Category Archives: John Bradley Jackson

Two Part Time Paid Student Mentors Needed

Bryan Duncan gives a Science on a Sphere presentation at the Beautiful Earth (Bella Gaia) program for Middle school students from Annapolis Middle, Goddard French Immersion School. You might not be doing something as cool as teaching with holograms but you will definitely be making a difference in kids' lives. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Bill Hrybyk

Bryan Duncan gives a Science on a Sphere presentation at the Beautiful Earth (Bella Gaia) program for Middle school students from Annapolis Middle, Goddard French Immersion School.
You might not be doing something as cool as teaching with holograms but you will definitely be making a difference in kids’ lives.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Bill Hrybyk

The University has secured a grant which provides an after school program at 4 middle schools in Anaheim. This after school program will teach the children science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and the principles of entrepreneurship, which includes the lean startup philosophy.

We will need two CSUF Business students who will work 4-8 hours a week at the middle school with hours of approximately of 3 – 6 pm. This program begins in early October.

Please contact John Bradley Jackson at the Center for Entrepreneurship at jjackson@fullerton.edu or 657 278 8413.

This will look great on your resume! and it will pay $12.00 per hour.

flickr | NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

CSUF Wins $1 Million Grant to Fund STEM and Entrepreneurship Program for Middle School Students

NSF logoA collaboration between the California State University, Fullerton Colleges of Education, Engineering and Computer Sciences and the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics has netted a grant worth more than $1 million to teach and promote STEM and entrepreneurship to middle school students. According to CSUF News, the project is titled “Strategies: Science, Technology and Engineering Mini-Business Incubator” and its goal is to “[integrate] STEM study and entrepreneurship training to engage seventh- and eighth-graders, said Jidong Huang, associate professor of electrical engineering, who will direct the project. The project also will train science and mathematics teachers [on how] to integrate engineering and computer science concepts and practices in their classrooms.”

With funding from the National Science Foundation the central goal of this CSUF project is the promotion of STEM- and entrepreneurship-related curricula. The CSUF contingent of science, education and entrepreneurship professors are well on their way towards researching and designing an innovative after-school program for approximately 160 seventh and eighth grade students in the Anaheim area. This program will focus on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), lean startup and other entrepreneurial principles.

Led by Dr. Jidong Huang, an electrical engineering professor, the group of CSUF professors responsible for this project include: Dr. Amy Cox-Petersen from the College of Education, Dr. Pradeep Nair from Computer Engineering, and John Bradley Jackson, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and professor of Entrepreneurship. Dr. Diane Donnelly-Toscano will also make major contributions to this project as the representative from the Anaheim Union High School District. Continue reading

Why do so many Startups Fail – Podcast Discussion

Critical Mass for Business - PictureRecently, Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson joined a panel of businesspeople and academics to discuss why so many early stage companies fail. This is part of the Critical Mass for Business Radio Show Series and the participants included:

The audio for this show can be found here.

Patent Trolls in the 19th Century?

Sharks in Iowa?

As strange as it sounds, “patent trolls” are not just a 21st century problem. It turns out this type of predator was also present in the late 1800s. Back then the trolls were called “patent sharks” and they were just as crafty as present day patent trolls.

Circa 1860 the US Patent Office made a decision to loosen up patent standards for designs of farm implements: plows, grain cradles, pitchforks, etc. This policy decision was met with a flurry of inferior and non-specific patents which then opened the door for the patent sharks.

The patent sharks would travel to isolated farm communities and threaten the farmers who were using the farm tools with the oblique patents. A quick cash settlement would normally avoid court. Sound familiar? The farmers protested to the Feds but little happened for about a decade. Later the US Patent Office returned to the higher patent standards that existed prior to the Civil War.

Lessons for the 21st Century? A good patent is a specific patent.  The Federal Government ain’t so smart. The small business man (the farmer of today) is the best prey for the troll. Bad guys follow the money.

Want to learn more about how to protect your small business or start up from the Patent Trolls? Come join CSUF Entrepreneurship at our seminar called:

Patent Trolls and Other IP-Related Threats:
How to Protect Your Business from a New Kind of Predator

Presented by: The CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Center for Family Business

Date: Wed., January, 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m. (reception begins at 5:30 p.m.)
Location: Mihaylo College of Business and Economics
The O’Brien Center, Third Floor
800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fullerton.edu

How Entrepreneurial is Orange County?

John Bradley Jackson, Director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, reviewed the findings of a recent study about Entrepreneurship in Orange County. The presentation happened at the November 20, 2013 meeting of SCORE’s Orange County Chapter. The local SCORE chapter is the nation’s largest and most productive chapter of the SBA funded organization which is dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small business.

Jackson discussed how Orange County compares to other regions in the U.S. when viewed from a new venture perspective. Other regions studied include Silicon Valley, Route 128 in Boston and Austin.  He first reviewed small business in the USA and their significance to the economy; the home based businesses and the “solopreneurs” were cited as little known catalysts in our economic recovery.

  • 28 million small businesses in the US
  • Over 50% of the working population in a small business
  • 52% of all small businesses are home-based

Next he addressed the myth of the low survival rate of small businesses. Jackson said, “It is urban legend that most small businesses fail in the first two years.” He cited that following SBA data:

  • 70% of new ventures survive at least 2 years
  • 50% of new ventures survive at least 5 years
  • 33% of new ventures survive at least 10 years

Patent activity, a leading indicator of successful entrepreneurship is on the increase in OC. In 2012, there were 2,300 patents granted to Orange County inventors which was up 48% from 1,500 in 2007. This steady increase clearly reflects on the innovative culture found in Orange County.

In fact, the Kauffman Foundation, the leading entrepreneurship think tank, identified that that there 530 entrepreneurs per 100,000 Orange and Los Angeles County residents making it the 2nd most entrepreneurial region in the USA among similarly sized Metropolitan Statistical Areas.  The statistic factors new business starts, financial events, and other entrepreneurial factors into its rankings.

“Yet, Orange County is different than the other hotbeds of entrepreneurship. OC has an unusually high immigrant population, a very large number of small to medium sized businesses, a Low number of Fortune 1,000 headquartered firms, and a very large number of family businesses. All this makes for a thriving local economy but one with an overall lower number of IPOs and other capital events.”

Jackson theorized, “Orange County is ‘sticky’ which means that the businesses formed in OC grow and thrive but many remain privately held and passed on to the next generation.  So, is Orange County entrepreneurial?  Absolutely.”

 

Hunan University visits CSUF and FastStart.studio

A delegation of MBA students from Hunan University visited CSUF a couple of weeks ago. John Bradley Jackson, the Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and a Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton, delivered a seminar to our visitors focusing on the state of entrepreneurship in America, California and in Orange County as well. Here are a couple of the slides from that seminar:

During their visit, the Hunan University Delegation not only was able to visit the Cal State Fullerton main campus but they also had the change to visit a business incubator. Below are some pictures of their visit to CSUF and to FastStart.studio, the business incubator.

Professor JJ with visitors from Hunan University.

Owner of business incubator FastStart.studio, Michael Sawitz, giving a presentation to visitors from Hunan University.

Director Jackson, Michael Sawitz and delegation from Hunan University

BUAD 410 – Starting and Managing a Small Business

Most of the students who are reading this are probably business majors and, as business majors, I’m sure that your non-business major friends have asked you what it takes to run a business. You explain the basics to them as best you can but there’s no way you are able to go into enough depth to really help them. Starting now, you can tell your non-business major friends who want to know how to run a business that there is a class for them.

Starting in the Spring 2014 semester, CSUF will offer a class designed to help non-business majors learn how to run a business:

BUAD 410 – Starting and Managing a Professional Practice/Small Business

The purpose of this course is as follows:

BUAD 410 will introduce students to the fundamentals of starting and managing a professional practice / small business including:  planning, raising capital, using business information, managing employees, and marketing products and services. The course is oriented toward individuals who desire to start and operate a professional practice / small business. The class targets non-business majors who have an interest in starting their own professional practice or small business after graduation.

Students in this class will be exposed to the following elements:

  • Business Concept
  • Business Feasibility
  • Legal Issues
  • Marketing the practice of Small Business
  • Finance
  • Tax Issues
  • Managing Risk
  • The Business Plan

There are still a few openings left in this class for the upcoming Spring semester so make sure to sign up before it’s too late!

Junior or senior status is required to take this class. For more information about this class please contact Professor Jackson at 657-278-8413.

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Student learns about personal finances

Being financially literate isn’t something you are born into or passively acquire as you get older. It is something that you have to actively learn. And it’s better to start now then to wait until it’s too late.

Everyone knows that the literacy rate is not where it should be but people do not usually stop to consider the problems associated with a lack of financial literacy. Think about it, if you do not understand the differences between a savings account and a CD then you will probably be met with some financial difficulties in the future (to put it mildly).

Unfortunately, far too many people graduate from high school without even the slightest bit of training in this area (according to a recent study, only 14 states require courses on financial literacy to be taught at the high school level). Not preparing for the future can hamstring your life in so many ways and the longer you wait to do something the less impact it necessarily has. In our recent post, Why Your Twenties Matter, we showed that your twenties are crucial years in your life because, statistically speaking, the choices you make in your twenties have more of an impact on your personal, professional and financial lives.

For example, according to Bankrate.com, if you start investing $2,000 per year starting when you are 25 then you will have about $560,000 in the bank once you reach 65 (assuming an 8% rate of return). However, if you don’t start saving $2,000 per year until you are 35 then you will only end up with about $245,000 at 65 (assuming an 8% rate of return again).

So, what are we really talking about here? I think the best way to answer that question is by quoting PBS’ quality site on this subject:

The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy defines personal financial literacy as “the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.” (2008 Annual Report to the President)

Personal financial literacy is more than just being able to balance a checkbook, compare prices or get a job. It also includes skills like long-term vision and planning for the future, and the discipline to use those skills every day.

The PBS site is a repository of great information on the subject that can be useful to everyone. Within that site there are resources such as:

  • Help on planning for retirement
  • A wide array of financial calculators
  • Definitions of common words found in the financial sphere
  • There are even quizzes to test your absorption of the material

Another site you can look to for information on this subject is MyMoney.gov. From their site:

MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are buying a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k), the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you maximize your financial decisions. Throughout the site, you will find important information from more than 20 Federal agencies and Bureaus designed to help you make smart financial choices.

Recently, Center for Entrepreneurship Director and Professor John Bradley Jackson participated in a seminar hosted by the Center for Economic Education on campus to help people become more financially literate. Talking about how to formulate a business plan, Professor Jackson explained to those in attendance what the purpose of a business plan was, how to develop one and resources that they could use to help them in their business endeavors.

Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson lectures on the importance of business plans to a group of people who are hard at work improving their financial literacy skills.

Center for Economic Education Director Dr. Radha Bhattacharya oversaw a full slate of presentations like Director Jackson’s. “Teaching Economics,” “The Stock Market Game and Personal finance” and “Future Financial Life” were just three of the other presentations given through this day of financial literacy bolstering. If you would like to know when the next event like this is going to happen please follow the Center for Economic Education and the Center for Entrepreneurship as well.

Why Your Twenties Matter

Starting to make something out of your life in your twenties may seem like a daunting task but it would be even more so if you waited until your thirties to really start trying to make something out of your life.

Once upon a time it was typical for a college graduate to secure a high-paying job, buy a home, find your life partner and begin a family all by the time you were in your mid to late twenties. This bit of conventional wisdom seems to have expired about a decade ago.

Indeed, Millennials are keenly aware of the challenges associated with coming of age in the aftermath of the great recession of 2007. While difficult, this doesn’t mean you should spend your twenties twiddling your thumbs.

If you are “twenty-something” you face a different set of challenges than the preceding generation, but your twenties remain a pivotal point in your own timeline and its significance should not be underestimated. Early adulthood may feel inconsequential, but the decisions you make now will serve as the foundation upon which the rest your life is built, both personally and professionally. No pressure.

Thirty is not the new twenty. In her TED talk, Why 30 is not the new 20, clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay underscores the impact this period of early adulthood has on subsequent decades.

If you are having problems viewing this video click HERE.

You might not get married in your twenties but it’s highly probable that you’ll meet your future partner during this time. Moreover, you learn about yourself within the context of your relationships. The kinds of relationships you have as a twenty-something set the tone for future relationships. Dr. Jay suggests that, “The best time to work on your marriage is before you have one.”

The internships you take and the jobs you seek in your twenties can pave the way for future career opportunities. The experience you gain and the skills you acquire before you are thirty can propel your professional life forward. Envision your work life as an interconnected series of events with the past jobs and internships enabling future opportunities.

Twenty-somethings have many advantages in the new workplace. One is that you haven’t spent decades reinforcing poor working habits. Young adults generally have more stamina and more flexibility than older workers. Growing up as native PC users, Millennials greet new technology with a glee that older workers can only admire.

In this special decade of your twenties, it is up to you to make your own luck. Here are a few suggestions:

Discover your purpose. You are not on this planet by accident and it is your job to figure out what you must do. Once your purpose is found, go forward and live your life with intention.

Don’t follow the crowd. Celebrate your uniqueness regardless of what it might be. Successful people are remembered by their unique achievements and not for their sameness.

Network your brains out. The overwhelming majority of life’s most important opportunities are going to come from contacts with a couple degrees of separation. Don’t hesitate to expand your network by reaching out to someone with whom you share a mutual friend.

Consider the creation of your own personal board of directors. Made up of mentors who have skills and wisdom that you don’t have, these trusted advisers can give you feedback to keep you focused professionally and personally.

Make excellent work a ritual. Don’t settle for good; instead do work that others will admire.

Make good choices consistently. This may mean slowing down and avoiding impulsive decisions. Instead, consider the long term impact of your decisions on you and on others.

Journal or blog. Most successful people make a habit of writing about their feelings, goals and aspirations. The writing process helps make the possible real.

Time is not unlimited. Blink and you will be in your thirties. What are you doing now to invest in the person you want to be in ten years?

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fullerton.edu

[Photo: Tiger Lao]

Social Media Marketing in the United States

On Tuesday, August 20, Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson had the pleasure to present in front of the Chinese delegation of the Zhejiang Commerce Bureau. Mr. Jackson gave a lecture focused on the role that social media plays in business in the United States.

Mr. Jackson spoke on such topics as:

  • How to use Facebook to gauge customer sentiment
  • Keeping tabs on market changes on Twitter
  • Email marketing is still a relevant source of engagement
  • Blogs are one of the first things that customers look at when researching your company
  • Picture services like Instagram and Pinterest are here to stay and represent a huge amount of traffic
  • YouTube is an excellent source to delve deeper into your sector and has higher engagement levels than written posts

Mr. Jackson was pleased with the enthusiastic reception he received from the crowd of visiting Chinese businesspeople and public officials. “I was very excited to have the opportunity to present in front of this group of people and I am thrilled that my message resonated with them” said Jackson after he finished his presentation.

Professor Bruce Xiao, one of the people responsible for arranging this event, said “the Chinese delegation loved Jackson’s update on social media.”

Jackson recently finished his manuscript for his newest book “Socially Close: Marketing with Social Media.” The book explores social media marketing trends at the small business level. The book will be available is Spring 2014.

Center for Entrepreneurship Director Jackson talks with local Chinese Media

Recently, Director John Bradley Jackson and Field Case Coordinator Charlesetta Medina did a press event for a group of Chinese media and businesspeople. The purpose of the event is to spread the word about California State University, Fullerton’s Business Consulting Program. Fortunately, the press event went very well and it looks like the Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF as a whole has a lot more friends in the community.

CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson and Field Case Coordinator Charlesetta Medina pose for a picture with Chinese media and businesspeople after a successful press event.

Center Director Jackson also recently did an interview with a local Chinese language news station. The video is below.

For more information about CSUF Business Consulting please click this link.

Personality Traits That Will Get You Hired

Forbes Online recently published an article by Meghan Casserly that discussed the top five personality traits employers look for when hiring.  The top five traits to display during a job interview are:

  1. Professionalism -  A projection of preparedness and competence.
  2. High-energy – As it sounds. Game on.
  3. Confidence – Positive but not arrogant.
  4. Self-monitoring – Awareness of how you are perceived.
  5. Intellectual curiosity – Eagerness to explore new things.

With these traits or characteristics identified, let’s now discuss some tips to emphasize these traits during an interview.

Professionalism

DOs

  • Arrive early or at least on time
  • Know how to get to the interview site (get good directions)
  • Research the company, interviewer, and industry beforehand
  • Bring extra copies of your resume
  • Dress professionally and be neatly groomed
  • Have good posture
  • Keep your answers structured and to the point

DON’Ts

  • Make negative comments about your past employers
  • Smoke a cigarette beforehand (you’ll smell)
  • Chew gum
  • Wear strong perfume or cologne
  • Wear jewelry or clothing with religious or political connotations
  • Find silence uncomfortable and ramble
  • Bring friends or relatives with you to the interview site
  • Comb your hair, fix makeup, or adjust clothing during the interview

High-energy

DOs

  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Smile
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Have a positive, energetic tone of voice
  • Talk about your professional goals
  • Give examples of going “above and beyond”

DON’Ts

  • Go out partying or stay up late the night before
  • Go overboard with coffee or energy drinks (you’ll just appear nervous)
  • Be overly chatty or fidgety
  • Slouch, yawn, or demonstrate lethargic behavior

Confidence

DOs

  • Watch your body language
  • Have a firm handshake (but not too firm)
  • Have good eye contact
  • Adjust your chair so you are comfortable
  • Wear comfortable, nice-looking clothes so you are relaxed and confident
  • Remember that you are qualified and well-suited for this position
  • Take time to appropriately respond to questions
  • Practice your interview skills with a  mirror or video camera
  • Talk about your accomplishments and skills

DON’Ts

  • Blurt out whatever comes to mind in an attempt to fill the silence
  • Appear arrogant or apathetic (like you are just shopping around)
  • Brag or embellish your accomplishments

Self-monitoring

DOs

  • Demonstrate self-reflection and awareness when you talk about yourself
  • Be able to articulately identify your unique skills and values
  • Show that you are self-directed
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice
  • Be sensitive to social cues and nonverbal communication

DON’Ts

  • Say you need constant feedback or step-by-step instructions
  • Look at your cell phone or watch during the interview
  • Make condescending comments about anyone or anything

Intellectual curiosity

DOs

  • Demonstrate willingness to learn new skills and integrate new technology
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm about the organization
  • Ask great questions about the company, position, and industry
  • Reference books/articles you’ve read that are related to the company

DON’Ts

  • Say you don’t have any questions
  • Mention that you find new technology intimidating or frustrating

The trick here is balance.  Too confident, and you’ll appear arrogant.  Not confident enough, and you’ll seem insecure.  Keep these tips in mind and try them out in your everyday life to see what works for you.  Ask for feedback from friends and co-workers about how you are perceived in your daily interactions.  Be self-aware!

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fullerton.edu

Is Cursive a Dying Art?

 

An increasing number of elementary schools are dropping cursive from their curriculum, but some schools continue to teach the lost art.  As computers and iPads become more common in the classroom, students are often taught typing skills at the expense of cursive.  Printing letters is considered sufficient by most students and many educators, and cursive may be on its way out.  But there may be a case for continuing to teach cursive.

While you are here we would appreciate it if you learned a little about what we do for the community.

First of all, why is cursive given less of a priority in classrooms?  Teachers are crunched for time as they prepare for standardized tests and given the choice, many choose typing and printing over the time-consuming task of teaching cursive.  Time that used to be spent forming the loops and curves of cursive handwriting is now spent in computer labs, learning the layout of the keyboard and how to type quickly in this internet-driven information age.

If you asked the average child or young adult on the street today, the overwhelming majority would prefer to print or type something, instead of writing it in cursive.  Most students were taught cursive in elementary school, around third grade, but were not forced to use it much beyond middle school/junior high.  As a result, many students don’t learn it well and find the task time-consuming and laborious.  In this age of rapid-fire text messages and emails, why should they care?

There is certainly a case for abandoning cursive altogether.  Time marches on and technology evolves.  Chalk boards make way for white boards.  Fuzzy overhead projectors are replaced by electronic “smart boards” that are connected to the teacher’s computer screen.  And since even our signatures are often given electronically these days, does cursive really have a place in the twenty-first century?

Most states have agreed to national curriculum standards that do not include cursive, and instead focus on typing, says Christina Hoag of the Associated Press.  California is one of the few states to include a cursive requirement.

Why keep it?  It helps with motor skills and coordination, and crafting a unique signature is a part of an individual’s identity.  Despite the prevalence of typed materials, we are still judged by the neatness of our handwriting or printing.  Cursive, when learned correctly, is faster than printing and can give kids an edge during the essay portions of standardized tests like the SAT.  And in an age when there are countless cuts to arts and humanities programs, some kids may enjoy cursive as a creative outlet.  While some teenagers and young adults may  not have a need to write cursive, the ability to read cursive is still relevant, and can be a source of embarrassment for some people.

With less time in the classroom and more material to cover, it is no surprise that teachers find they must prioritize their activities.  A time-honored, but increasingly obsolete, practice like cursive is an easy target to eliminate from the curriculum.  It may be too soon to say that cursive is dead, but it may be soon enough.

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fullerton.edu

Sources:

Associated Press/Yahoo News “Some States Preserve Penmanship Despite Tech Gains” by Christina Hoag: http://news.yahoo.com/states-preserve-penmanship-despite-tech-gains-190737500.html

Colorado Springs Gazette “Dying Art of Cursive Lingers in Some Classrooms” by Carol McGraw: http://www.gazette.com/articles/cursive-147482-dying-art.html#ixzz2DL2uadXD

Effective Organizations Give, Share, and Help

Share and Help

What factors make an organization effective? An obsession with quality? A great business plan? A well thought out strategic plan? Yes, these factors matter but recent research indicates that companies that motivate employees to unselfishly help each other can be more effective.

Adam Grant, author of “Give and Take”, writes in the April issue of McKinsey Quarterly about the value of cultivating a “giver culture” in your organization.  The word ‘culture’ itself can be confusing.  It can mean something quite different depending on who you ask.  Generally speaking, culture suggests a group’s values, beliefs, and practices. 

In terms of organizations, culture amounts to the statement “this is how we do things around here.”  There has been a great deal written and spoken about organizational culture over the past few decades, but many managers only have an abstract understanding of what organizational culture means and often fail to grasp the practical implications of organizational culture (i.e. what it’s like for the average employee).

Organizational culture reflects organizational values. These values are espoused, attributed, shared, and aspired.  (Bourne & Jenkins, 2013). For brevity’s sake, let’s focus on the distinction between espoused and attributed values.  Espoused values are what top management says, and attributed values are what the employees actually say about the company.  It doesn’t matter if you have a principled, poetic mission statement if you are not backing up such lovely words with action.  People judge you by your actions, not your good intentions. 

In the McKinsey Quarterly article, Grant cites a study conducted by Harvard psychologists on the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence units.  The highest-performing teams of intelligence analysts displayed clear helping behavior, like coaching, teaching, and consulting with each other.  Meanwhile, low-performing teams exchanged relatively little help.  Other studies confirm the idea that the single strongest indicator of group effectiveness is the amount of help that group members give each other. 

“Giver” cultures support the effectiveness of an organization because employees are part of a team that solves problems collaboratively.  Problems get a fresh set of eyes.  When people give and add value without asking anything in return, the organization is richer.  Employees feel supported and are more likely to seek out the help or advice of co-workers, which catches errors before they happen.

“Taker” cultures are characterized by employees trying to take what they can and give as little as possible.  The cutthroat environment of a taker culture discourages employees from sharing information and helping each other, which slows productivity and inhibits morale.  When employees are competitors, rather than teammates, their personal priorities supersede organizational goals.

You may be thinking, but isn’t a little healthy competition good?  Don’t we want to incentivize our workers?  In “Drive”, author Daniel Pink says that while extrinsic rewards can be effective for some routine tasks, they can actually decrease performance when it comes to more conceptual work characteristic of the new millennium.  In his words, “Carrots and sticks are so last century.”  Collaboration and cooperation harness the natural energy and talent of employees.

So how can an organization foster a “giver culture”?  The article McKinsey Quarterly suggests such strategies as having a peer recognition system, where employees can reward each other for being helpful.  Many companies are beginning to have peer-bonus programs where employees can nominate co-workers for small bonuses or recognition for helping behavior.  Daniel Pink specifically mentions Kimley-Horn and Associates, a civil engineering firm in North Carolina which uses a reward system where anyone can give a $50 bonus to a co-worker.

Grant’s article in McKinsey Quarterly also offers the common-sense approach of being mindful about the kind of people you hire.  In other words, make sure to screen out potential employees who display “taker” behavior.  Grant cites a study done by researchers (Arijit Chatterjee and Donald Hambrick) which found that takers use words like “I” and “me” rather than “us” and “we”.  Words matter.  Other “taker” behavior includes being charming with the boss but quite different with coworkers and subordinates and other obvious behavioral traits like badmouthing coworkers.

Organizational culture starts at the top.  If managers and executives are not modeling “giver” behavior, this provides little incentive for employees to do so.  Leaders need to embrace a mindset that acknowledges and celebrates our interconnectedness.  Kinship and reciprocity are important human values that can be harnessed to improve not only work environments for employees, but better company outcomes, as well.

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fullerton.edu

Sources:

  • Bourne, Humphrey, and Jenkins, Mark. Organizational Values: A Dynamic Perspective. Organization Studies 34(4) 495-514
  • Grant, Adam. “Givers take all: The hidden dimension of corporate culture.” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2013.
  • Pink, Daniel (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. The Penguin Group (USA) Inc: New York.

 

11 Job Interviews Tips

Here are a few tips for your next job interview:

1.  Be early. Never be late. It sounds simple, but I am always amazed about how many candidates show up late complaining about traffic and how their GPS lied to them. Get there early.

2. Dress the part.   I’m sure you’re very stylish, but the job interview is the wrong platform to show off your modern fashion sensibility.  Unless you’re interviewing for a position that requires you to dress according to the latest trends, hold off on the skinny jeans and pass on the club clothes. Leave the body jewelry at home. Cover up the tattoos. Most hiring managers will be older than you and dress like your parents. That is just the way it is; get used to it.

3.  Be mindful of your body language.  Maintain good posture, smile, and make good eye contact.  This goes a long way. Video practice may help; have a friend capture the “real you” in a practice session. Beware that this video may scare you a bit.

4.  Don’t wing it.   Did you ever have to give a presentation or take a public speaking course in school?  The ability to think on your toes is a good skill, but as these experiences will tell you, preparation is always better than improvisation.  Spend some time doing practice interviews with someone. Most interviewers ask the same old questions.  Why are interested in this job? What you are strengths? What are you weaknesses? Where do you want to be in 5 years? Thus, you can prepare your answers for these predictable questions.

5. Do your homework on the company.  Prior to meeting with the potential employer, read the mission statement of the company, poke around their website, and thoroughly read the description for the job position.  Having done this research will help you understand the company’s needs.  This bleeds into the next tip.

6.  It is not all about you.  You ought to focus on the company’s needs and how your abilities and experiences will help them.  Even though your focus is on the company, talk about why these things make you the ideal candidate for the position and share the accomplishments that will validate these claims.  Tell them what makes you different from other candidates.  Don’t be afraid to articulate why you’re the best fit for their company.  Give examples.

7.   Listen intently.  The employer may give you insights as to what they’re looking for which may prove very valuable in the next level interview. By the way, listening means not talking and staying in the moment; avoid trying to think ahead.

8.  Don’t put too much emphasis on your last job.  Answer the questions you’re asked, but be mindful of where you are.   Talking too much about why you were laid off or chose to leave your last job at an interview is like crying about an “ex” on a first date.  By doing this, you risk making yourself appear bitter or hung up on your old job.

9.  If you want to work at the company, tell them.  Not asking the potential employer for the position can be a mistake.  Tell them why you want to work for their company. It may sound silly, but employers want to hire people who want to work for them. Help them help you.

10.  Be genuine.  Avoid pretending to be someone you are not. Interviews can be nerve-racking, but don’t be afraid to laugh and let your personality shine through. Tell them how you are different than the rest of the thundering herd of applicants. Celebrate your uniqueness. The goal is to be remembered and your differentiation will help them remember you.

11. Always follow up.  Personal handwritten note cards are reputed to be the most powerful method. Also, be sure to call the potential employer to thank them for giving you the chance to talk with them; call their land line since and leave a voice mail.

Good luck.

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fulleton.edu