shouldn’t underestimate the value in saying, “I’ll have to go back and check with my manager. I’m not sure he’ll agree with it, but I will fight for you.” Indicating you need to check in with leadership puts more pressure on the other party to concede and allows you to play the infamous good cop/bad. Taking a pause also helps you gain perspective before continuing the negotiations.

I know some people who seem to negotiate everything. Negotiation is not for every situation. As a servant leader, I frequently give away what I could have easily negotiated. I think of it as an offering of good will and relationship building. Because these strategies are powerful, the best leaders know when to hold them and when to fold them.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Salary Negotiation: How to Avoid Divulging Your Current Salary

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Although I recognize that some employers and employees take advantage of each other, I’m passionate about fair pay for fair work. In the case of fair pay, the negotiating advantage usually goes to businesses, because they routinely have access to knowledge that employees don’t such as (1) what others in the organization are paid for similar work and (2) industry compensation data. Hence, it’s no surprise that many of my career coaching clients are anxious and frustrated by the thought of negotiating a salary with a new employer. They dread the thought of being asked what they currently make, believing their current salary shouldn’t have any bearing on what the new employer offers and unsure how to handle that question.

Although company culture, benefits, career advancement, commute, working from home options, and other attributes factor into a decision to join a new company, most employers try to offer prospects just enough pay increase to entice them to resign and work for them. Over the years, the workforce has come to expect offers that are 10-15% more than what a candidate currently makes regardless of whether he is underpaid for his given responsibilities and performance.

During the hiring process, prospective employers are keen to understand the current salary of job applicants in order to shape their offers. Although I understand businesses are driven to minimize labor costs, I believe it’s short-sighted to underpay candidates, who may take the job out of necessity and still feel taken advantage of.  For candidates who don’t want to divulge their salary, there are conversation strategies that can help.

Salary Expectation Conversation

Employer: “What salary are you expecting for this job?”

Candidate: “I’m only expecting to be competitively paid for the job responsibilities? What range have you earmarked for this position?”

Employer: “We have some flexibility for the right candidate. What do you make today?’

Candidate: “I’m seriously interested in the position and glad to hear you have flexibility. I don’t have access to the most recent competitive salaries like you do, so what range are you prepared to offer for the right candidate?”

Or how about ….

Salary Offer Conversation

Employer: “How much are you currently making?”

Candidate: “I’m curious. Why do you need this information?”

Employer: “We need the information, so we can make you a job offer?”

Candidate: “I’m confused how my current salary is relevant to the compensation for this job? I’d welcome an offer. What are you be willing to pay for the job responsibilities and performance criteria we discussed?”

You’ll notice in both scenarios that the candidate answered each question with a question. These two conversations can be difficult for candidates, who don’t believe they hold power in the negotiation. Don’t be fooled. Businesses are desperate for good talent. If you know you are a performer, you hold more power at the negotiating table than you might think.

If you’d like to strategize on a salary negotiation for a new position or more pay for additional responsibilities at your current company, let’s schedule a coaching session. You can reach out to me at 281.793.3741 or coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Coaching: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

With the holidays around the corner, are you struggling with finding a meaningful gift for someone you care about? Are you a manager who is looking to reward someone on your team? Or perhaps, you want to invest in someone who has potential and needs a confidential partner to take their performance to the next level. These are all valuable reasons to consider giving a gift certificate for coaching.

Gift certificate VISTA frontWhereas other gifts get used up, worn out, broken, lost, or become unfashionable, a coaching gift certificate allows the recipient to explore and positively move forward in an area of life he or she wants to address with a trusted, knowledgeable partner. If work, relationships, or financial coaching is not of interest, certificates can be used for Resume Best Practices and Powerful LinkedIn Profiles sessions. Everyone who has taken one of these sessions has come away with useful information to create a powerful resume and LinkedIn profile.

I have a mission to make coaching affordable, so people can be the best version of themselves. Let’s have a conversation and get a gift certificate into the hands of someone you care about.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon, The People’s Coach, is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com

Sales Negotiation: Set Yourself Up for Success

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The 80/20 rules applies to many situations and negotiation may be no exception. Sales negotiation can be thought of as a three-step process: (1) preparation, (2) engagement, and (3) deal agreement. Some people may say that 80% of negotiation success is in the preparation, which may or may not be overstated. However, it does beg the question: what are you doing to set yourself for success before going into a negotiation?

Key Negotiation Prep Factors

Although the objective of a negotiation should be to reach a win-win, it pays to be smart, and smart usually means being prepared. In my business tenure, I’ve negotiated long-term deals that were worth hundreds of millions of dollars, so I know a few things about negotiating, including some learned the hard way—through the experience of trial and error. I do believe success is heavily influenced by the degree of preparation and a few of my favorite preps include:

  1. Be prepared to walk away. The only way that most negotiators are prepared to walk away is if they know their drop-dead minimum and why it’s their drop-dead. Is it margin, risk, or some other variable? What’s the alternative value of the resources or asset utilization? Many people think they have a minimum position, but when the negotiating gets intense, the minimum usually moves to a lower position. When negotiators have thoroughly thought out their position, the minimum doesn’t move, and it becomes easier to confidently walk away.
  2. Brainstorm things to offer and concede. When entering into a negotiation, people aren’t necessarily wanting the same thing nor assigning the same priority to certain items. Knowing that a negotiation will likely mean trading off and giving positions to the other party, a savvy negotiator will make a list of things to ask for that can easily be conceded, because they don’t hold much value.
  3. Position yourself so you don’t make the first offer. The party that makes the first offer takes on more risk of leaving value on the table. Is the first offer significantly below what the other party was willing to pay? On the other hand, if the first offerer asks for too much, he could position himself out of the negotiation. Always think of a strategy and questions to ask that will get the other party to make the first offer. If asked to make the first offer, an experienced negotiator will answer with a question that puts the other into a position of offering first.

Many people are at least slightly intimidated by the negotiating process. What many don’t realize is they are negotiating daily with their coworkers, boss, family, friends, and kids. Any time you got your way, you negotiated. Negotiation is a skill and just like a muscle can be strengthened when intentionally exercised.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Why You Should Hire a Coaching Facilitator

Team facilitatorCoaching facilitators earn their position on the team. If you don’t have a coaching facilitator, you could be throwing money away on wasted employee hours, missed opportunities, and drawn out decision-making. When you don’t have a coaching facilitator who can float among departments or project teams, you may be missing out on one of the most powerful resources that can extract and optimize the best from your teams. Coaching facilitators add value by:

  1. Ensuring teams have clear objectives and goals
  2. Aligning and maximizing use of team resources
  3. Achieving clarity on member roles and responsibilities
  4. Preparing team meeting agendas
  5. Keeping the team on point, on task, and on time
  6. Asking challenging questions of the team
  7. Guiding the team through brainstorming processes
  8. Building team consensus
  9. Capturing and documenting meeting summaries and deliverables
  10. Holding team members accountable for performance

Some people haven’t had the opportunity to work on well facilitated teams. When teams work with a coaching facilitator, they exponentially grow their impact and enjoy the process. Coaches are also able to train others in the organization with these key facilitator skills. Reach out to learn how a coach facilitator can help your team before better.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Where Are Your Best Conversations?

ConversationsYou’ve likely heard the real estate advice that the three most important factors in deciding which home to buy are location, location, and location. In Bob Goff’s book Everybody Always he discusses the impact that location can have on the quality of our conversations with people. He asserts that “location drives content, [and] if you have the right conversation at the right place, you just had the right conversation” (Goff, 2018, p. 182).

Reflecting on this concept, perhaps I should emphasize more the location where I coach, do ministry, and have work-related conversations. Perhaps I should be as choosy in where I have a conversation as I am on what we plan to discuss. Location can calm or excite, stimulate creativity, or increase nervousness. Next time you plan a meeting or conversation, select a location that supports what you want to achieve. If you’re limited on venues, how else could you change the environment to make it more conducive to the conversation?

I know a salesman who loves to bring a variety of ice creams to his customer meetings held in formal conference rooms when he wants to break the ice and have fun. He stores a freezer bag in his trunk and stops at the local grocery store to pick up Nutty Buddies, Klondike bars, and Good Humor variety packs. He delights when his customers struggle on what colorful ice cream goodie they want and reminisce about the last time they had a Strawberry Shortcake on a stick as they lick their ice cream. You get the picture. He has everyone sharing stories and smiling—creating connection in the room—countering the formalness of the location.

Bob Goff has a lot of creative conversations, so where do you think he holds office hours? Read the book and find out.

Reference

Goff, B. (2018). Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, and financial coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.