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Lesson Learned: Pivotal Life Moment

What are you waiting for?

I will never forget the date – Tuesday April 26th.  It was 6:30am and we are at Pinnacle surgery center.  Our six-year-old daughter lays on a gurney with wires all over her little body.  The doctor enters our room and says, “we’re ready.”

We placed a kiss on her little forehead before they rolled her out of the room and down the hall.  Back out to the lobby.  There we sat, among other anxious parents, awaiting our names to be called, signifying the procedure was over.

I’ve never, ever experienced such a tense feeling; seconds passed more like hours.  Things were in slow motion but for the million thoughts racing through my head.  You could hear a pin drop in the waiting room.  It’s as if my mind had hit a pause button, freezing the moment in time.

Hourglass-time

Then an epiphany hit me like a freight train.  A quote from John Maxwell consumed my thought process – “Time is an equal opportunity employer; everybody gets 24 hours a day, no more, no less – but not everybody gets the same return on their 24 hours.”  How true this is.

Fortunately for us, our daughter’s surgery was minor and her results came back clear. The experience however, put us in deep reflection – for our own little family and the other families at the surgery center. We ought to be, must be, more mindful of how we prioritize (not manage) the precious gift of time.

Reflecting on this experience I realized how minor setbacks seemingly are big deals.  Then a “real” setback hits and reality sinks in.  Never wait for a low point to remind you of the great life you routinely live.  Always be grateful.  Savor the regular days – don’t wait for the irregular ones to reveal how lucky you have it.

Make today and everyday your masterpiece!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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OSHA doesn’t enforce psychological safety…

OSHA may not audit your organization’s psychological safety but you most definitely should!

This is psychology brainwhat makes teams succeed or fail.  It’s not member intellect, commonalities or diversity.  The dynamics of a team and the environment will vary but everyone must feel a sense of psychological safety.

What is this?

It is whether members feel they can trust each other, that honest conversations can take place without fear of retribution.

Each teammate must have a seat at the table and an equal voice.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not to be decision by consensus – each person does not have an equal vote.  An equal voice means that each teammate has opportunity to shape the greater team’s decisions and outcomes.

While this typically begins with the team leader, any teammate can take the reigns of psychological safety.  After all, as John C Maxwell once said, “The smallest crowd you will ever lead is YOU…but it’s the most important one.”  By demonstrating the above mentioned behaviors you can influence others on the team.  No matter your rank/title, think about what message your behavior might send.

Practice active listening…demonstrate sensitivity to what others think and feel…and harness self-awareness.  Pretty soon you will begin to witness psychological safety in action and the success of your team blossom!

Disclaimer: Psychological safety might be less efficient in thesafety short run (allowing everyone to weigh in) but it is far more productive in the long run (members will be committed to the group).  Remember, few worthwhile things in life come quickly.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Seeds of Spring Sprouting: Goal Trajectory

Sunshine on flowersIsn’t Spring great?

This is a magical stage of the year, abound with both external and internal transitions. Outside, landscapes become greener, days grow longer, and the air warmer.  Inside, our energy and optimism take bloom like buds on cherry trees.  Everything is growing!

Both figuratively and literally, seeds are starting to sprout. It is a period for nurturing and fostering things to come.  B.C. Forbes, founder of Forbes Magazine, nailed it when he said, “It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.”

Take his word, you better make haste in spring. Reflect on the goals you’ve previously planted in the year.  Identify whether or not your actions are indeed fertilization for their future achievement.  The decisions and actions you make now will become stepping stones for your future development.

Use this time of year to influence a positive change in your trajectory towards long-term success. After all, the ever-lengthening days of warmth and light, and all of nature’s responses to them, are obvious reminders to focus on growth. Be proactive in Spring so that you may reap harvest (achieving goals) in the Fall.

What is the current health of your goals? Are they taking root?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.  

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Emerging Workers Meet Dr. Sheldon Cooper

Manage emotional culture for survival and growth…

“Do what we tell you and get a paycheck, healthcare, and retirement bucks. Do that long enough and eventually you’ll tell others around here what to do: Maybe everyone.” Those are the rules, right? That’s what you learned from the punches, and battle-scars that the hardest work and sharpest focus invited on your trip toward the C-Suite.

Okay, maybe when you strip away the context, that’s a little Sheldon Cooper-ish. Sheldon Cooper? You know the Ph.D. from Big Bang Theory who’s floating in an Asperger bubble which deafens him to either his own or other people’s emotions. Dr. Cooper is a highly functioning autistic who’s immersion in a super-specialized field of interest obscures what drives other people.

dr-sheldon-cooper-quotes

Fact is, that model worked. It was a paradigm for enterprise cultures that prospered because they laser-focused upon serving markets by creating goods and services in return for gold. This revenue provided paychecks, healthcare, and retirement bucks.

So? What’s changed?

Employees are increasingly becoming a market that enterprises must also please. Otherwise they lose access to the STEM technicians and specialized management professionals who allow an enterprise to serve customers with their goods and services. As the labor markets have moved away from a demand from brawn to a necessity for brain… Well, Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s begun to realize that the emotional drives of his colleagues are now part of succeeding in the super-specialized field of interest which defines modern market competition.

Increasingly labor-force entrants with productive skills want something more out of a job and especially management.  Too quickly their appetites have been stereotyped by the Sheldon Cooper myopia of the past which dismisses these emerging workers as solely interested in trophies, instant gratification, or fast-tracking to the top. Their emotional cravings for flex-time, telecommuting, social significance, family time, interesting objectives, meaningful tasks, and continual feedback leave Sheldon Cooper cultures muttering… “These kids are good for nothing! They… they… don’t know the meaning of hard work!” Sound about right?

Shhhhh… Hear that? It’s the din of cultures clashing!

Look, the reality is not that younger generations are a challenge to hire and manage.  Instead, too many executive suites have the wrong core belief about managing emerging workers. And being wrong about that core belief means every subsequent decision only makes things worse because every decision is ultimately tied to that belief.

Successful enterprise cultures must evolve and adapt with the workforce or risk irrelevance.  After all, executives demand similar flexibility to the demands of their product markets, right? The reality is that the Millennials and Generation Y who characterize the emerging workforce are not the problem: Sheldon Cooper’s the problem.  Too many of us manage in a narrow tunnel walled off from the emotional culture we create.  Increasingly we must focus upon how employees feel: Yes, the emotional drivers.

Adaptive enterprise cultures are learning to identify, use, understand and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome internal challenges, and defuse conflicts. Succinctly, they learn to read their community’s signals and react appropriately to them. All of which are the components of effective EQ management. Meaning they are pricking the Sheldon Cooper Asperger bubble.  They’re synthesizing that traditional management driver with the aspirations of emerging workers. This for relevancy in a world that blurs self gratification on the job with gratifications from ideals, families, and self awareness.

Is this affordable? Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace Poll” found that 70% of the nation’s employees are disengaged at work.  They estimate that these disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion each year in lost productivity.  A “Global Workforce Study” by Towers Watson showed only 48% of employees report that their top management is doing a good job of providing effective leadership. In the face of those sorts of metrics, is the Sheldon model still affordable, particularly in a world of out-sourcing, and off-shoring? Is it cost-efficient in a world of market competition without borders?

This is not some soft kumbaya movement.  It’s real and the emerging workers are more mindful of it than most in today’s C suite.  It’s unfortunate given the critical importance of emotional culture that EQ is rarely managed if managed at all. Unfortunate since it influences soft measures like employee engagement but also the hard measures like retaining top talent and financial performance.

Most of us over thirty years of age have barely heard of emotional intelligence (EQ).  Raised in a Sheldon Cooper business culture we were never shown that feelings are primary drivers of behavior and thus we’ve ignored the drive of key emerging workers to shop for the employers who make deliberate attempts to harness this concept.  In the increasingly competitive market for high-productivity talent, enterprises need to grow attention to emotional intelligence (EQ) and its effect on both the front and bottom lines.

It starts at the top, the executive suite.  The old ways might still get you compliance but they will never let you maximize the productivity of focused attentions and commitment.  Disregarding the feelings of others makes employees insensitive and indifferent.  Which will permeate out to customers causing dominos to fall – turnover (employee and customer) creates a costly clatter.

Executives who invest in their EQ management are in fact investing in the overarching emotional culture of their company.  Their front line employees blossom out of happiness and pride rather than wilt from boredom and anxiety.  They perform to higher levels so the customers receive more positive experiences nurturing both profitability and growth.

EQ is the cure to Dr. Cooper’s management Asperger’s. Or at least it’s strategically dialing down the profit-distracting din of colliding cultures.

Article originally published in Lancaster Business2Business Magazine February 2016

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Get your psychological well-being on!

Well-beingEverybody wants and deserves a sense of relatedness in life. It is a human need, not something to be turned off or on between home and work.  Think about it.  You can’t divorce one from the other; the two worlds are dramatically interconnected.

Healthy relationships are fundamental to our success in life. When they are absent at work, our potential is limited.

Be mindful of the influence you have on your peers’ psychological well-being.  Make a conscious effort to facilitate a culture of connectedness.  I guarantee that doing so will bring joy to both yours and their personal and professional life.

Work should be a place where friendships are created; people can go home fulfilled, and they can inspire their friends/family.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Deliberate Practice vs. Experience

Deliberate PracticeHave you thought about where you want to be by years end? Do you know what you want to have achieved?

There are so many ways people differ from each other yet we all have ample paths to developing our own talents. First and foremost, we need a sense of urgency and possess an “I must do this” attitude.  When you do not have the right motivation and devotion, you risk putting off what you need to do to make your goal a reality.

The next best steps would be a mix of experience and practice. Simply put, you need both but one just happens over time while the other we have complete control over. I don’t know about you, but I’m not leaving my goal(s) to chance.  I’m taking the proactive route and carving out time to practice.

It should come as no surprise that the best method for “rapidly” accelerating our professional skills and reaching goal(s) is to practice. Unlike experience, this is full engagement in structured training activities designed to improve a particular aspect of our performance.  Whether it is recruiting, sales, and/or Customer Commitment; be deliberate about how you sharpen your skills.

Make this the year you seek out a supportive mentor, read books relevant to your goal(s), and proactively develop who you are as a person. Experience alone will only get us so far and the learning curve is a much slower pace.  Take control and be deliberate!

Think about how deliberate practice compares with what you’re doing now.  I bet there is a good chance you could be strengthening your talents in a far better way.  At the end of the year, what you really want to accomplish is capitalizing on who you currently are to become who you want to be.

 

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Are you feeling the holiday blues?

Feeling blueAdmittedly I have come down with the holiday blues and I know I’m not alone. My personal and professional schedules have me feeling over-stretched.  I am not getting much sleep.  I can’t rid myself of a nasty head cold.  Sound familiar?

Many of us are running a marathon around the holidays but at a sprint pace. Obviously this is not maintainable.  Doing so deteriorates both our mental and physical state.   As we reach this tipping point it is time to take back control.

How? The solution lies in our choice of perspective.

Imagine for a moment that you just exhausted hours of time and energy decorating the outside of your home (Think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation). Do you stand right in front of it or step back and take it all in?  This is choice of perspective!

When you start feeling frazzled by mounting commitments and daunting “to do” lists, step back and choose a different perspective. Look over the next month on your calendar.  Identify the true priorities.  Decide what can be rescheduled for a later time, and take things one step at a time.

By the time you read this message I hope to have lived up to my own advice. My calendar will be more manageable.  I will be enjoying good night’s sleep and no longer battling a head cold.

What perspective are you viewing things from today? Might there be one that will better serve you?  After all, the choice is yours…

Have a most joyous and memorable holiday season!

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Est. 1975 – 40 Years!

40 yearsIt all started back in 1975.

It began out of a one room office where husband and wife Jim F. Carchidi and Linda A. Carchidi started JFC Personnel, a permanent placement service.  Being a young married couple starting a family and a business; things were tough – real tough.  The duo had to make every penny count, every second count; and fortunately for us they did! 

It almost ended in 1997.

In 1997, the founders were approached by a publicly traded, big box staffing entity. This interested buyer offered a BIG payout. Ultimately Jim and Linda opted not to cash in on their offer. They realized that by accepting the deal office closures and layoffs would ensue. Husband and wife, Jim and Linda Carchidi, simply could not nor would not jeopardize the livelihood of their JFC work family.

So not only are the JFC Staffing Companies LOCAL but the founders are LOYAL – loyal to their family of employees, loyal to their customers and loyal to the communities which helped them turn their dream into a reality. 

Today.

Today we have a much larger work family spread across three niche recruiting companies with offices in Chambersburg, Carlisle, Camp Hill, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, and West Lawn.  

There is JFC Global with specialized recruiters who find hidden talent in the areas of Information Technology, Engineering and Account/Finance. JFC Medical who execute targeted talent search strategies for today’s healthcare practices and institutions. JFC Workforce with recruiters who deliver talent-on-demand in the areas of Office-Professional, Skilled Labor and light-industrial. 

The next chapter.

Our vision is to be a family business celebrated as a great place to work and where great people work in focused, high performance teams, setting and meeting goals, and constantly winning.  Where meaningful relationships translate into positive experiences. 

Life is too short not to have passion and purpose in the work that you do…

Throughout the course of our lives we will spend more time working than any other activity.  That dedication of time should improve our quality of life, rather than act as a weight that sucks the happiness out of us.

What we do here is BIG…we influence one of the most important aspects of people’s lives – how they earn their income.  Our contribution helps them pay their mortgage, feed their families, and purchase birthday presents for their children.  

The JFC Staffing Companies are in the business of connecting people. We aim to elevate individual careers and accelerate company growth through extraordinary levels of customer service and performance. The decision was made to be GREAT.  Providing positive experiences for our customers will be the driving force to our success and we are excited for the future!

To the hundreds of thousands of customers who put their trust in the JFC work family…we say…Thank you!

 

 

 

 

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What are you grateful for?

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

Studies in positive psychology show that when we deliberately promote gratitude it increases our well-being and happiness.  In addition, expression of it to others is directly linked with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.  Who wouldn’t want these results?

Recognize what you’re grateful for, acknowledge it, and appreciate it.  If you need some guidance here are several apps/websites that specialize in fostering gratitude:

  • ThankfulFor.com: A website to publicly post what you are grateful for. You also can set up a private online gratitude journal.
  • Gratitude Journal for iPhone, Gratitude Plus for iPad: encourage you to write at least five good things daily, add photos, and rate the day.
  • Red Stamp: This iOS app will send personalized cards and notes any way you like: email, text, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Claim responsibility for your own gratitude and become a catalyst for positive change in the lives of others.

Who will receive gratitude from you this holiday season?

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Is motivation a skill?

Motivation is indeed a skill and actually, you are motivated all of the time. Bubble people

Think of the last meeting you attended.  Aware of it or not, you went into it with certain feelings and beliefs – your outlook.  This decided the direction of motivation you chose.

Your outlook either motivated you to actively participate or to tune out altogether.  Thus, the real question is not “if” you are motivated but “why.” Here is where the magic happens.  The true nature of motivation is that we can learn to choose and create the intentions behind it; positive or negative.

Let’s say you chose positive intentions going into the meeting.  You went into the meeting motivated to actively participate, you learned something new – even helped a peer learn something new.

Now let’s reverse those intentions.  You went into the meeting motivated to disconnect from the conversation, you were close minded – even disruptive of other’s learning experience.

Which scenario was more beneficial to you; to others?  Hopefully you are connecting the dots.  A positive outlook leads to positive intentions, leads to positive motivation, leads to positive results.

Motivation is a skill and just like any other skill; it can be learned.  The real power is not in being motivated but in “why” we are motivated.  I challenge you to learn to choose and create optimal outlooks and intentions.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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